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Kienle, Saemmler wins 2018 Challenge Roth

In a day when a bunch of male and female pros went 8-under and 9-under respectively, Germans Sebastian Kienle and Daniela Saemmler captured Challenge Family’s signature race in Roth.

Saemmler defied the odds to win in 8:43:42, a nine-second victory over Lucy Charles of Great Britain.  It is also the new German record for a finish in Challenge Roth.

Charles bolted out of the water in 46:48, the best in the race, faster than the fastest men’s plit by 2:26 (Paul Chuster).  Charles was followed was followed into T1 by Alicia Kaye of the U.S. (51:01), Lucie Zelenkova of the Czech Republic (51:02), Sämmler (54:43), and Van Vlerken (56:20).

To overcome Charles 7:45 lead, Saemmler dug deep in the bike leg, registering the women’s fastest split of 4:41:38.  That cut Charles’ lead going into T2 by 3:51.  In the run leg, Saemmler gradually cut into Charles lead patiently.   In km 35, Saemmler broke into a small lead.  Trouble found the German when she was struck with cramps, with about 5 kilometers to go.   Charles hung close, but could not take advantage as Saemmler held on till the finish.   Kaisa Sali of Finland ran the fastest marathon split for the women at 3:00:03 to take the final spot on the podium.

Kienle meanwhile, while trailing the huge lead pack of the swim, ran a well-paced race, to win in 7:46:23, a 6:43 margin over fellow German Andreas Dreitz.   Kienle combined his 2nd-best bike split of 4:07:29 and the 4th fastest marathon at 2:47:45 to win his 1st Challenge Roth title.   Kienle has now won 3 of the most pretigious long distance world titles:  Ironman Wolrd championships (2014) and Ironman 70.3 World Championship (2012, 2013) and now Challange Roth.

See also:  Weekend Wrap-up: Ironman Australia, Ironman 70.3 Busselton, and Challenge Rimini

Uber-biker Cameron Wurf of Australia once again dictated the pace on the bike, finishing with best bike split of the day at  4:05:37.   Wurf’s T2 lead of 2 minutes immediately vanished by km 5 as  Kienle took the lead.   Wurf and Kienle both broke Frodeno’s 2016 bike record of 4:08:07.   American Jesse Thomas ran the 2nd-fastest marathon of the day at 2:44:52 to put him in the podium spot.   Wurf finished in fifth position.

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