Note: since this article was written, both Stratmann and Clavel have had to withdraw due to illness.
Dozens of professional athletes will be at the start at Challenge St Pölten this Sunday, 29 May. In the men’s race, most eyes will be on the Germans, Jan Stratmann and Maurice Clavel, who finished second and third respectively last year and will now be aiming for victory. A very strong field of participants will start in the women’s race as well and the biggest favourites for victory seem to be Lucy Buckingham and Grace Thek, both fresh from this weekend’s The Championship where Buckingham got third and Thek eighth.
Of course, you never know in advance what will happen during a race, especially on a spectacular course like Challenge St. Pölten, which is anything but flat on the bike. In addition, Stratmann and Clavel will not have won the battle for the podium easily, as there are many more very strong world-class athletes racing. Andreas Böcherer and Nils Frommhold are fine examples, as is Caleb Noble, who was recently on the podium at the first edition of Challenge Malta, and Giulio Molinari.
The same goes for the women’s race, where Britain’s Lucy Buckingham and Australia’s Grace Thek are among the biggest favorites. Last year’s top three – Anne Haug, Imogen Simmonds, Maja Stage-Nielsen – will not be there on 29 May, which offers prospects for a host of other top athletes. Chantal Cummings for example who was also on the Challenge Malta podium, will undoubtedly want to show herself up front.
Challenge St Pölten will take place on 29 May. You can follow live streaming and updates via www.challenge-family.live.