In today’s Challenge Roth press conference, Timo Bracht (GER), favorite for the official ETU Long Distance Triathlon European Championships on Sunday plans to finish his race in 7:49:00, less than eight minutes slower than Andreas Raelert’s 2011 world record on the same course.
Bracht, who is two-time European Ironman Champion and returned to Roth for the first time since 2005 has had a great season of 2011 so far. With Bracht announcing a time well under eight hours for the 3.8k swim, 180k on the bike through the southern part of the county of Roth and 42.195k run into effect it will be difficult for his competition to climb on the top podium spot. The competition comes from Switzerland (Mike Aigroz), from South Africa (James Cunnama) and New Zealand (Cameron Brown). A time of sub eight hours is in neither one’s record book. Recently, it was very close for Brown at Melbourne with a time oif 8:00:12. “Twelve seconds too slow” he was angry afterwards. This was also reason enough for him to register for Challenge Roth again after a break of ten years. “Here, the fastest times are made,” commented the “Kiwi” who turned 40 two weeks ago.
While Brown already knows the podium feeling in Roth- he finished second in 2002- James Cunnama is still looking for that. He finished sixth two years ago and had to pull out of the race last year while he was in third place, only 17k before the finish. “I have business to finish here”, the South American announced with confidence.
The women’s field also promises a close race. Julia Gajer and Sonja Tajsich are two German athletes who are hoping to call themselves European Champions after Sunday. Gajer attracted attention last year when she finished her first long distance triathlon in Roth in second place and a time of 8:56. The strongest opponents of Gajer and Tajsich from abroad – Lucie Zelenkova-Reed from Czech Republic and especially Rachel Joyce from England. Both can’t wait to toe the start line on Sunday.
However, Challenge Roth is not only about top athletes but the thousands of women and men who will fight their very personal battle against the elements and their own bodies on race day. Over 3200 individual athletes and 660 relays will start on Sunday. A total of 5600 volunteers will take care of them- a new record, as Race Director Felix Walchshöfer announced during the press conference. Walchshöfer stressed that the quality of the event has been raised again in order to provide the athletes with an unforgettable day.
Roth, named best triathlon in the world by many specialized magazines, has such a high reputation now that the European Triathlon Union could not say “no“ any more. For the first time since 1987 the Franconian triathlon is officially the host of the European Championships. Dr. Martin Engelhardt, president of the German Triathlon Union DTU also announced that Challenge Roth will host the official Long Distance Triathlon German Championships 2013. “We should hold our championships at our best competitions,” said Engelhardt.
Challenge Roth continues to put great emphasis on the fight against doping. 68 athletes were tested over the last few days. Result: all tests were negative.
Full live race coverage and results is available at www.challenge-roth.com