On Sunday, Challenge St Pölten, set in the beautiful Austrian countryside, will feature some of the best athletes in the world competing for victory. Among the men, the biggest favourite is Sebastian Kienle, but he can count on stiff competition. In the women’s race, the biggest favourite seems to be Australia’s Renee Kiley.
In the men’s race, most eyes are on Sebastian Kienle for sure; the German is in his farewell year as a professional athlete, only doing races he has always wanted to do and Challenge St Pölten is high on his list. Last weekend Kienle finished fourth at Ekoï Challenge Fréjus, where he received a controversial five-minute time penalty. As a result, Kienle is now keener than ever on the highest spot on the podium and will travel to Austria with nothing less than the goal to win.
That victory will certainly not come easily; Kienle can expect heavy opposition from compatriots Nicolas Mann, Nils Frommhold and Ruben Zepuntke. These three top athletes are all particularly strong, especially on the bike and running, which is exactly what the course of Challenge St Pölten requires. In addition to Kienle, Frommhold, Zepuntke and Mann, there are several other outsiders at the start, such as Lukas Hollaus, Joao Ferreira and Matthias Hohlrieder among others.
In the women’s race, the biggest favorite seems to be Renee Kiley. All the way from Australia, Kiley has made quite a journey to race in Austria and she is only doing so to finally take her place on the top step of the podium. At forty years old, Kiley has enormous experience and will have to compete against the young, eager athletes Daniela Kleiser and Julie Iemmolo, among others. The latter finished third at Ekoï Challenge Fréjus last weekend and seems to be in shape to give her best this coming weekend as well. Other competitors on the start line include Lisa-Maria Dornauer, Sarah Schönfelder and Melanie Baumann.
In a break from the norm, ‘ladies first’ is the motto on race day when, at 7:00 am on Sunday 21 May, the professional female athletes will jump into the Ratzersdorfer See and open the race. The professional men and the entire AG athlete field will follow 20 minutes later. The first finish is expected from about 11:00 am. The race will be streamed live on ORF Sport+ and via a livestream (Facebook with English commentary, TVthek with German commentary) with access via www.challenge-family.live.
All course maps, time schedules and further information can be found on the website at www.challenge-stpoelten.com