The 35th edition of Challenge Roth welcomed nearly 3,000 individual athletes and 800 relay teams.

2018 Challenge Roth
The calm before the storm as the hot air balloons fill in anticipation of the start of the 2018 Challenge Roth triathlon. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
The first wave of age group athletes are on their way. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Fraser Cartmell of Scotland is the first out of the water. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
No one was surprised to see Brit Lucy Charles chase down many of the men in the swim despite a three-minute delay in the women’s start. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Germany’s Daniella Sammler had a big deficit to make up on the bike and run after Lucy’s amazing swim. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Only 24 years old and gaining experience at every event, Lucy Charles is a self-described born competitor and has a drive to win. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
The previous Challenge Roth winner had a hard but strong day. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
American Jesse Thomas has been competitive for the fist have of 2018. He was in the mix all day and in the lead group on the bike. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Having won Kona, 70.3 Worlds and the European Championship, Challenge Roth was a missing piece for Sebastian Kienle and he was full gas all day. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Awesome Aussie biker Cameron Wurf led most of the bike course, followed closely by Kienle and Thomas. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Focused and driven Sebi Kienle keeps Cameron Wurf in sight. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
In only his second long-distance event, Andreas Drietz is from the region and had hometown motivation on his side. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Cameron Wurf at Challenge Roth. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
No one can adequately describe what it feels like to climb through the crowd at Solaraberg Hill. Nicolas Block and Andi Drietz are moving toward the wall of fans. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Joe Skipper heading to Solaraberg hill. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
As you ascend, the crowd splits for you to ride through. The story is that no one has ever fallen here, the crowd just catches you and moves you along. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Lucy Charles seems to be enjoying the ride. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
On the second lap of the bike course, Seibe Kienle maneuvers around spectators and age-group athletes on the first lap, climbing the hill into Greding. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Andi Drietz is continuing to chase the lead group, keeping them within striking distance. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Kienle shows no signs of letting up along the canal. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Cameron Wurf has dropped back a position after leading on the bike. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Lucy Charles runs through the wood surrounding Roth. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Daniela Sammler gains little by little on Lucy. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Kaisa Sali has a light and quick turnover on the run. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Yvonne Van Vlerken has won Challenge Roth three times and, although not on the podium today, has had amazingly consistent times. She finished fourth today. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Kienle wins! Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Andi Drietz finishes second. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Jesse Thomas runs his way into third place. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Daniela Sammler reels in Lucy Charles with 4K to go and wins by just a few ticks of the clock. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
Daniela has collapsed as Lucy finishes. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image
2018 Challenge Roth
First and second on the ground! It was a tough battle. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image

The 35th edition of Challenge Roth welcomed nearly 3,000 individual athletes and 800 relay teams with perfect conditions and a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that has turned a tiny Bavarian town into a triathlon mecca. While Jan Frodeno and Chrissie Wellington’s iron-distance world records weren’t in jeopardy, the calm conditions made for a fast day of professional racing and a nail-biting finish for the women. Germany’s Daniela Sämmler tracked down day-long leader Lucy Charles with just over 5K left to run to eek out the win by nine seconds in the closest women’s finish in the race’s history. The men’s contest wasn’t nearly as tight, as three-time world champion Sebastian Kienle won his first Roth title by nearly seven minutes.

Read the complete race recap here

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