New anti-drafting initiatives

Shortly before Christmas, representatives of the German Triathlon Union (DTU), race officials, active triathletes and Challenge Roth organizers got together for an anti-drafting summit and at the end agreed on new regulatory and psychological anti-drafting initiatives, that will start with the 2015 Datev Challenge Roth.

Anti-drafting summit participants agreed that a wave start event such as Challenge Roth is typically less impacted by drafting, but it is still an issue, and that is why Roth organizers wanted to tackle the drafting problem. Drafting has also been heavily discussed on various forum message boards including on with great passion and anger.

The initiative labeled "Fair Race" will start with changes in the start groups, and thus all female competitors will enter the race in two specific women-only waves. The race will also continue with 80 officials on course for the big day. Large billboards along the course with Fair Race reminders are another tool in the arsenal to get people stop drafting or "lutschen" as they say in Germany. Pros will furthermore be asked to agreed to a Fair Race creed, similar to the the already in place anti-doping creed.

Tougher sanctions for drafting violations were also discussed and in accordance with DTU and ITU rules the first offense will now mean a 5 minute time penalty and athletes who have been accepted into the 2015 Datev Challenge Roth can count on that already. Summit participants also suggested that an additional running penalty should be added on to the 5 minutes. If that scenario were to be accepted then folks who were caught drafting would have to run an additional kilometer at the 30 kilometer mark of the marathon.

"We appreciate and support the push of the Challenge Roth organizers against drafting. We are also thankful for all the suggestions that support fair competition, and will discuss the drafting topic in detail in an expert panel in early January," said Matthias Zöll, the head of the German Triathlon Union. "Thus we are open and neutral to all suggestions, and will discuss in those panels, if the suggestions make sense and can be put into practice."