Germany – Two huge races, 250kms apart. Who are the challengers in Roth? Stef Hanson. Chief. July 6, 2012 Race Previews Challenge Roth was previously an Ironman branded race, but in 2002, Challenge took over the event, and has continued to grow this event to the greatness that it is today. The crew at Challenge can also this year finally claim the rights to host the European Long Course Championships again. Triathletes from all over the world flock here to be a part of the amazing Roth experience. The build up to race day, which includes the Erdinger party and Felix, the owner, hosting dinner parties at his house for some of the pros. The extremely fast course that beckons for records to be broken, and the infamous Solarerberg climb where the crowds replicate a mountain climb stage in le Tour de France. Plus the after party… Table top sprinting events and steins of lager – need we say more? Roth is more than a race, it’s an experience. Our very own ambassador Belinda Granger will be lining up for the ninth time in a row this weekend and says, “If you ever get the chance to do this race then take it. You will not regret it.” But, before we take you through the women’s field, we’re quickly going to go through the enormity of racing in Germany this weekend. It really is all about racing in Germany this weekend. Just 250kms up the road from Challenge Roth, which hosts the European Long Course Championships, is Ironman Frankfurt, hosting the Ironman European Championships and both races have attracted stacked fields. The winner of Roth will walk away with $AUD19,290 in their pocket, and the winner of Frankfurt, $AUD24,319. www.sweatmedia.com Two of the red hot favourites to win at Kona this year, Rachel Joyce and Caroline Steffen, will be racing at Roth and Frankfurt respectively, and are both our favourites for the wins this weekend. These two have met a couple of times this year; the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon,where Joyce came fifth, and posted the fastest run of the day, and Steffen came third. Both then posted their first sub 9hr performances earlier this year at Ironman Melbourne. Joyce, became the sixth fastest woman ever over this distance, and Steffen catapulted herself to the second fastest with her amazing performance. Challenging the reigning European Ironman Champion, Caroline Steffen, will be the likes of Nikki Butterfield, Heather Wurtele, and Yvonne Van Vlerken. The very same day, last year’s Long Course World Champion, Rachel Joyce, will be lining up at Challenge Roth for the first time, and will be challenged by Germany’s very own Julia Gajer and Sonja Tajsich. This race will also include an array of high profile athletes, such as, Belinda Granger, Nicole Leder, Gina Crawford, and Lucie Zelenkova-Reed. The other Australians joining Granger in Roth this year are, Rebecca Hoschke who nailed a personal best at Ironman Cairns last month (9:39:53), Jacinta Worland who made a return to racing 16months ago after a seven year break, and is hoping for a top ten at Roth, and we are going to claim Michelle Bremer (NZ) as an Aussie, despite that fact that she is living in California at the moment, and racing the US season, she has made a home for herself and her husband in Queensland, for now. Here’s what Joyce had to say about race day – her first time in Roth: “Kansas 70.3 was a real confidence booster for me. I’ve got some more good training in since then, and provided I can bike and run on Sunday like I have been doing in training, I should have a strong race. Fingers crossed I wake up with my racing legs!” “I think we’ll have a real race on Sunday. Lucie Zelonkova has a great swim/bike combo and last year in Frankfurt she ran really well too. In addition, the two home favourites – Julia G and Sonja T are very strong athletes. Julia is clearly on form after breaking the course record with her win in Kraichgau, and Sonja has a great bike/run. I think people are overlooking Gina Crawford too. Her son is not even one year old yet but she’s already had some cracking performances this year. She is strong over all three disciplines and I’m certainly thinking she will be in the mix! With such a lot of talented and fast runners, there’ll be no taking the foot off the gas till the very end.” So who is up for the challenge at Roth this year? RACHEL JOYCE: 2012 Ironman 70.3 Kansas – 1st: first race back since Melbourne due to sickness, but fastest bike/run splits (4:13:36) 2012 Ironman Melbourne – 1st: first sub 9hr race, 6th fastest woman ever 2012 Abu Dhabi – 5th (fastest half marathon) 2011 Long Course World – 1st 2011 Hawaiian Ironman World Champs – 4th 2011 Ironman Lanzarote – 1st: first Ironman win JULIA GAJER: 2012 Challenge Kraichgau – 1st: course record 4:20 2012 Ironman 70.3 Austria – 1st: over a stacked field she ran her way to victory 2011 Munich Marathon – 2nd: in a time of 2:47:42 2011 Challenge Roth – 2nd: first attempt at the Iron-distance course SONJA TAJSICH: 2011 Ironman World Championships – 7th: Highest placed German 2011 Ironman Frankfurt – 3rd: The top 3 were within 2:01 of each other. Fastest marathon split (3:04:48) 2010 Ironman South Africa – 1st 2010 Ironman Regensburg – 1st LUCIE ZELENKOVA-REED: 2012 Ironman 70.3 Sri Lanka – 1st 2011 Ironman Frankfurt – 2nd: 1:33 behind Caroline Steffen 2011 Ironman Brazil – 2nd GINA CRAWFORD: 2012 Ironman France – 2nd: only two weeks ago 2012 Challenge Wanaka – 1st: first race back since birth of her son 2012 Ironman 70.3 Austria – 6th BELINDA GRANGER: 2012 Ironman Cairns – 4th 2012 Ironman 70.3 Busselton – 4th 2012 Ironman Melbourne – 10th 2012 Geelong LC – 1st 2012 CHALLENGE ROTH START LIST: Julia Gajer, (GER) Rachel Joyce, (GBR) Belinda Granger, (AUS) Sonja Tajsich, (GER) Nicole Leder, (GER) Gina Crawford, (NZL) Lucie Zelenkova-Reed, (CZE) Rebekah Keat, (AUS) Wenke Kujala, (GER) Michelle Bremer, (NZL) Fiona Eagles, (NZL) Yvette Grice, (GBR) Celia Kuch, (GER) Jacinta Worland, (AUS) Mirjam Weerd, (NED) Julia Bohn, (GER) Heike Priess, (GER) Joanna Carritt, (GBR) Nina Kuhn, (GER) Linda Schücker, (GER) Britta Martin, (GER) Anne Fallows, (GBR) Evi Neuscheler, (GER) Inka Wachter, (GER) Rebecca Hoschke, (AUS) Tamsyn Hayes, (NZL) Aline Choretier, (FRA) Beate Görtz, (GER) Bente Lauritsen, (DEN) Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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