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Defending champion Magnus Ditlev and Daniel Ryf set new best times at DATEV Challenge Roth

ROTH. It was a day of superlatives at DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep: Magnus Ditlev (DEN) defended his title in a new world best time of 7:24:40, Daniela Ryf (SUI) beat the twelve year old world best time of Chrissie Wellington by almost ten minutes. In addition, there were record crowds with around 300,000 spectators lining the long distance triathlon course.

The new world best time for Magnus Ditlev was already apparent when he came off the bike. He crossed the finish line in Roth with a lead of almost six minutes ahead of Patrick Lange (GER) and American, Ben Kanute. The 25-year-old beat his own bike record set last year and stayed well under the four-hour mark with 3:57:45 over the 180km. In transition, Sam Laidlow (FRA), who later finished eighth, came out of the transition tent just ahead of Magnus Ditlev. On the run course, however, Laidlow struggled with calf problems, allowing Ditlev to quickly build up a large lead.

“I feel tired but overjoyed,” Ditlev said at the finish. About halfway through the 42km run, he realised he was going to win the race: “But I must never think about that, otherwise it blocks it.” It was only shortly before the finish he realised he would actually set the world best time: “First and foremost, I ran for the win. But the fact it turned out to be such a good time makes me all the happier.”

Patrick Lange, Roth winner in 2021, made up ground on the run course, overtaking Sam Laidlow at 24k. “But I already knew in T2 I wouldn’t be able to catch up,” said the 36-year-old 2017 and 2018 Hawaii winner. “It was still a mega day. I showed a good catch-up and still made it exciting at the end. I gave everything.” The only thing that pained him, he said, was that he missed his target of covering the marathon in a time of under 2:30 hours by 27 seconds. “I also got hit in the eye during the swim.”

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The men’s podium was rounded out by Ben Kanute who had exited the swim  in first place and spent much of the bike in the chase pack with Lange. However, Lange’s superior run time meant he had to make do with third.

Sebastian Kienle, the 2018 Roth winner, added to his celebrations by finishing 14th in his final long-distance race in Germany. “I didn’t care about the time. I wanted enjoy it once again today, riding up Solarer Berg and running into the stadium. That was sensational. I have never experienced this atmosphere anywhere else in my running career,” the two-time Hawaii champion praised the triathlon fans in Roth.

In the women’s race, Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf beat Chrissie Wellington’s world best of 8:18:13 from 2011 with 8:08:21. Wellington from Great Britain personally handed over the medal to Ryf having said beforehand, “The world best time will fall. I am sure of that. I have held it long enough. I’m so happy to be there when it’s cracked today.” Ryf had also announced beforehand that in order to win, a new world best time would have to be set.

At the finish line, the now three-time Roth winner beamed overjoyed: “It was a perfect day. It was my best performance ever.” After a good start to the season, however, a virus had knocked her off her stride just under two months ago. “The last two weeks it went well again, so I was already confident.” Once on the bike, Ryf built up such a big lead that she was uncatchable for her competitors.

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So even the runner-up and last year’s winner, Anne Haug (GER), had already written off victory when she came off the bike. “It was still a good race for me, especially on the run course.” Third-placed Laura Philipp (GER) was also pleased with her placing, “I lost touch with the leaders during the swim and I also had to go through a lean period on the bike. The fantastic spectators made sure that it turned out to be a good day after all.”

More spectators than ever before at Solarer Berg
Around 300,000 spectators along the course also mean a new record for DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep. Especially at the swim start on the Main-Danube Canal and at the Solarer Berg hotspot, significantly more visitors cheered on the approximately 3,500 individual starters and 650 relay teams. “That was more impressive than ever before,” said race director Felix Walchshöfer.

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