At the 20th Challenge event on 3 July, Roth will once again look forward to a world-class field in both the men’s and women’s races. With Patrick Lange, Anne Haug and Sebastian Kienle, three world champions and ROTH winners are returning to the Home of Triathlon. Despite two Ironman World Championships taking place this year, world-class sport will once again feature at the “Franconian Hawaii” anniversary event. In fact, top American long-distance triathlete, Sam Long, has elected to race Roth over Kona.
Unpredictable elite field among men
None other than two-time Hawaii winner and Germany’s Sportsman of the Year 2018, Patrick Lange, returns to the Home of Triathlon as the reigning ROTH Champion 2022. The 35-year-old celebrated a convincing inaugural victory in 2021 with a supreme performance. A raft of top-class competitors will do everything to prevent his successful title defence. For Sebastian Kienle of hep-Sportsteam, Roth is one of the highlights on his previously announced two-year farewell tour from professional triathlon. After his win in 2018 and his injury-related withdrawal last year, he plans to pull out all the stops out for 2022 – including another win in Roth? With a second place to Maurice Clavel in his last race in November 2021 at Ironman South Africa, he will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. And Clavel is no stranger to Roth either. In his personal best time of 8:04:53, he finished third in 2017 at his only appearance in Roth so far.
The leading American long-distance athlete could also provide a real spectacle. Currently fifth in the PTO rankings, Sam Long will make his Roth debut on 3 July. The fact the talented young athlete skipped the World Championships in Hawaii this year to race Roth shows he is a force to be reckoned with and his place on the start line is a real affair of the heart for him. The 26-year-old from Boulder, Colorado won Ironman Cour d’Alene in June 2021 with a course record (8:07:40) and is the current runner-up world champion over the middle distance. Most recently, in March, he won his last two races at Clash Miami and Challenge Puerto Varas.
With a stunning run record (2:35:40 – almost three minutes faster than winner Patrick Lange), Felix Hentschel caused a sensation in 2021 and he returns once again to represent Franconia. For Jan Stratmann, Roth is his first long distance ever. The 26-year-old drew attention to himself in 2021 over the middle distance with his victory at 70.3 Zell am See, second place at Challenge St. Pölten and third place at 70.3 Elsinore. Andi Böcherer already showed in 2019, when he was in the leading group for a long time, that he is also in the mix. Two internationals round out the top field – Brazilian Reinaldo Colucci, third at the World Triathlon Long Distance Championships at Challenge Almere 2021, can certainly cause a surprise in Roth. And finally, Cameron Brown, the veteran New Zealand athlete with multiple long distance victories to his name, along with four Hawaii podiums, returns to Roth just days after his 50th birthday, 20 years after he raced into second place at the first ever Challenge event in 2002!
World champion on a time hunt
Anne Haug has already shown what she’s made of at ROTH last year. The reigning Hawaii champion delivered an absolutely exceptional performance on the bike, which was shortened by 10km, in a time of 7:53:48 and secured a home victory in her ROTH debut. With a time of 8:31:32, which Haug achieved at Ironman Copenhagen in 2019, she is the German record holder for 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run and is only 13 minutes short of Chrissie Wellington’s world record (8:18:13, set at Challenge Roth 2011).
Runner-up in DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep 2021, Laura Siddall, is also returning to the Home of Triathlon for the fifth time this year. The Brit became European long-distance champion in 2018 and in 2021 she finished second in Roth for the second time since 2017. With an extremely strong mileage, she overtook Fenella Langridge a few kilometres before the end of DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep 2021. Langridge would like to show her form again this year in the triathlon dream factory. Will she make it one or even two places higher on the podium this year? In any case, the cards between the first three women from last year will be reshuffled and played for 2022.
“The triathlon district of Roth can be very proud that we have three world champions and the 70.3 Worlds runner-up and many other top-class athletes on the start line in the famous Roth canal. This once again underlines the high status Roth enjoys in international triathlon. This starting field is unique in Europe this year – despite two Ironman World Championships,” says race director Felix Walchshöfer.