German Jan Frodeno crushed the long course world record* of 7:41:33 (set by Andreas Raelert) with a fantastic time of 7:35:39, and Swiss Daniela Ryf won the women's title in an impressive 8:22:04 and finished 9th overall at the 2016 Datev Challenge Roth. After the bike Ryf was ahead of the women's world record time of 8:18:13 set by Chrissie Wellington in 2009, but in the end fell just about 4 minutes short. In the men's race on the other hand Jan Frodeno was on record pace all along and swam 45:22, biked 4:08:07 and ran 2:39:18 on a cool and fairly wind mellow day.
Prior to the race some folks had predicted that Frodeno's friend and training partner Nick Kastelein might be pacing the German Wunderkind through the swim in the Europakanal, but Frodeno quickly dropped all other competitors including Kastelein and built up a 90-second lead by the time he came out of the water ahead of defending champion Nils Frommhold and Kastelein. His 45:22 swim split was just about one minute quicker than the 2011 time of Andreas Raelert.
Frodeno wasted no time on his new Canyon Speedmax CF SLX bike either and quickly pulled away further. Tyler Butterfield managed to bridge up to Frommhold and Kastelein, and these 3 athletes rode in a group for most of the bike segment, but Frommhold pulled away towards the end. When Frommhold arrived in T2 he learned that the 2015 Ironman World Champion was more than 10 minutes up the road, despite a reported small crash. Frodeno had in fact ridden a race best 4:08:07 bike split. Kastelein and Butterfield were next into transition and they were followed by Cyril Viennot and the hard charging Joe Skipper who were more than 21 minutes behind Frodeno. Per Bittner, Jan Raphael and Henry Beck followed next having lost around 28 minutes each. But maybe just as important for Frodeno, he was up 4 minutes on the elusive world record pace
The wicked pace of Frodeno continued during the run and the gap to the chasers grew larger and larger. A bit further back however Joe Skipper was on a mission and slowly reeled in folks in front of him. He first passed Viennot and not much later Butterfield for fourth place. With about 14k to go Skipper moved past Kastelein who was racing in his first long course race, and then hunted after the defending champion Frommhold. At the front of the race Frodeno looked fantastic and ran a superb 2:39:18 to take the win in a world record time of 7:35:39 and looked thrilled when he crossed the finish. Joe Skipper's race best 2:38:52 run allowed him to move past Frommhold with one km to go and capture the runner-up spot in 7:56:23. Frommhold finished 3rd in 7:57:49.
Daniela Ryf was first out of the water in 49:10 and only the top 3 men managed to swim faster. Ryf was thus quickly out of sight for her competitors. Michelle Vesterby, Carrie Lester and Anja Beranek needed just under 52:30 for the 3.8k swim segment in the Europakanal.
Vesterby, Beranek and Lester were chasing hard on the bikes, but the Swiss pro pulled further and further away and rode well among the pro men. Vesterby then had some bike problems and dropped back. Meanwhile the defending champion Yvonne Van Vlerken managed to close the gap to Beranek and Lester about an hour into the bike segment. But the Swiss Ironman World Champion recorded a race best 4:31:29 bike split and that allowed her to start the run well out of reach, and about 10 minutes below the 2009 World Record pace of Chrissie Wellington.
Ryf ran well too and recorded a race best run of 2:57:40 to take the win in 8:22:04. Carrie Lester ran 3:03:38 to capture second place in 8:42:13 and Yvonne Van Vlerken rounded out the podium with a 3:10:58 run and a total time of 8:49:35.
2016 DATEV Challenge Roth
Roth, Germany / July 17, 2016
1. Jan Frodeno (GER) 7:35:39 **
2. Joe Skipper (GBR) 7:56:23
3. Nils Frommhold (GER) 7:57:49
4. Cyril Viennot (FRA) 8:02:44
5. Nick Kastelein (AUS) 8:05:03
1. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 8:22:04
2. Carrie Lester (AUS) 8:42:13
3. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 8:49:35
4. Laura Siddall (GBR) 8:51:59
5. Anja Beranek (GER) 9:00:20
* Prior to race the Challenge Roth organizing team set up a media and moto meeting and put very strict rules on media and other motorbikes so that athletes at the front of the race would not have an unfair drafting advantage. All vehicles were told to have a minimum 25 meter gap when riding in front and 3 meters to the side, and the Roth team added security bikes to makes sure everything was kosher and there would not be any grey area in case of a record.
** World Record Time