Last year Frederic Funk became European Middle Distance Champion at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee and the German pro athlete from the Erdinger Active Team will race again this Sunday to get back on the top step of the podium. It won’t be an easy battle because his compatriot Florian Angert will be at the start as well as the Americans Sam Long and Robbie Deckard.
Biggest favourite is probably Long, the American revelation who is using Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee as a last hit-out before Challenge Roth, where he is also seen as one of the biggest favourites just one week later. Both Funk and Long are considered two of the strongest bikers in the triathlon world and an exciting battle can be counted on early in the race.
For Angert and Deckard, it is especially important to follow close or take the lead early on, because they could provide a wonderful surprise during the run. Of course there are many more contenders including Mattia Ceccarelli, Nicolas Mann and Jonas Hoffmann who are also at the start. These are all men who are not immediately counted among the biggest favourites, but who certainly know what it is to win.
In the women’s race last year’s champion, Nicola Spirig, is not returning to Walchsee after her Sub8 race and that offers perspective for other women. Lotte Wilms seems to be the biggest favourite for victory; the Dutch top athlete who lives in Australia has made a serious switch from the shorter World Triathlon races to the Middle Distance, has already secured several successes and is eager to show what she can do in Walchsee.
The women’s race will be exciting for sure, especially since there are a lot of the ‘same level’ woman racing. In addition to Wilms, the South African Jade Nicole Roberts, Austrian Simone Kumhöfer, Swiss Rachele Botti and American Lara Gruden will race.
The elite men’s race at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee starts on Sunday, 16 June at 8:30am CEST followed five minutes later by the elite women. Triathlon fans can follow all the latest updates and the live stream with both German and English commentary from 8:15am at challenge-family.live.