“Is it possible to win Challenge Riccione?” Sebastian Kienle answers 5 questions before the race

(Photo: Instagram Sebastian Kienle)

In a few minutes Challenge Riccione kicks off, and Germany’s Sebastian Kienle is one of the many strong athletes ready to compete. He may have suffered from an Achilles injury for many weeks, but he’s ready to go all out today. That’s what he said when answering five interesting pre-race questions on his Instagram feed, starting with: Is it possible to win Challenge Riccione?

“We will find out”, Kienle answered the question yesterday. “My guess is as good as yours. I honestly don’t know what my training results are worth in a race and therefore I just look forward to toeing the line tomorrow.”

Kienle’s race goal is simple: give it his all. “Go absolutely per stroke in all out mode. It will be a rolling start, so you have to go all out anyway. And I’d love to collect some points for the PTO-ranking”, he adds.

After so many months without racing, it’s going to be interesting to see how he handles the practical components of the race: with the transitions usually being the biggest challenge. We’ve seen it before, that athletes make more mistakes than usual after some time off racing. Like Lucy Charles who crashed when dismounting during Challenge Miami and got a penalty for overtaking on the wrong side, or Andreas Dreitz who forgot his bike in T2 at Challenge Davos in 2020. Kienle already has one thing to be a little worried about: “I realized my bottle is a little too high. Maybe in one year my leg is not flexible enough to mount the bike.”

Let’s hope that won’t be the case later today, because Kienle’s wish for this race is clear: “Just no trouble. Just a smooth race, where I can show my true performance. I don’t have any other wishes.”

When he’s asked to share one message with Lionel Sanders – who’s not racing today – and “the rest of the guys,” Kienle emphasizes that the season is still long: “I’m just about to get warmed up guys. It’s a long year ahead of us.”