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Challenge Roth 2019 – How the Race Might Unfold

Based on my seedings for Roth, I discuss the chances of the main athletes and how this year’s race for the Roth titles might develop.

Female Race

Roth Women

Here’s a look at some of the athletes in the female race:

  • Similar to last year, Lucy Charles will be in the lead for most of the time. She should have a lead of about five minutes after the swim, and that lead should be pretty much unchanged for the rest of the day. Will she be able to take the win in Roth this year?
  • Behind Lucy, there are (at least) two strong bike riders: Sarah Crowley and Anja Ippach. It’ll be interesting to see if they will be able to eat into Lucy’s lead on the bike and also on the run. On the run, Sarah is the strongest based on previous results, but based on paper she should be able to take back more than a few minutes from Lucy. But I also didn’t expect anyone to challenge Lucy in last year’s race …
  • There are some more solid swim/bikers in the race: Rachel McBride, Carolin Lehrieder and Els Visser might join the main chasers on the bike after a good swim. But all of them would also need a breakthrough run to be able to contend for a podium slot.
  • The best runner in the field is probably Lisa Roberts, she could run well under three hours. But typically she is far behind the action after the swim and bike, probably around 30 minutes behind Lucy in T2. But you can expect Lisa to run through the field and when other athletes struggle, maybe even put herself into podium contention late in the run.

Update July 5th: Defending champion Daniela Bleymehl has announced that she will also start Roth 2019. Expect her to swim and bike at a similar level to Sarah Crowley and Anja Ippach before it’ll probably come down to who’s going to have the best run legs.

Male Race

As is typical, the men’s race in Roth is expected to be a lot tighter.

Roth Men

Here’s an overview of what might happen:

  • With the number of athletes, the swim in Roth doesn’t break up quite as much as other, tougher swims. So even though on paper there are around four minutes between the fastest swimmer (probably Jesper Svensson) and Cam Wurf, the gaps might be a lot smaller or Cam (with an improved swim) might even be able to stay with the front group as he was able to last year.
  • With the hot temperatures in Germany and some issues with the close-by lock (that usually mixes in some cold ground water into the canal), the swim is likely going to be non-wetsuit – typically favoring the stronger swimmers.
  • On the bike, there are three athletes that are nominally a good deal faster than the rest of the field: Andi Böcherer, Andi Dreitz and Cam Wurf should build a gap of almost ten minutes to the rest of the field. Tactics will play a role whether there’s going to be a lead group (and for how long), if everyone will be riding on their own or if someone else decides to go with the front group.
  • Among these three, Andi Böcherer should be the strongest runner, and I expect him to run well under 2:50 in Roth. But Andi Dreitz and especially Cam Wurf will want to show that their Ironman marathon has improved since last year: Andi D ran a 2:50 to take second place, Cam’s 3:01 saw him drop back into fifth place after leading in T2.
  • The stronger runners in the field will have to work hard on the bike in order to keep the gap to the front in manageable dimensions. It’ll take a huge effort even by strong runners such as Braden Currie, Bart Aernouts or David McNamee to put much more than five minutes into Andi B, but even when they are ten minutes back in T2 they’ll still be in the mix for a top finish. Expect some late changes in the podium ranks!
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