Lucy Charles-Barclay got the win that eluded her by nine seconds last year, charging away from a strong women's field to take the title at Challenge Roth over Sarah Crowley and Daniela Bleymehl.
July 7, 2019 | NEWS|
With a year of stewing over what might have been under her belt, you had a feeling that Lucy Charles-Barclay was pretty determined that this year's Challenge Roth title was going to be hers - well, that said, the classy Brit would no-doubt have heartily congratulated any one else who managed to get to the line ahead of her, but would have likely forced that person to leave body parts out on the course to beat her.
It's not like Australia's Sarah Crowley didn't give it a go, either. The race started with Charles-Barclay looking totally beatable - it took the former national team distance swimmer a whole 10 m before she had opened up a gap on the rest of the women's pro field. In the end Charles-Barclay would finish the non-wetsuit swim (for the pros - the water temperature was 24.8 C) in 49:01, followed by Canadian Rachel McBride 5:24 later, with German Anja Ippach another four-seconds back and Crowley another four-seconds behind her. Also in the mix in that swim pack were Germany's Carolin Lehrieder and Poland's Agnieszka Jerzyk. Last year's champ, Daniela Bleymehl (GER) came out of the water in 58:03.
Charles-Barclay set out on her own on the bike, steadily opening up more time on the women behind her, who formed a chase pack that quickly included Bleymehl. The group steadily lost time on Charles-Barclay - by 90 km they were over seven minutes down. Bleymehl finally managed to break the group up and got into T2 in second, but the defending champ was 6:05 down with Lehrieder and Crowley at 6:45 down.
For a while it looked like things might get interesting as Crowley closed the gap to just under four minutes shortly after the 8 km point of the marathon, but that's where the charge ended as Charles-Barclay found another gear and started to pull clear of the Aussie champ, eventually finishing just a shade over seven-minutes up in 8:31:09, a considerably faster time then she went last year in Roth. Crowley hung tough for second in 8:38:11, with Bleymehl taking an impressive third in a time 27-seconds faster than her German record from a year ago. Jerzyk appeared to be over the moon with her 8:48:49 fourth-place finish, as was Germany's Carolin Lehrieder, who took fifth in 8:55:13.