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Strong Field Assembles For Challenge Roth

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Chrissie Wellington, Andreas Raelert lead field for Sunday’s race in Germany.

An impressive group of the world’s best triathletes is assembling in the triathlon-mad German hamlet of Roth for the 10th running of Challenge Roth. The race has drawn a record field of 5,250 athletes from 60 nations for race day on Sunday, July 10.

The women’s field is headed by two-time winner Chrissie Wellington of Great Britain, who last year set a world’s best time when she broke the tape in an incredible seventh place overall in a time of 8:19:13.

The always-smiling Wellington, a three-time Ironman world champion, said at Thursday’s media conference that her goals remain very straightforward: “I feel strong and I feel fit, and I love racing this course. My aim is to win the race and win the race with a smile, and hopefully I can win with a fast time. So much affects the time that we do, the weather and the conditions particularly, so my aim is to win and go as fast as possible. I feel in a good shape to do a very fast time.”

Wellington will face a tough women’s field that includes Australia’s Rebekah Keat, the newly crowned Challenge Cairns champion who second here last year; Aussie Belinda Granger, now in her eighth year of Roth competition; and new German star Julia Wagner.

The men’s race, meantime, is shaping up as a duel between young gun Sebastian Kienle, who came second here last year in his long-course debut, and fellow German Andreas Raelert, winner of Ironman Frankfurt last year and a close second at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii behind a resurgent Chris McCormack.

The pair have already faced off this season in the half-distance Challenge Kraichgau, with Raelert taking the win and Kienle second more than a minute in arrears. “It’s been a race that’s been on my mind for my entire career,” Raelert said of the opportunity to race in Roth.

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