Kienle and Charles highlight Challenge Championship field

Sebastian Kienle is determined to get his first win, while Lucy Charles aims for three in a row at the Challenge Championship in Samorin, Slovakia.

| February 14, 2019 | RACES

Photo >Getty Images for Challenge Triathlon

After two epic battles with Lionel Sanders, Sebastian Kienle seems determined to finally make it to the top of the podium at the Challenge Championship in Samorin, Slovakia this year. An early press release with a preliminary list of professional competitors (that doesn't mention two-time defending champ Sanders, which seems to indicate the Canadian might be taking a pass on this years race) offered some quotes from Kienle about this year's race.
"After two second places, of course I would love to finally win this race," Kienle said in the release. "I will be in top shape and will come to Samorin after specific preparation. I know the race now and know what it takes. I aim to step up a gear and win this race."

Sebastian Kienle and Lionel Sanders at the pre-race press conference before the 2018 Championship race.

Sebastian Kienle and Lionel Sanders at the pre-race press conference before the 2018 Championship race.

Photo >James Mitchell

"It (the Championship) attracts the best athletes of the world and this year will be no exception," Kienle said. "Ben Kanute and Florian Angert train with the same coach as I do and both are absolutely top guys. They know they have the opportunity to make a name in this race. It’s not just me, but also my sponsors that value this event, so it's a very important one. Just talking about it, makes me smile already!"

In addition to Kanute and Angert, there are some other super-fast competitors who will likely be determined to keep Kienle off the top spot on the podium. Chief among those is David McNamee, who has finished third at the Ironman World Championship the last two years. Other big names who are already committed to the race include Andreas Dreitz, Antony Costes, Rudy von Berg and Frederic Funk.

Lucy Charles celebrates on the podium at the 2018 Challenge Championship.

Lucy Charles celebrates on the podium at the 2018 Challenge Championship.

Photo >James Mitchell

Charles goes for the hat trick

Lucy Charles won her first Championship title in just her second professional race, and just a few weeks after taking Ironman Lanzarote. She successfully defended her title last year and will return in 2019 in the hunt of a third straight title. The woman who finished second to her last year in Samorin and one spot behind (third) the British star at both the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and the Ironman World Championship, Anne Haug, is likely to be her stiffest competition. Add to the mix super-mom Radka Kahlefeldt, Kimberley Morrison, Sarah Lewis and (another super-mom) Daniela Sämmler and you have the makings of an exciting women's race, too. 

Showcasing the X-Bionicshpere

For the third year in a row the Championship event will take place at the spectacular X-Bionicsphere, a training paradise that includes numerous state of the art sports facilities including both a 50 m and indoor 25 m pools, a track, a huge strength and conditioning area, a spa, 282 hotel rooms and much more. To qualify for the Championship athletes must qualify at a Challenge event. Pros will compete for a minimum €150,000 prize purse.