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Kona champions face off at Challenge Roth

Anne Haug looks to defend women's title at epic event in Germany

Photo by: Challenge Roth

It is the largest full-distance race in the world, and returns to full-fledged racing this year after hosting a slightly scaled down race last September. Challenge Roth has always been renowned as one of the fastest races in the world, but is every bit as well known for the huge crowds that come to watch the event and the incredible atmosphere that makes it one of the sport’s biggest events.

This year’s race promises to be an exciting one as it features the two men who have claimed the last five Ironman World Championship titles in Kona – Jan Frodeno and Patrick Lange. Both are coming back from injuries that kept them out of the world championship event in St. George, so triathlon fans will be watching closely to see who will end up on top in the always-competitive German full-distance scene.

While Frodeno and Lange highlight the men’s field, Anne Haug looks to defend the title she won last September.

Here are some quotes from the athletes in attendance at today’s press conference in Roth courtesy of the Challenge Roth media crew:

Jan Frodeno (GER)

Photo: Challenge Roth

“It’s been a very special situation this year and, as Patrick has hinted at, it wasn’t perfect in spring, but this is the race with the most spectators and highest energy level. For me it is a very positive moment after what has been a difficult time. Let’s do triathlon again at this iconic race and course. I’m feeling quite well actually! It’d be lying if I didn’t say the last few months didn’t suck, there has been a lot going, but I’m happy it’s positive now and I’m happy to be part of this mix of young, dynamic athletes, and at least I’m not the oldest! I’m never afraid of anything in competition including failing, but I have to have a realistic approach – I lost three months due to injury, so for me it’s a very strange situation, so I have to put my perfectionism aside. But, it was easier to do this than to stay at home and this is why I’m looking forward to Sunday. I know I’ve trainied well and I’m in good form, but I don’t have enough running kms so I’m hoping for a positive outcome and I have to realistic to a certain degree, and also consider the rest of the season. I always give it my best and I don’t want it to be any different here. I’m not the young athlete I used to be, and I have to listen to what my body tells me and, in the end, I will come through the race as well as possible. Life is full of ups and down and this will contribute to my strength and make me a more complete athlete, whether I am there yet, time will tell. It’s great to have this race with some of the best in the world. I really love that Patrick is racing because I want to beat him and that’s actually the biggest compliment I can give.”

Patrick Lange (GER)

Photo: Challenge Roth

“I was welcomed by my homestay which is really special about Roth and I felt immediately at home again. My training has gone well and I feel fit and motivated and I’ll do my best and see what happens. I’m really looking forward to the race. I hurt my shoulder after a bike crash and needed surgery, but it didn’t reduce my motivation, I had some disruption, but a couple of weeks after the surgery I called Felix and said I want to come back. Ever since I have been watching videos of Solar and can’t believe I’m going to experience this for myself this year. We have a great field of starters here and this is fitting for this legendary race. Roth has always been a title that is hard to get and this race really has to have the best athletes present. The list is long, and it will certainly be a hard race on Sunday. Of course racing Jan is part of the motivation – you dream of racing against the best in the world and to win in this capacity and to finish first is the motivation behind all the races you run, and that is why it was truly a great day when I learned that Jan was racing. It was another push for my motivation.”

Anne Haug (GER)

Photo: Challenge Roth

“I know what’s possible on this course and I want to share at the least the same performance which puts pressure on me of course. The world record shouldn’t a topic on Sunday as if you get into the race with this in mind it can be a disadvantage – I have to do my own race. We have other great athletes in the field and I want to just give my best and we’ll just have to see what happens. You can’t force a world record, you have to see what happens on the day – in long distance racing there are a hundreds of thousands of possibilities and they all have to fit together to get the best race. I think the spectators will surpass all my expectations and I think they will really support me plus I can’t wait to experience Solararberg. To have a race close to home gives you special motivation and extra energy. Roth is just as important to me as the world championships. I’ll do what I can and the fastest woman will win – we can’t do more than that!”

Sam Long (USA)

“It’s one of these races that is legendary. I’ve seen things on TV and social media and heard about Solar Hil and it captured my imagination as soon as I started triathlon – it’s always been a dream to come here and here I finally am! I decided early on in the season to come here. I expect a great race – fast and furious – we all know I’ll be chasing from behind, but that’s how I like it. Is it possible to beat Jan? Of course it’s possible!!”

Laura Siddall (GBR)

“It’s always great to come back here to see so many friends, it’s very special this place and the community is so welcoming. It’s always an honour and privilege to stand on the start line. It’s a tough field this year, as always. It’s going to be a pretty close race but that makes it exciting but that’s why we want to be here, to race the best and get the best out of ourselves.”

Photo: Challenge Roth

Cameron Brown (NZL)

“I had to come back for the 20th anniversary – I was 29 when I finished second in 2002 and I’m now 50 and still racing pro! Plus this race offered the perfect opportunity to escape New Zealand after three years! I love the sport and I continue to challenge myself every year. But my time is coming and my last race will probably be IMNZ in 2023 – it’s been a fantastic career and I’ve enjoyed every minute it, but now it may be time to get a real job! It’s a different challenge this year but I’ll still be trying to get into the top bracket and of course beat a few of the young ones!”

Maja Stage Nielsen, left, Fenella Langridge, right. Photo: Challenge Roth

Maja Stage Nielsen (DEN)

“I’m really excited to be here and have the whole experience. I expect to have a fast race and hope to be in the mix with these girls – I dream to be on the podium and want to do my very best.”

Fenella Langridge (GBR)

“I thought last year was pretty spectacular, so to know that this year it’s going to be double the experience with Solar Hill and with everyone here. I am so excited to get on that course and get a few more places up the podium!”

Magnus Ditlev (DEN)

“This is only my second full distance, and I raced pretty well in my first. When I heard about the start list, and I’ve seen the videos online, it was a no-brainer for me to come here. Hopefully, I’m the strongest overall, we are not competing just in a bike race, but of course I will try and use my bike strength to my advantage. It’s a completely amazing field on the start line, but anything can happen otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here!”