World-class athletes can’t wait for Challenge Davos: ‘Oh my god, this is really going to happen’

With just one more night to sleep until the start of CHALLENGEDAVOS in the Swiss Alps, pro athletes are already starting to feel their nerves pretty good. After months of no races, an incredibly strong field of athletes will swim 1.9 kilometers in the crystal clear waters of Davos, 54.4 kilometers over the world-famous Flüelapass – including almost 2000 altitude meters – and after all, there will be a half marathon in a both breathtaking and mountainous landscape. While the weather forecasts are not that good, a lot of rainfall is expected, the world stars are unanimous: ‘Nevertheless, it’s going to be great to finally race again and all the more with this stellar field of athletes.’

One of these world-class athletes of course is title defender Pieter Heemeryck. “I think I’m in a good shape for tomorrow. A lot will depend on the conditions of the race, but luckily I’m kind of used to the Füelapass in bad weather. I’ve been here for four years in a row and I think this is a race where the strongest athlete always wins.” Is it going to be Heemeryck this year? “Normally a first spot is always for Sebastian Kienle, but I hope I can change this tomorrow.” 

Kienle: ‘Thankful to be able to race here’

If it’s up to Kienle himself, it’s going to be a very exciting race, not only between the most ‘famous ‘ athletes. ”On courses like this, a lot can happen and some local guys, not always well known, are quite strong here. There will be a stellar field toeing the start line and just as Pieter said, the strongest guy will win. Above all, I’m very thankful to be able to race here.”

Schildknecht: ‘I’ll take it as it comes’

One of those ‘local guys’ is Ronnie Schildknecht, who isn’t afraid of the weather forecast. “I’ll take it as it comes. Of course I’m nervous. When you aren’t nervous anymore, you aren’t hungry anymore either. I’m still motivated, train as hard as possible and want to be the best I can. We will see what is going to happen tomorrow. Most important thing is that we can race in a healthy way.”

Langridge: ‘Can we change it to the ‘Fenellapass?’

It’s also going to be very exciting how the women’s race will unfold. One of the biggest contenders seems to be the British Fenella Langridge. “I’m hoping I’m going to race it as the fastest woman tomorrow”, she said laughing while she added: ”And maybe I can be rewarded with a renaming of the Füelapass then. How about ‘Fenellapass’?” Of course she was joking, but her intentions were clear. “Who knows? I’m a pretty all-round athlete, still developing my race tactics where I can. I’m a strong swimmer, quite powerful on the bike and a good runner. The downhill part will be the biggest test.”

Langridge is very excited to be in Davos. “Just when I entered Davos and saw the red CHALLENGEDAVOS banner, I was like ‘oh my god, it’s really going to happen’. I’m very glad I can race in a competitive field like this.”

Simmonds: ‘No rain would be a luxury’

Also the Swiss/British Imogen Simmonds counts as a big favourite. She is watching the weather forecast very often. “At least every two hours”, she said with a big smile. “Let’s pray, but I gave up on that. A window with no rain would be a luxury from this point. But honestly, racing CHALLENGEDAVOS is amazing and I’m very excited. Heads off for the team to organize a race with a field like this.”

Philipp: ‘Know your own limits’

German Laura Philipp is sharing this positive vibe. “I feel very good and it’s amazing to be here. It’s a great opportunity to race in Davos and to be healthy. After the swim, I definitely need to chase the fastest ladies, but I’m used to that. With this weather, it’s most important to be strong in your head and know your own limits.”

During the race, everyone can follow live updates via After the race, a detailed race report will be published. The first start of the day will be at 10:45 am.