The challenge team unveils the start list for the 35th anniversary event which is highlighted by 2014 Ironman world champion Sebastian Kienle and last year's Kona runner-up Lucy Charles.
April 3, 2018 | NEWS|
Sebastian Kienle returns to his roots
In 2010 and 2011 Germany's Sebastian Kienle competed in his first two long-distance races at Challenge Roth, finishing each event in under eight hours (7:59:06 and 7:57:06 hours), but ending up a close second on both occasions - to Rasmus Henning (DEN) and countryman Andreas Raelert.
Seven years after his last start at the Challenge race in Roth, Kienle wants to return to Franconia on July 1, 2018 in search of his first victory at the prestigious race. If the weather cooperates, Kienle could also go for a third under eight-hour finish time.
Challenge race organizers have changed the course again, toning down last year's more difficult run course, so competitors feel that the races should be fast.
Andreas Dreitz, who lives close to the Roth course, is expected to put some pressure on Kienle. Dreitz won his long-distance premiere at Ironman Italy in the fall and is known as an aggressive cyclist. Two other German's to watch will be Jan Raphael and Michael Göhner. Other international competitors to watch for include Kona bike course record holder Cameron Wurf (AUS), two-time runner-up Joe Skipper (GBR), along with Luke Bell (AUS) and Jesse Thomas (USA).
Stacked women's field
The 24-year-old Ironman World Championship runner-up Lucy Charles highlights a stacked women's field that includes two-time fith-place finisher in Kona, Finland's Kaisa Sali. Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) has lots of experience in Roth, having set a world-best time there 2008. She's after her fourth title in Roth, but that will be a tough task considering the stacked field that also includes Daniela Sämmler (GER) and 2018 Ironman New Zealand champ Laura Siddall (GBR). Others who could fight for the podium are Sofie Goos (BEL) and Alicia Kaye (USA).