Her day may have started with a below par swim, but the fastest bike and run splits would see German legend Anne Haug eventually catch long-time leader Fenella Langridge to take another win at the 2022 DATEV Challenge Roth.
Given the conditions, a 2:46 marathon and an 8:22 finish time were very speedy for the 2019 IRONMAN World Champion.
Second place for Fenella, one place higher than 12 months ago, was surely the performance of her career to date. Stopping the clock at 8:31, she wasn’t hanging around either.
Swim – Fenella flows, Haug woes?
Today’s non-wetsuit swim really seemed to shake up the swim gaps at the end of the 3.8km opener in the Main Danau Kanal. No particular surprise to see Langridge (GBR) and Rebecca Clarke (NZL) leading the way and exiting together at 51:44. Sonja Skevin (CRO) was a solo chaser, arriving 4:18 later.
Langridge (who was third in Roth last year), and Clarke are consistently towards the front of most races they start. What was far more surprising was to see defending champion Haug a full seven minutes down before reaching T1. For context, Haug’s deficit to Langridge in St George (a wetsuit-legal race), was just 2:21. For an even more startling comparison, last year Haug exited two seconds behind the Brit!
All-in-all, a brilliant start to the race for Fenella, who had stated pre-race that this was her absolute A-race goal for 2022.
Haug had Judith Corachan Vacquera (ESP) and Maja Stage Nielsen (DEN) for company, while last year’s silver medallist, Laura Siddall (GBR), was 10:49 down on Langridge — but less than four minutes behind Haug. Her deficit to the German at the same point last year was more than six minutes. The Brits, relatively, were in a good place.
Just to add salt into her wounds, Haug managed to pick up the wrong transition bag in T1 to further delay her. As she said pre-race, any thoughts of world records this weekend could be forgotten.
Bike – Langride leads from the front
Leading from the front, Fenella was soon alone and having the biggest smile ever on her face on the climb of Solarer Berg. At the end of the first lap (90km), her advantage over Haug, now second, was a healthy 7:48, Clarke a further minute back now.
Siddall was moving up through the field, 15 minutes behind – but with plenty of experience and success at this race to call upon. She’s more than familiar with running her way towards the podium.
Fast forward through lap two and come T2, we had the same three athletes from the 2021 podium in the leading three positions… just not in the same order. The Langridge advantage was still significant (5:18), but the 2019 IRONMAN World Champion and defending Roth champion had chipped away over the second loop. That included another incident to overcome, when a bee entered her aero helmet on course!
Showing her typical consistency and strength, Siddall had moved into third place and pretty much held pace over the second loop. She would start the run 16:29 down on her fellow Brit, Langridge.
Judith Corachan Vacquera (ESP) – an excellent runner – and Clarke were still in contention, just two minutes behind Siddall. Plenty to play for with a marathon to come.
Run – The Anne Haug Express arrives on time
A lead of more than five minutes for Langridge starting the marathon represented a great first two disciplines. When you have Haug chasing you however, it likely still made her the bookies favorite for silver, so reliable, consistent and fast has Haug been through her career on the final discipline.
The Haug run charge, of course, started from the first kilometer. 15km in and the Langridge advantage had been cut to 1:41. There was a great battle going on behind the pair for third and fourth place too, between Siddall and Corachan Vacquera. The Spaniard had moved into third, but just 12 seconds up on Laura, plenty of racing to be done over the closing 21km. They were now 18 minutes down on the front of the race.
Haug finally made the inevitable pass shortly after the halfway point of the marathon and given her form, there was realistically no way that Langridge could respond.
At the 30km mark, around 8km on from that pass, Haug ‘s lead was up to 2:24 over last year’s third place finisher in Roth. In the battle for the final podium spot, Corachan Vaquera was seemingly taking control. Now just over 19 minutes down on the flying German, importantly for her, her advantage over Siddall was now three minutes. Laura’s previous Roth finishes had been 4th / 2nd / 4th / 2nd – it looked as though that sequence was going to continue, leaving the Brit one place short of a return to the podium.
Continuing her metronome style to the finish, Haug finished in some style with a stunning marathon split of 2:46:04 bringing her home to a rapid finishing time of 8:22:42.
While she couldn’t stop the German express, a 3:00:36 marathon to complement a great swim and bike performance represents a brilliant day for Fenella Langridge. Her best race ever? In my eyes, no question
“It was a nearly flawless race from me I think”, said Langridge post-race, consistent with my assessment of her day. Quite right too, Langridge continues to progress and impress.
The final podium spot did indeed go to Spain, as Corachan Vacquera retained third position with a Sub-3 hour marathon (2:56:42)
Challenge Roth 2022 Results (Women)
Sunday 3 July 2022 – 3.8km / 180km / 42.2km
- 1. Anne Haug (GER) – 8:22:42
- 2. Fenella Langridge (GBR) – 8:31:41
- 3. Judith Corachan Vacquera (ESP) – 8:46:29
- 4. Laura Siddall (GBR) – 8:53:31
- 5. Rebecca Clarke (NZL) – 9:08:37