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In a very last-minute decision, reigning Ironman world champion Daniela Ryf of Switzerland has announced that she will compete at Challenge Roth, set for this Sunday, July 17 in Roth, Bavaria, Germany.
The 29-year-old competed at July 3’s Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt, Germany, but struggled with the conditions and had to pull out of the race early on the bike. She’s using that hard-earned fitness to go after a new title—and perhaps a shot at the world record for fastest iron-distance race. The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise because the race will not count toward Kona validation, which means she will have to compete in another Ironman in the coming weeks. Many expected to see Ryf on the start line of her home country’s Ironman Switzerland on July 24.
The addition of Ryf to the lineup increases the pre-race hype surrounding a potential record-breaking day. Fellow defending Ironman world champion Jan Frodeno (GER) is also on the start line and has not been shy about going after fellow German Andreas Raelert’s world record of 7:41:33, which was set on this Roth course in 2011. Ryf’s challenge will be a bit tougher as she’ll attempt to beat out the 8:18:13 that four-time Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington set in that same race in 2011.
As Wellington received news that Ryf would make the start, she Tweeted the following reaction: “So excited to watch
@danielaryf line up at the best race in the world! Will world records tumble?! @ChallengeRoth1″
Check back throughout the week as we bring you coverage from Roth.