Triathlon has been alive and well in Roth for 35 years – the initial event would eventually morph into Ironman Germany in 1988 and, in 2002, the race became Challenge Roth. For as long as there’s been a full-distance race in this Bavarian village the event has attracted the world’s best athletes. This year’s race featured 3,400 individuals and 650 relay teams.
Sebastian Kienle arrived in Roth as the prohibitive men’s favourite and lived up to that billing with an excellent race that saw him ride with super-biker Cameron Wurf for the first 150 km before “breaking a Cam-shaft” (Kienle’s description of getting dropped) and trailing the Australian in T2 by two minutes. Kienle quickly took control on the run and cruised to an impressive win 7:46:23 win. Countryman Andreas Dreitz finished second, while American Jesse Thomas rounded out the podium.
The women’s race was a thriller that saw Germany’s Daniela Saemmler pass Lucy Charles with 5 km to go. Charles was as much as a minute behind at one point before making a final charge, but ended up nine-seconds down at the line. Finland’s Kaisa Sali would finish third, three minutes from Lucy Charles.