Challenge Roth preview: Bracht and van Vlerken among 2015 favourites
Nils Frommold, Andrew Starykowicz and Gina Crawford also likely to trouble the top spots on Sunday
With Challenge Roth just around the corner, we take a look at the top athletes racing in Bavaria this Sunday (12 July).
Odds-on favourite in the men’s race is defending champ Timo Bracht (GER), who is skipping Kona this year and says Roth will be his A-race for 2015.
>>> Bracht and Carfrae take Challenge Roth 2014
However, Bracht will almost certainly be pushed hard by younger compatriot and 2014 runner-up Nils Frommhold, who cruelly suffered a bike mechanical in 2013 which cost him a likely victory.
Also racing is current ETU European Long Distance Champion Markus Fachbach, outstanding biker Andrew Starykowicz (USA), and a fast-rising German athlete called Horst Reichel who won Ironman Arizona 2014 in an impressive time of 8:13hrs.
In the women’s field, two-time winner (2007 and 2008) the ‘Flying Dutchwoman’ Yvonne van Vlerken will be looking to beat her own course record of 8:45:48.
Local hero Anja Beranek hopes to put a dent in those plans though, and is in excellent form this season, having recently won her preparation race at Ironman 70.3 St Pölten. 2014 winner Mirinda Carfrae won’t be present this year.
New Zealand’s Gina Crawford will also be an athlete to reckon with, having won the 2015 edition of Challenge Wanaka at the beginning of this month, and coming fifth in Hawaii last year.
In addition, Laura Bennett (USA) will also pose a problem, having come second at Ironman Boulder last year and sixth at the ITU World Championship in China only a few weeks later.
In addition to the pros, around 3,400 individual participants and 650 relay teams will take part in Challenge Roth on Sunday, renowned as the ‘world’s biggest’ long-distance race due to the number of spectators that turn up – more than 220,000 last year, including 220’s own Matt Baird (report here).
Follow live online TV coverage, commentated by four-time world champion, Chris McCormack at www.challenge-roth.de along with live online race updates and timing.
Are you racing Challenge Roth? Let us know in the comments below!