Kienle and Saemmler capture Challenge Roth

Sebastian Kienle was unstoppable while Daniela Saemmler thrilled the crowd with a nine-second win over Lucy Charles.

| July 1, 2018 | NEWS

Just nine seconds separated Daniela Saemmler and Lucy Charles at the finish.

Just nine seconds separated Daniela Saemmler and Lucy Charles at the finish.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Sebastian Kienle (GER) came into Challenge Roth as the prohibitive men's favorite, and he lived up to that billing thanks to a spectacular performance that saw him near the front of the race for the duration. Daniela Saemmler (GER) thrilled the German crowd with a stirring victory that saw her get by Lucy Charles (GBR) with just over 5 km to go and held on for a crazy-close win.

Kienle's unstoppable day

After two tough runner-up finishes to Lionel Sanders (Ironman 70.3 St. George and the Challenge Championship), it only seemed right that Sebastian Kienle get a big win. He did it in style, too, sending a clear message to the rest of the top Kona contenders that he's ready to rumble on the Big Island in October.

Kienle exited the water at the tail end of a huge pack led by Fraser Cartmell (GBR) that contained all of the contenders, setting up a much-anticipated bike duel on the fast Roth course between Kona bike course record holder Cameron Wurf (AUS) and Kienle, although Jesse Thomas (USA) hung on through the first loop of the bike as the two uber-bikers blasted through the opening stages of the course. Wurf was finally able to open up some space on the 2014 Ironman world champion over the last 40 km of the bike, hitting T2 with a two-minute lead on Kienle, six-minute gap to Andreas Dreitz (GER). (Both Wurf and Kienle broke the previous bike course record set by Jan Frodeno - 4:08:07.) Thomas was 13-minutes behind off the bike (think that first loop might have been a bit quick?) with Ireland's Bryan McCrystal in between he and Dreitz. 

Out on the run Kienle made quick work of Wurf's lead and was almost two-minutes up through the 5 km point on the canal. From there on in the final result was never in doubt as Kienle steadily pulled clear of Dreitz, who also got passed Wurf shortly before the 12 km point of the run. Thomas and Joe Skipper (GBR), who had finished second here the last two years, both managed to get passed Wurf on the run as well, which put the Aussie in fifth. (It's hard to imagine he could be disappointed with that finish after his third-place finish at Ironman Nice a week ago.)

Sebastian Kienle takes Challenge Roth.

Sebastian Kienle takes Challenge Roth.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Challenge Roth | Men

July 1, 2018 | Roth, Germany

Name

Country

Total

3.8 km swim

180 km bike

42.2 km run

1

Sebastian Kienle

GER

7:46:23

2

Andreas Dreitz

GER

7:53:06

47:50

4:11:47

2:50:20

3

Jesse Thomas

USA

7:54:38

47:51

4:19:05

2:44:52

4

Joe Skipper

GBR

7:56:57

47:59

4:07:29

2:47:45

5

Cameron Wurf

AUS

7:58:17

47:59

4:05:37

3:01:42

6

James Cunnama

RSA

7:59:15

47:55

4:22:21

2:46:04

7

Evert Scheltinga

NED

8:04:28

47:49

4:21:53

2:51:49

8

Bryan McCrystal

IRL

8:07:37

53:58

4:09:46

2:59:42

9

Lukas Krämer

GER

8:08:21

52:17

4:25:28

2:47:45

10

Paul Schuster

GER

8:14:55

47:48

4:24:58

2:59:19

Swipe me

Saemmler pulls through

Other than a come-from-behind win at the Challenge Championship last year, Lucy Charles has typically won races one way - blasting through the swim then holding on to her lead through the rest of the race. Charles set a new swim course record (46:48 - and, yes, in case you were wondering, she was 56 seconds faster than the men) to start the day, seemingly on track to follow her usual race-winning strategy. The only problem was that Daniela Saemmler seemed to miss the memo about how the race was supposed to play out.

Alicia Kaye (USA) and Lucie Zelenkova (CZE) trailed Charles by five minutes, but the biking fire-power in the women's field came out another three minutes behind them in the form of Saemmler, with Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED), Laura Siddall (GBR) and Kaisa Sali (FIN) another minute or so behind the German. Out on the bike, though, it initially appeared as though Charles was on track to gain even more time on the women chasing behind. Through the half-way point of the ride the lead was up to seven minutes, but by the finish of the bike Charles was less than four minutes ahead, with Van Vlerken and Sali trailing the Brit by almost 11 minutes and Siddall another two minutes down.

On the run it looked as though Charles would hang on, but with just over 5 km to go Saemmler made the pass. Charles hung on for a while, but eventually the gap grew to 400 m. Charles made a late charge, but Saemmler hung tough for a huge win - needless to say the German crowd went nuts watching her win. Sali flew through the run to finish just over three-minutes behind, with Siddall finishing fourth and Van Vlerken rounding out the top five.

Daniela Saemmler takes Challenge Roth.

Daniela Saemmler takes Challenge Roth.

Photo >Simon Müller / spomedis

Challenge Roth | Women

July 1, 2018 | Roth, Germany

Name

Contry

Total

3.8 km swim

180 km bike

42.2 km run

1

Daniela Sämmler

GER

8:43:42

54:43

4:41:44

3:04:10

2

Lucy Charles

GBR

8:43:51

46:48

4:45:47

3:08:04

3

Kaisa Sali

FIN

8:46:49

56:26

4:47:04

3:00:04

4

Laura Siddall

GBR

8:48:42

56:25

4:49:00

3:00:35

5

Yvonne van Vlerken

NED

8:54:40

56:20

4:47:01

3:08:00

6

Bianca Steurer

AUT

9:02:44

56:22

4:52:57

3:10:39

7

Karen Steurs

BEL

9:29:43

1:00:02

5:08:18

3:17:15

8

Julia Ertmer

GER

9:37:48

1:03:07

5:07:35

3:23:50

9

Lucie Zelenkova

CZE

9:40:26

51:02

5:17:15

3:28:18

10

Elena Illeditsch

GER

9:41:15

59:57

5:17:05

3:19:54

Swipe me