Showdown in Samorin ... The Championship #2

A preliminary list of competitors for this year's Challenge Championship signals another exciting race with Lionel Sanders and Sebastian Kienle set for a repeat showdown, while Lucy Charles faces another stacked women's field.

| March 21, 2018 | NEWS

Lucy Charles salutes the crowd on the podium at last year\'s Challenge Championship. She\'s flanked by Annabel Luxford and Heather Wurtele.

Lucy Charles salutes the crowd on the podium at last year's Challenge Championship. She's flanked by Annabel Luxford and Heather Wurtele.

Photo >Getty Images for Challenge Triathlon

We've already reported that Lionel Sanders, Sebastian Kienle and Lucy Charles would all be back to compete at the Challenge Championship at the spectacular X-Bionicsphere in Samorin, Slovakia again this year - today we got a bit more insight into the men's and women's pro fields.

Charles takes on a stacked field

We should be in for another exciting women's race based on the preliminary pro list just supplied to us:

  • Lucy Charles (GBR)
  • Annabel Luxford (AUS)
  • Heather Wurtele (CAN)
  • Anne Haug (GER)
  • Emma Pallant (GBR)
  • Kimberley Morrison (GBR)
  • Sarah Lewis (GBR)
  • Laura Siddall (GBR)
  • Anja Beranek (GER)

Annabel Luxford and Heather Wurtele were second and third at last year's race, whle Morrison finished sixth. Siddall, fresh off a big win in New Zealand, and Beranek both had tough days in Samorin and will certainly be gunning to improve their positions this year. Anne Haug will definitely be one to watch - the German took the first leg of the triple crown in winning Ironman 70.3 Dubai over Sarah Lewis and Holly Lawrence. Emma Pallant is a scary-fast runner, which, if the race plays out like it did last year, will certainly play into her strength.

Not just the Lionel and Sebastian show

Last year's race served up some riveting coverage thanks to the mano-o-mano duel between Lionel Sanders and Sebastian Kienle, but the two could be in for some company at the front of the race this year based on this list:

  • Lionel Sanders (CAN)
  • Sebastian Kienle (GER)
  • Michael Raelert (GER)
  • Braden Currie (NZL)
  • Andreas Dreitz (GER)
  • Maurice Clavel (GER)
  • Antony Costes (FRA)

Last year's runner up, Michael Raelert, was working his way back to form in Samorin. When he's on form the two-time 70.3 world champ can race with the best. Antony Costes took Ironman Barcelona last year and is renowned for his aerodynamic position on the bike, which will be a critical component to success over Samorin's super-flat, fast course. Three-time world multisport champion Braden Currie has had much more of a triathlon focus since 2015 and has, since then, become a major player over the half- and full-distance. Add to that mix two more German speed demons - Maurice Clavel and Andreas Dreitz and you have lots of bodies who will keep Sanders and Kienle honest .