Germany's Timo Bracht stormed home to take an historic victory at the 30th Anniversary race of the DATEV Challenge Roth on Sunday. Australia's Mirinda Carfrae ran herself in the history books posting the second fastest ever run split (2:53:27) to claim a 'rookie' Roth win.
The win delighted the record crowd gathered in Roth, Germany cheering Bracht to a home victory when the father of two crossed the finish line in 7hrs 56min.
The 39-year-old is a veteran and produced a controlled and patient performance to over come Nils Frommhold at the 31km mark of the run, after Frommhold led the race for most of the day just falling short of a dream win.
For Bracht it was an emotional and satisfying win to finally stand on top of the podium after finishing second in 2012 and third last year.
"I dreamed ten years to win this race, the whole day has been very emotional the crowd were amazing when I felt down they brought me back," said Bracht.
"It was a fantastic day you need that day to win big races and today I brought it all to the race course," he said.
"But dreaming along doesn't work and the will to go was the key to success today," said Bracht.
Frommhold was first to exit the 3.8km swim from Pete Jacobs (Aust), defending champion Dirk Bockel (LUX), Eneko Llanos (ESP), and Bracht in the top ten. The surprise was pre race favourite Luke McKenzie exiting 3mins behind the leaders.
It wasn't the best of days for McKenzie losing his nutrition on the bike but like the champion he is battled on to eventually finish 11th.
Onto the bike it was a group of 11 that formed at the front of the field and they settled in to a steady pace.
There were a number of lead changes in the early stages Andreas Niedrig took a turn at the front along with Jacobs for a short spell. For Jacobs it was not his finest day in Roth as he struggled in the final stages of the bike and battled on to finish.
As they approached the 130km mark it was Frommhold who opened up a lead of over a minute to the chasers and eventually had a gap of 2min 40sec at the changeover from Markus Fachbach, Bracht, Bockel and Llanos. Frommhold's bike split (4:15:16) was the eight fastest on record.
As they hit the final 42.2km run leg Frommhold's lead was out to 4min 33sec but the experienced pair of Bracht and Bockel set about taking back time.
Behind was a real battle for third; Bockel was holding on but Australia's Joe Gambles was making a real charge. Bockel couldn't hold the pace as the heat was taking its toll on the field.
At the half-marathon mark the gap between Frommhold and Bracht remained at over 3mins but the experience of Bracht showed, his patience and ability to stick to his plan paid off as he finally took the lead at the 31km mark and never looked back, eventually winning his first DATEV Challenge Roth in a time of 7:56:01.
Frommhold was thrilled with his second place and Llanos won the battle for the final podium spot.
"On the bike I wanted to show them what I got. And it went even better than planed," said Frommhold. "I've given it my all, but in the end it wasn't enough. I'll definitely be back, because this was an incredible event," said Frommhold.
2014 Challenge Roth Results:
Roth, Germany - July 20, 2014
|Pro Men Results||Time||
|Pro Women Results||Time|
|Timo Bracht (GER)||07:56:00||
|Mirinda Carfrae (AUS)||08:38:53|
|Nils Frommhold (GER)||08:00:39||
|Rachel Joyce (GBR)||08:42:25|
|Eneko Llanos (ESP)||08:09:29||
|Caroline Steffen (SUI)||08:48:42|
|Joe Gambles (AUS)||08:10:10||
|Yvonne van Vlerken (NED)||08:59:36|
|James Cunnama (RSA)||08:11:44||
|Julie Gajer (GER)||09:00:50|
Australia's Mirinda Carfrae ran herself into the history books here in Roth to claim victory on debut.
The Kona world champion showed she is a class act, again producing her trademark run leg reeling in all in front and storming to a 'rookie' Challenge Roth win.
In claiming the inaugural title she also posted the fourth fastest ever time (8.38.53) to beat the UK's Rachel Joyce and Caroline Steffen (SUI).
"I'm speechless, you guys are such a great crowd. Thanks to all the people who come out to show their support," said Carfrae.
"I've heard so much about the race hard not to get wound up in the emotion, the last 1km the crowds were amazing and felt myself getting emotional. I felt like I was going to cry," said Carfrae.
Carfrae was 3mins down after the swim as the defending Champion Steffen led them out followed by Michelle Vesterby (DEN), Julia Gajer (GER), Rachel Joyce (GBR) and Rebekah Keat (AUS).
In the early stages the women were splintered as Steffen poured on the pace and cleared out with Beranek following closely. Joyce and Vesterby trailed by 4mins with Gajer a further minute behind.
Trailing after the swim Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) worked hard to put herself in contention and at the 120km mark had moved into fourth place, Carfrae was now five minutes behind the leaders while Vesterby and Gajer couldn't maintain the pace and slipped out of the lead group.
Joyce decided she didn't want to hang around and had put over a minute into the chasers by the 150km point. Steffen was still in second and van Vlerken holding down third but over 5mins behind. Riesler was still in contention and Carfrae now 6mins 46sec in arrears.
At the final changeover and with the first three women on course Joyce led by 4mins 32secs to Steffen with van Vlerken a further minute behind. Carfrae meant business and immediately started reducing the gap.
As the pace and heat took it's toll on Steffen, Carfrae ran herself into third ahead of van Vlerken and had her sights set on Steffen.
Eventually she overtook the 'Swiss Miss' and had just one to catch. It came at the 28km mark when Carfrae finally passed Joyce and continued to extend her lead as she eventually crossed the line with another lightening fast run split to win on debut.
"I really enjoy racing Rinnie and Caroline but you know you are going to have to dig really deep on those days," said Joyce.
"I'd like to come back and win it again," she said.
At the end of the day over 5,500 people from 62 countries had swum, cycled and run their way to the finish line to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of what is the world's greatest triathlon spectacle.
Challenge Family CEO Felix Walchshöfer was one of those who took part in the race day festivities by participating in honor of his father began the race 30 years ago. He completed the race in a time of 14:04:12.
83-year old Sister Madonna Buder was also one of the athletes participating in the 30th Challenge Roth race. If she finished (which is still un-confirmed) she would be the oldest long-distance triathlete - a case for the Guinness Book of World Records!
Source: Challenge Family
Photo Credits: Alex Grimm