The last hours before the race

At the bike check-in, top contender Sebastian Kienle is talking with journalists about materials and tactics.
Foto: TEAMCHALLENGE, Christoph Raithel


At the bike check-in at the “Lände” in Hilpoltstein  age-groupers meet pros

Training is over and there are only 18 hours left until the starting signal for DATEV Challenge Roth 2018 will sound. To make sure that all the equipment is where it is supposed to be, come the race day, Changing Zone I at the Main-Donau-Canal at the “Lände” in Hilpoltstein has opened its doors. More than 4000 bikes from the single starters and the relay teams will be lined up here in the next few hours. There is excitement and anticipation in the air. And even pros like the top contender Sebastian Kienle feel nervousness. However, as he tells BAYERN 3 sports announcer Bernd-Uwe Gutknecht, his routine helps him deal with it.

Bernd-Uwe Gutknecht and co-commentator Alex Höhn are there this afternoon to interview pro athletes and provide information about Sunday’s race. Even Hilpoltstein’s mayor Markus Mahl showed up at Changing Zone I. Within his city limits, there is the start of the swim course and the famous hill of Solar. “Every athlete is looking forward to climbing that hill!” Spectators and athletes are pushing each other at this heavy ascent and that goes for every athlete, from the first one to the last.

The weeks before the DATEV Challenge Roth are a special time in Hilpoltstein. It’s a time when you hear languages in the streets that you usually only hear when on holiday. Mahl is very proud of all the volunteers and his administration’s staff, especially the employees of the building yard, who all help to make this event a reality.

Joe Skipper is convinced, too, that the more than 260.000 spectators and the 7500 volunteers are an essential part of the success of the race. After two second places in the past, he now wants to win it all in Roth. “Roth is a fast race because there is so much support. That really pushes you.” But all athletes have that advantage and only one can be the fastest.

James Cunnama wants to have a say, too when it comes to the places on the podium. He feels well rested and still has many good memories of his victory six years ago at the DATEV Challenge Roth. „I absolutely want to repeat that victory und I believe I can do that!”

The race is going to be a tough challenge, especially for the age groupers, but James Cunnama urges them to forget about the time for a few minutes when they climb the hill of Solar. There is nothing in the world that compares to that experience.  Cunnama is really excited about how the whole region supports the race. To him, coming to Roth is like coming home. 

Daniela Sämmler, who is just coming from a victory at Challenge Heilbronn has the same tip for the other athletes. And because „the third time is the charm“, she is really hoping for a victory in Roth this time around. And she is also aiming for a new German record time. “If I didn’t believe that I could make it, I wouldn’t be talking about it.”

The „triathlon county“ of Roth is in for an exciting race with ambitious top athletes and 3400 single starters and 650 relay teams from 76 countries. The starting signal will sound at 6:30 AM and turn the canal into a boiling pot. For the athletes it is now time to put up their feet and try to get at least some sleep. 

Top athlet Laura Siddal gets her equipment ready at the bike check in.
Picture: TEAMCHALLENGE, Christoph Raithel


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