Challenge Roth Boasts Strong Pro Field

Cameron Brown pictured coming second at Ironman Melbourne 2012

After quite a long break, Timo Bracht – one of the most successful German triathletes – will return to the “triathlon dream factory” in Roth. He has won seven Ironman races and finished fifth in the latest Hawaii event and says: “Apart from Ironman Hawaii in summer, my plan this year is to take part again in a big German long-distance race. For a long time, I have not been quite sure whether I should participate, and so I asked the fans to help me make a decision. The vote was clear, so I decided to try and win Challenge Roth! I am looking forward to a great race course, unique atmosphere and maybe the best triathlon fans in the world in Roth! I want to be part of the Challenge Family and I want to leave my footprints there as a race winner. Roth is a cult event, just legendary”.

Cam Brown pictured here coming second at Ironman Melbourne 2012

One of his fiercest competitors will definitely be Cameron Brown from New Zealand. He can look back on a long list of successful competitions, ie the victory of the 2006 Ironman Frankfurt and second place in Hawaii in 2005. In March 2011 he was the first triathlete to win the same Ironman race in his home country New Zealand for the tenth time. Mike Aigroz from Switzerland, who finished sixth in the latest Hawaii race, is certainly another strong competitor for the victory in Roth. Aigroz, who comes from Châteux-d’Oex in the Alps, has been very successful in international competitions, e. g. 2nd place at the 2009 Ironman Canada and 3rd place at the 2010 Ironman Switzerland.

Stephen Bayliss from Great Britain is also expected to be one of the favorites in Roth. Among the Challenge Family he is known as the winner of the first Challenge Vichy last year. In 2008, the year of his biggest successes so far, Bayliss won the Ironman Great Britain as well as South Africa, and finished second in Austria. James Cunnama is know among triathletes as “bogey” of the top athletes (6th in Challenge Roth and 2nd in Challenge Kraichgau in 2010, winner of 2010 Ironman Florida; 3rd in 2011 Ironman South Africa).

The field of top participants is completed by a dozen other high-class athletes, among them Jamie Whyte (winner of the 2011 Challenge Wanaka; 2nd in 2012) and Keegan Williams from New Zealand (3rd in 2011 Challenge Roth). And there are of course several German top athletes, e. g. Nils Goerke (5th in 2009 Half Challenge Barcelona), Felix Schumann (4th in 2011 Challenge Roth), Christian Ritter (5th in 2011 Challenge Roth), Georg Potrebitsch (4th in 2011 Ironman Frankfurt, 3rd in 2010 Challenge Barcelona) and Konstantin Bachor (2nd in 2011 Ironman Lanzarote). In addition, Ain-Alar Juhanson and Christophe Bastie will take part in Roth, there will be a duel of the legends of Roth, Lothar Leder and Jürgen Zäck, and World Champions of Firefighters, Michael Hofmann, Bernd Eichhorn, Bernd Hagen and Swen Sundberg will participate on July 8.

Strong Female Participant

The field of female participants seems to be even stronger, since this year Sonja Tajsich from Regensburg (best German female triathlete in 2011 Ironman Hawaii, 7th place) will compete against the current long-distance World Champion Rachel Joyce (GB) and last year’s second-place finisher of the Challenge Roth, Julia Gajer (née Wagner).

Yesterday's press conference

Sonja Tajsich is definitely among the world’s triathlon elite. Her great career started at the 2002 Challenge Roth, where she instantly finished 8th in her very first long-distance race. In 2006 she won her first long-distance triathlon at the Ironman Malaysia. 2010 was Sonja Tajsich’s best season so far, with two victories at the Ironman races in South Africa and in her home town of Regensburg. Rachel Joyce from Great Britain is just as strong: In May 2011 she won her first Ironman race in Lanzarote, and in November she won the official ITU long-distance World Championship in Henderson/USA, so she is nothing less than the official long-distance World Champion. Her latest success was the 2nd place in the first edition of the Ironman Melbourne in March this year.

Julia Wagner started taking part in international triathlon competitions only in 2008. She had her international break-through in long-distance triathlon last year at the 10th Challenge Roth, where she was able to reach a fantastic 2nd place right after Chrissie Wellington. With her breathtaking finishing time of less than nine hours (8:56:23) she even relegated serial Challenge winner Rebekah Keat to third place. So the fans can look forward to a new extraordinary performance of the young German athlete, who is a very strong runner.

Of course, Rebekah Keat will be a fierce competitor, as she will surely do everything for her first victory at the Challenge Roth (apart from many other top rankings, Keat reached the 2nd place in 2009 and 2010 Challenge Roth; 3rd place in 2011 Challenge Roth;1st place in 2010 and 2011 Challenge Copenhagen; 1st place in 2011 Challenge Cairns). But none of the afore-mentioned athletes should reckon without the successful Czech triathlete and participant of the Olympic Games Lucie Zelenková-Reed (1st place 2010 Challenge Barcelona; 1st place 2009 Ironman South Africa, 2nd place 2011 Ironman Germany). Since she married in 2011, the exceptional athlete has been living in South Africa, and there is only one thing she wants to do in Roth this year: win the race.

Triathlon fans will also be happy to see Nicole Leder again, and of course also darling of the public Belinda Granger. In addition, Michelle Bremer from New Zealand (winner of 2011 Ironman Western Australia) and the two British athletes Joanna Carritt (4th place in 2011 Ironman Great Britain and Challenge Wanaka) and Yvette Grice (winner of the 2011 Challenge Henley and 3rd in 2011 Ironman Great Britain) will take part.

Exactly one year after the birth of her son, Gina Crawford (NZE) will also return to Roth – after she already won the Challenge Wanaka in January. German athlete Wenke Kujala is another young mother among the field of female participants. Nine months after the birth of her daughter she will do her first long-distance race after her baby break.


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