Sanders and Charles return to Samorin to defend Championship titles

After an incredible debut that featured exciting racing for both the men's and women's titles, Lionel Sanders and Lucy Charles will headline stacked fields for this year's race.

| February 20, 2018 | NEWS

Lionel Sanders celebrates after taking the Challenge Championship title.

Lionel Sanders celebrates after taking the Challenge Championship title.

Photo >Peter Jacob / spomedis

Last year's inaugural event featured four lead changes in the last 5 km of the women's race. The men's race saw a mano-o-mano duel between Lionel Sanders and Sebastian Kienle that saw the Canadian and German swim together, bike together and run side by side for 16 km before Sanders was finally able to break clear to take the men's title.

And they're all back for a rematch at the fantastic X-Bionicsphere, which will once again serve as the host for this year's event.

Lucy Charles takes the 2017 Championship

Lucy Charles takes the 2017 Championship

Photo >Peter Jacob / spomedis

Charles back to defend

The win in Samorin came just a few weeks after Lucy Charles took Ironman Lanzarote and served as due notice to the rest of the triathlon world that the former British national team swimmer was on track to move to the highest levels of the sport. (A runner-up finish in Kona qualifies as the highest level of the sport, right?) The win in Samorin, though, came at the end of a dramtic closing few kilometers of racing that saw Charles pass Heather Wurtele (CAN) and Annabel Luxford (AUS) to take the win. Both are back in the hunt for the title, as are three more British athletes - Laura Siddall, Kimberly Morrison and Emma Pallant - who all arrive as podium threats.

Photo >Peter Jacob / spomedis

Another Sanders/ Kienle showdown?

Last year's race at the X-Bionicshpere was riveting thanks to the incredible race between Sanders and Kienle. Those two are back for more and there will certainly be lots of anticipation of another great day of racing. The two were key players in last year's race in Kona, too, where they cycled themselves into contention from the chase pack of the swim. Like Charles, Sanders would go on to a runner-up finish in Kona, while Kienle finished fourth.

The two will no-doubt be kept honest by a strong pro field. Right now confirmed entrants include last year's fourth-place finisher Andreas Dreitz (GER) and countryman Maurice Clavel.