On Sunday, DATEV Challenge Roth kicks off for the biggest triathlon party of the year
The official press conference opened DATEV Challenge Roth. When a total of 3,400 individual athletes and 650 relay teams from 84 countries start their race in the Main-Danube Canal near Hilpoltstein on Sunday, July 7, it will be the most nationalities ever represented at a long distance triathlon. Managing director, Felix Walchshöfer, commented, « It’s great to see how many countries have made the journey to small Middle Franconian Roth this year. »
Stacked pro field promises exciting race
In the men’s field six of the top ten from Hawaii will be on the start line, all with their eyes on the top prize. Bart Aernouts (BEL) already knows what a Roth victory feels like when he took the DATEV Challenge Roth win in 2017. « I want to enjoy Sunday’s competition and have a really good race from the start to the finish. And I’ll need if I want to defend my 2017 title. The competition is strong and it’s going to be a tough fight, but I love to compete against the best. »
Among the best is Andreas Dreitz. He came in second in 2018 in 7:53:06. He hopes to repeat his podium finish in 2019: « I had a really good race last year, but there are a few things I could do better. I want to do that as well, but I do not want to forget the things that I did right last year. »
Scotsman David McNamee, New Zealander Braden Currie and Australian Cameron Wurf, who came fifth last year and set the record on the bike course with 4:05:37 in Roth, all want to have a say in the fight for victory. McNamee is considered the fastest Briton over the long distance: « I always wanted to start in Roth. Every triathlete in the world wants to come here. I like to compete against strong opponents and here I meet probably the strongest field outside of Hawaii. » Cameron Wurf has spent the winter working mainly on his swimming and running form: « Last year’s race showed me I have to work harder on myself. I do not just want to be the strongest cyclist on the long distance but the best triathlete in the sport. «
Braden Currie played his day down. « I do not have too much pressure on Sunday, these are always the best conditions for me. It’s amazing to be here but an even bigger dream would of course be to win. » This is also the view of Andreas Böcherer, who is said to have the greatest chances of winning by the readers of a triathlon magazine. « That’s a great honour, but I prefer to have the winner’s bouquet after race rather than the laurels before it!” In order to be on top of the podium, he has a clear plan: « First swim, then cycle, then run, all as fast as possible,” he explained with a chuckle.
In the women’s race, British Lucy Charles-Barclay has a strong chance of being on top of the podium. She celebrated second place at DATEV Challenge Roth in 2018 after a gripping race against Daniela Bleymehl (formerly Sämmler). « Last year I was unfortunately on the wrong side of nine seconds which is why I’m back to put that right! But in my race some things went awry and I hope to improve on them this time. » But Sarah Crowley from Australia, Canadian Rachel McBride and local hero Anja Ippach, who decided to start at the DATEV Challenge Roth at short notice, will not let her take victory without a fight. Roth has been on the to-do list for Crowley for quite some time. « It’s the last big race I have to tick off, » she says. « The ultimate reason for doing this sport is to see how far you can push your limits. To do this, we drive each other. » Rachel McBride is especially looking forward to the fast bike route: « My ultimate goal is to reach the finish line and experience this incredible atmosphere. If I make it to the podium, then even better. » After a DNF Ironman Ireland two weeks ago, Anja Ippach had been looking for something that would make her feel good again. « I associate so much with this race. I have no pressure because of my short-term decision, I’m not nervous, sometimes you just have to follow your heart.”
Nine-hour live stream for first time on BR television
For all triathlon fans who can not be on the course on Sunday: BR TV will broadcast DATEV Challenge Roth for nine hours live – an accolade for the largest one-day sporting event in Bavaria. For Steffen Lunkenheimer of BR, the live broadcast is a logical next step: « We have been supporting triathlon in Roth for years. And in recent years, the technical requirements have improved so much that we wanted to tackle this project this year.” The live TV broadcast is accompanied by an international online live stream, hosted by Belinda Granger and Dirk Bockel, available at www.challenge-roth.com
The weather conditions are also looking good for the race on Sunday. After the heat wave of the past few weeks, cooler temperatures of 22C are forecast for the race. The current water temperature is 24.6 degrees.