Challenge Bahrain post-race press conference quotes

Top three men and women have nothing but praise for new race

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1st, Helle Frederiksen, DEN

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“I’ve been training very hard. I didn’t have the race that I wanted at the 70.3 worlds. I wanted to make Bahrain my Worlds. To win over girls like this makes it all the more sweet.

“In October I was like, I don’t know if I can do this [race]. But I turned it around and I couldn’t be happier now!

2nd, Rachel Joyce, GB

“It was really hard work on the bike. I had two objectives; try and catch Jodie and try and drop Helle. I got one but not the other!

“I had my plan but it didn’t really work out because everyone was so strong. I need to practise my cornering a bit cause I kind of fell back a little bit at that point on the bike!

“But to get to the front on the bike was a little bit of a surge. I wanted to catch Jodie [who at the start of the bike was in front], but I knew that if I went at a steady rate everyone would just stay with me, so I anticipated this tactic of surging on the bike. I’ve been practising holding a certain amount of power before backing off. So I did it once and I looked back, and Helle was still there. Then I regrouped… but she was quite persistent. I think at that point we joined up to Jodie. But I’d burnt a few matches. So I just had to sit in a bit. I tried to go ahead of Jodie and then I needed a drink so she was straight back past me.

“The way these two went out of T2, I was like ‘oh my word. It is 21k right?!’ They were like bullets, it was quite something to see.

“I haven’t raced that many 70.3s so I’m delighted to come second and I got a lot of information from this race.”

“Going into 2015, having all these podiums but no top spot is a real motivator for me. Even though I would’ve loved a big win this year, the sport gives me so much more that I can kind of live with it, and is the big thing that motivates me in training.”

3rd, Jodie Swallow, GB

“It [the race] was almost like a computer game, it was a surreal. It was like I was let out into the safari park. It was just absolutely amazing. This beats ITU racing: just the attitude of the organisers, having the royal family involved and absolutely loving it. In 10 years of racing I’ve never had that, it was an absolutely amazing experience. And the women’s race definitely felt as special as the men’s race. And that’s a big progression in the sport.

“I always feel more comfortable with others beside me so this race was ideal [Jodie ran with Frederikson for the first half of the run]. But yeah, it was a pleasure to run with Helle for 10k and then get spat out the back…!

“I’m in the process of buying a house, so it’s good to know we’ve got a deposit!”

1st, Michael Raelert, GER

“I’m just really happy to be back racing [Michael has been plagued with injury for the past two years]. I was just happy to be in the middle of the pack and next to all these guys. I felt like I’d already won the race!

“It was pretty hard to get motivated for the race having had such an amazing experience in the lead-up. We’ve been treated like kings and queens! What Challenge did today was professional but familiar. It’s so unique.

[Michael ran a 1:10hr half marathon.] “Honestly, I hope I can go even faster. Right now I feel good, but not great. I hope I can still improve.”

2nd, Andreas Dreitz, GER

[On hearing that he clocked a 1:57:22 90km bike split] “That’s incredible! It was a fast course and I was pushing really hard. I had a new bike set-up, we made some adjustments, but sub-2hrs is just amazing.

“Knowing there was a live feed, also gives you the energy to push harder!

“Coming into T2 I knew it was close [to Michael in second]. I had good pace at the beginning of the run. At kilometre 6, I j heard it was still the same distance to him and I thought maybe I can go for it. But I’m glad the guys behind couldn’t see the live stream cause it was a struggle at 20k.”

3rd, Tim Reed, AUS

“As soon as the 20m draft ruling came in I thought the Germans are going to be happy with that. They always bike really hard and I’ve always respected the way that they’ve raced. I missed the first swim group, but I knew we had the 20m rule so I knew it was going to be fair. So I just ran my own race, which these guys did too. And the best athlete won, and that’s always a good feeling.

“It also means that the stronger bikers can change the race. I mean we saw that with Andreas, to get out 1:30min back [on the swim] and then to kill it on the bike, that’s what we want in this sport. To even be in the mix with these guys is a real honour.

“People were giving me splits to second place. But I was like , ‘I don’t care about second place, where’s Tim [Don]?! It was stressful. I think it was good on the run because there were so many turns so I couldn’t see him. But when you’ve got a guy like that behind you, you can never let up.

“To come here and be valued as a professional, I hope this is a game changer across the sport. It’s tremendous.”

For full Challenge Bahrain results from head to: http://raceresults.sportstats.ca/display-results.xhtml?raceid=20744

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(Image: Getty)