The pros are ready to go at Challenge Roth: Photos and quotes from the press conference

Photo: Challenge Family/ Christoph Raithel

The organizers of Challenge Roth announced the pro field for Sunday’s race at a press conference today, which we’ve now learned includes three Ironman world champions. Here’s what the pros had to say as the super-fast field was announced. Photos by Kevin Mackinnon.

Felix Walchshöfer, Challenge Family CEO: “When Kona got moved to February, my phone started ringing. This is all about putting on a safe event for our age groupers. The people who entered in 2019 who supported us and helped us with their donations. That’s why we’re so thankful to be here. The top athletes are not getting any appearance fees. They are here because they want to measure themselves and give back to their sponsors.”
Laura Siddall just got off a plane after being part of the British contingent at the Paralympics. A runner-up at Challenge Roth in 2017, once she gets some sleep she’ll no doubt be ready to compete for the podium again on Sunday.
Canada’s Rach McBride was sixth here in 2019. “It is an incredible course, it is an incredible organization and the community support is like no other.”
Australia’s Sarah Crowley, 2019 runner up: “I am really looking forward to doign something that I prefer to do (long-distance race). I have been looking forward to this race for a while.”
Anne Haug: “I call this my home race, but I have never started here. I had my last long-distance race in Hawaii two years ago. The key is to get in your own rhythm and not worry about what the others do. I hope to run a fast marathon, because running is my strength.”
Franz Löschke, sixth in Frankfurt three weeks ago, says this might be his last pro race. “I am a new dad and it is hard to survive from an economic point of view as I haven’t had much luck with sponsors.”
Ruben Zepuntke is a former pro cyclist who won his first pro race in Bonn in 2019. “I am glad to have the opportunity to do my first long-distance race as a professional here in Roth.”
Braden Currie was here in Roth two years ago, but was involved in a car crash the day before the race and spent the day at the police station. “The more I meet Felix and the Challenge Family makes it more incredible. It is amazing how much they give back to the community.”
Nils Frommhold won this race in 2015 and would dearly love to win again. “I don’t remember the last few moments of that finish because I gave it all out on the course.”
Patrick Lange: “After Kona was cancelled it allows us to focus on what is really important – the joys of compeition. This is a huge opportunity to present myself to German fans again. This is a bucket-list race for me. If you look at the history of Roth, it is the source of triathlon in Germany. It is part of why I started the sport originally.”
Sebastian Kienle did his first long-distance race here in 2010 and won the race in 2018. “I feel like Felix and his team have taken all the right steps and done all the right things for us athletes. Usually I would say that the goal is victory, but we’ll have to see what happens. I will do my best. Patrick has shown that he is ready. There’s extremely strong competition.”
Andi Dreitz is the defending champion after becoming the first Franconian to win Challenge Roth. “It is great to have such a strong field here in Roth.”