The Championship is slated to commence at 8:30 a.m. this coming Sunday in the picturesque town of Samorin, Slovakia.
At the professional press conference, athletes collectively expressed their eagerness for the forthcoming event. A sense of both thrill and solemnity was palpable as the contenders acknowledged the daunting race ahead, while alluding to the absence of any place for veiling strategies or shying away from challenges. Each competitor is mentally and physically preparing for what they know to be an undeniably "spectacular but very tough race".
In the women's category, all eyes are on the reigning champion, Sara Perez Sala. As the starting gun sounds, the Spanish athlete will be amongst the hopefuls at the starting line. Despite her successful track record and proven prowess, Sala candidly shared her apprehensions regarding her current fitness level. "Since my race on Ibiza, I’ve been experiencing some physical discomfort. My dream, as always, is to clinch victory again, but I am prepared for the uphill battle this weekend," she commented, offering a glimpse into her pre-race mindset.
Fenella Langridge, last year's fourth-placed athlete at "The Championship", is returning as a much stronger contender. Having displayed commendable tenacity and growth in her professional journey so far, Langridge looks set to vie for the top spot this time around. "It’s been a great year so far: I’ve been quite busy racing in South Africa and had some good training blocks already," she commented on her preparation, looking forward to another opportunity to challenge herself and her competitors.
Lucy Byram and Marjolaine Pierré are also amongst the keen and hopeful competitors. Marjolaine Pierré is fresh from her victory as the World Champion Long Distance, a title she won just two weeks ago. Their shared eagerness and anticipation for Sunday's race echo through their comments, pointing towards a tough and exciting competition ahead.
Imogen Simmonds, another hopeful contender, is raring to participate in her first race of the year. "I’m a little bit late on the party, but let’s hope I am at the party this weekend," she remarked, expressing her excitement to join the competition. Amelia Watkinson, another competitor, enters the race brimming with confidence, hoping her past victories will fuel her performance on Sunday.
On the men's front, the competition is no less intense. Athletes Aaron Royle and Frederic Funk are amongst the foremost contenders in this category. Royle, renowned as a short-course specialist, has made a strategic transition to longer-distance races. Sharing his perspective, he said, "It’s a natural progression. In the end, what counts is endurance: the one that dies the least, does the best."
Frederic Funk, a familiar figure in Samorin with five prior races under his belt, is anticipated to add a significant challenge to the bike segment of the race. Known for his robust performance and hard-working nature, Funk remarked, "Cycling is all about hard work; you don’t need anything else. And you know what they say, right? Germans are always the hardest workers." His comments injected an air of light-hearted banter into the otherwise tense atmosphere.
Tom Bishop, victor of the Challenge Puerto Varas earlier this year, exuded a relaxed confidence during the press conference. Drawing attention to his recent performance, Bishop added, "The course in Samorin is going to be very fast." His comments referred to Funk's claim about the requisite 50