2014-07-20

Welcome to the longest day of the year

This is how the longest day of the year begins: more than 4000 athletes in the water and more than 10,000 spectators and fans around the swim start in the wee hours of the morning, cheering loudly with anything at hand or at the top of their lungs.

Welcome to the 13th edition of the DATEV Challenge Roth. When, at 6.30 am, the pro athletes, the oldest participants and the “evergreens” as well as organizer Felix Walchshöfer jumped into the water of the canal which is 21.7 degree Celsius warm, the sun had just risen. Only slightly more than 45 minutes later, the fastest swimmers were done with the first leg of the day. Nils Frommhold was back on solid ground after 48:39 minutes. But his lead is not very big. Pete Jacobs (three seconds back), last year’s winner Dirk Bockel (five seconds back) and all the other favorites with the exception of Luke McKenzie could still see the leader. This promises a hot and exciting ride around the 180km bike course.

In the women’s race, last year’s winner Caroline Steffen is calling the shots for now. She climbed out of the canal after 52:08 minutes, closely followed by Michelle Vesterby. But Julia Gajer (52:26 minutes), Rachel Joyce (52:43) and Rebekah Keat (52:48) are keeping up with the leaders.

Then there was a first emotional highlight of the day with Felix Walchshöfer running into the transition area after his swim of 1:15 hours. He high-fived speaker Tobias Ködel, hugged his mother Alice and then he was off on the 180km bike ride.

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