In 2015 Jan Frodeno and Daniela Ryf put on an impressive show with big wins at Ironman Frankfurt, the 70.3 World Championships in Zell am See and the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii among other fine results. These 2 fine athletes opened their 2016 accounts with victories at 70.3 Dubai and now these 2 amazing athletes lead the fields at the 2016 Datev Challenge Roth.
The Roth start was a planned event for the 2008 Olympic champion Jan Frodeno, but a surprise late announcement for Brett Sutton protege Daniela Ryf. Ryf withdrew from Ironman Frankfurt 2 weeks ago during the bike segment after she just could not warm up after a cold swim. Frodeno and Ryf are clearly favored in Roth, but we all know that many things can happen on race day.
Earlier this year Jan Frodeno won the important 70.3 Dubai event and impressed folks with a race best bike split along the way. More recently the fast and popular German finished Ironman Lanzarote in the runner-up spot behind American Jesse Thomas, but it appears that the main focus of Frodeno has been Challenge Roth and chasing a potential world best time on that day.
Nils Frommhold who like Frodeno hails from Germany and is sponsored by the German Canyon brand is the defending Datev Challenge Roth champion and he finished the 2014 race in the runner-up spot. We suspect that he will not give up that top spot laying down.
Some of the other male Professionals to watch are Joe Skipper (GBR), Jan Raphael (GER), Tyler Butterfield (BER), Cyril Viennot (FRA), Per Bittner (GER) and Nick Kastelein (GER).
Daniela Ryf also had a big win at 70.3 Dubai which served as the first round of the big money purse Nasser Bin Hammad Triple Crown. Ryf then went as a favorite into the Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt to defend her 2015 title, but unseasonable cold conditions threw a curve ball to several pro athletes including Ryf. With the Roth race so close in time and distance, she should be able to carry all that fitness into Roth and put on a big show.
The defending champion Yvonne Van Vlerken is back at the start and the feisty Dutch athlete who has already won Challenge Wanaka and Challenge Rimini will not want to give up that top spot easily.
Other female Pros to watch are Carrie Lester (AUS), Anja Baranek (GER), Caroline Gregory (USA), Michelle Vesterby (DEN), Jessica Fleming (AUS), Laura Siddall (GBR) and Erika Csomor (HUN).
Several other fast female Pros who had signed up for Challenge Roth were Mary Beth Ellis (USA), Meredith Kessler (USA) and Susie Cheetham (GBR), but for various reasons none of them will be racing on Sunday. The same is also true for Canadian Rachel McBride apparently.