The eyes of the triathlon world are on the German town of Roth this week as over 5,000 triathletes prepare to take part in the world’s greatest long distance triathlon, DATEV Challenge Roth on Sunday 14 July.
As the small Bavarian town prepares for the influx of athletes and over 200,000 spectators, increasing its regular population ten-fold, at today’s media conference the stars of the race gave their comments, predictions and why Challenge Roth has been held in such high regard throughout the triathlon world for so long.
Belinda Granger (AUS) – “By far the greatest long distance race in the world”
Even though it’s my last time here as an individual, I’ll always be involved. I’ll be coming back to be behind the scenes, I just felt that 10 races was a good time to finish as a professional athlete but I can’t not be involved in the future – it is by far the greatest long distance race in the world. It’s impossible not to enjoy your race here, especially the last 2km of the run; it’s impossible not to smile.
Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) – “My heart has always been here”
Thanks very much for the opportunity to be here again it feels really good. My heart has always been here, even when racing elsewhere, I call it my German home and it’s great to be back.
Caroline Steffen (SUI) – “I’ve waited for years to be a part of this history”
I’ve heard so much about this race, which is one of the reason why I want to be here. I’ve waited for years to be part of it and I really look forward to being part of this history. Last year I had an 8:35 and I'm looking forward to seeing what’s possible on the fast course here in Roth.
Dirk Bockel (DEU) – “In 24 years of triathlon, I’ve never experienced anything like this”
I camped here as a boy and saw some of the great races and great duels which is why I decided to come here. It really is the highlight of the year for me. In 24 years of triathlon, I’ve never experienced anything like this with all the involvement of the communities and the district and I’m really enthused about being here.
Maik Petzold (GER) – “It’s truly an adventure”
Kraichgau was just half the distance, before the race I hoped to finish at the front of the field, but I won! Sunday is different, it’s truly an adventure for me. It’s not something I thought I’d ever try. I’ve supported my dad racing and it was really hard for me to understand why anyone would do anything like this! But now for me it feels like climbing Mt Everest – I’ll try to get up the mountain but I also want to come down healthy again. Right now, this will be my one and only long distance race but I don’t know how I will truly feel until I finish.
Dylan McNeice (NZL) – “This is a whole new world for me”
From 12 months ago when I was going to retire from triathlon, this is a whole new world for me. It’s a good feeling, it’s taken me a long time to get here, I’m happy to be sitting up here and have pressure on me. There are so many good guys racing, it’s going to be really fast and hopefully a sub eight for a Kiwi male.
James Cunnama (RSA) – “Winning Challenge Roth was a very special day for me”
Last year’s race was pretty near perfect; you don’t have days like that very often. Defending the title is much harder than winning for the first time you’re a target. I feel fitter and stronger and better prepared than last year – I’m just going to leave that out there and look forward to the race!
All the action from DATEV Challenge Roth can be watched live online at www.challenge-roth.com from 6.00am CET on Sunday 14 July.