ROTH organisers continue pioneering role in fair play in triathlon

Reduction of motorbikes on course / Even fairer conditions for cycling / Close coordination talks between TEAMCHALLENGE, professional triathletes and the association


Once again, DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep has shown itself to be a pioneer in the sport of triathlon. TEAMCHALLENGE has taken significant steps to ensure an even fairer race at the biggest long-distance triathlon in the world. Professionals in particular will benefit enormously from more communication between all participants and the reduction of media motorbikes.


Bike course off-limits for external media motorbikes

Race director Felix Walchshöfer is convinced changes are needed in triathlon to make races fairer. "The breadth in this year's top field is higher than ever before here in Roth. We as organisers see it as our duty to ensure the fairest and safest race possible. To make this possible, we will significantly reduce the number of bikes on the course. From 2023 onwards, no external media on motorbikes will be allowed on the bike course. In real numbers, we're talking about 40 fewer motorbikes."


The team around Felix Walchshöfer thinks this is necessary, as recently at some long-distance races there have been frequent discussions about questionable time penalties and the influence of motorbikes on slipstream riding.


To ensure spectators and triathlon fans don't miss anything, there will be an exception in the form of television's motorbike cameras and drones. They will permanently accompany the race from a non-impactful angle. The camera operators will be briefed in advance by the referees to fully understand the importance of the rules and instructed precisely about the permissible scope when filming.


More cooperation between officials and athletes

In addition, the number of officials on the bike course will increase from 35 to a minimum of 50 in order to be able to intervene at the very beginning of a possible violation. The federation will appeal to the referees to make decisions with tact and a sense of perspective, but also to intervene consistently in the case of clear violations. Clear and unambiguous communication between all participants and referees is crucial for a fair race.


Meeting before the race

TEAMCHALLENGE organises a competition briefing for top athletes shortly before the race, where the responsible federation, the organiser, as well as all referees get to know each other personally. At this meeting, the referees will clearly communicate the applicable rules and expectations to the professionals. Possible lack of knowledge and misunderstandings between the international top field and the referees are therefore avoided from the outset.


Close coordination for the good of the sport

"The sport of triathlon has become more and more professional in the last 10 years at the top level. Improved communication, clear exchange and contact between athletes and referees are important measures that take this development into account. I am very grateful  we can coordinate closely here with the federation and the professionals in both the men's and women's fields and move forward together for the good of the sport," said Walchshöfer.


One sport - one set of rules for all

One change that affects all 3,500 participants as well as relay teams is the abolition of the penalty kilometre. This change also takes into account the increasing professionalisation of the sport. Until now, this penalty kilometre had to be run at the beginning of the marathon if an athlete broke the rules in the previous disciplines.


TEAMCHALLENGE is now adapting the rules to the federation's guidelines. If an athlete breaks the rules, time penalties and micro time penalties will be consistently applied, details of which can be found in the German Triathlon Union rules and regulations.


Media bus for journalists

For media representatives, TEAMCHALLENGE offers the possibility to easily reach many of the important points along the course, such as the Solarer Berg or the transition zones, in the Media Shuttle. In addition, many sections of the course, such as the Gredinger Kalvarienberg, are easy to reach from the outside.


Mario Hentzel, Bavarian Triathlon Federation technical delegate said, "We are all interested in a smooth running of the race. It is important for us that the professionals, as well as the age group athletes, can also understand our point of view and decisions. In order to also understand the athletes' point of view we are very grateful for the regular exchange."


"No other race organiser has yet taken such a measure for the benefit of the pros,"

"The influence of motorbikes on racing can no longer be denied,” said Patrick Lange. “In a sport that strives for a fair assessment of sporting performance, it should be the organisers' responsibility to eliminate such external influencing factors as much as possible. So I’m pleased the organisers of Challenge Roth have listened to the voices of the professional athletes and have taken care of the problem. By reducing the number of media motorbikes, Challenge Roth has once again taken on a pioneering role in this respect. No other race organiser has yet taken such a measure for the benefit of the pros."


"A strong signal"

Laura Philipp said, "The year 2022 has shown that the rapid change in the power density in the pro field does not harmonise with the existing rules. The increased media interest in our sport is brilliant, but has exacerbated the problem. It is a strong signal that Challenge Roth and Felix Walchshöfer want to proactively solve these problems and are already aiming for changes for the event in June, which needs an event of the highest level."


"Athletes are grateful for this commitment"

Laura Siddall said, “It's really great Felix and the Challenge Roth team have taken the time to sit down and listen to the pro athletes, and that a great conversation could be had between athletes, Challenge Roth and the technical officials, in how to further the race and sport and ensure fair and equal racing. Over the years Roth has taken on the feedback and made positive changes, especially for the women's field. This year the conversation is about drafting and media bikes, and how to use different cameras and technology to get great images and footage of the race, but not impacting the athletes racing directly. It's really positive and exciting and the athletes are grateful for these engagements."

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