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World champions, former winners and rising stars announced for The Championship 2024

India Lee (GBR) and Rico Bogen (GER) will lead two stellar start lists at The Championship later this month, as The Challenge Family announce the lineups.

Staff Reporter
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In just over a fortnight, one of the most exciting races on the middle distance calendar will take place in Šamorín, as The Challenge Family host The Championship on Sunday, May 19.

Drawing a spectacular professional field to Slovakia, the racing promises to be fast and furious, with India Lee one of the big names on the start list, as the Brit looks to defend her title from 2023.

Revealing the top names racing, The Challenge Family confirmed stars such as IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Rico Bogen will race alongside Lee in their flagship event.

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Can Lee go back-to-back in Slovakia?

Despite a mechanical on the bike, Lee displayed her perseverance here last season when she took the biggest win of her career so far, but will hope the race goes slightly smoother this time around as she sets out to defend her title.

India Lee wins the Challenge Championship in Samorin 2023 [Photo credit: Activimages / Challenge Family]
[Photo credit: Activimages / Challenge Family]

Up against another former The Championship winner Lucy Buckingham, plus fellow countrywoman Fenella Langridge, the competition will be stiff, but the Miami T100 winner will undoubtedly be the favourite in Šamorín.

Other names to look out for include German Caroline Pohle, who finished on the podium in 2023, plus Danish rising star Laura Madsen, who took a tremendous victory last month at IRONMAN 70.3 Valencia.

Marta Sanchez, the Spaniard who took two superb victories at IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon and IRONMAN South Africa earlier this year, will be another top contender looking to fight for the podium on race day.

Men’s title up for grabs as Margirier opts out

With defending champion Mathis Margirier not on the start line for the men’s race, the title is well and truly up for grabs, with 13 of the Top 50 ranked athletes in the world competing in Slovakia.

Men's podium at the 2023 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships
[Photo Credit – Nigel Roddis Getty Images for IRONMAN]

Pieter Heemeryck, who finished on the podium at the Singapore T100 and races The Championship for the sixth time will be a slim favourite, but will face stiff competition from German trio Bogen, Frederic Funk and Jan Stratmann.

The three Germans, who swept the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship podium last year, will look to do the same in Šamorín, and will take some beating. However, in-form athletes such as American Marc Dubrick and Kiwi Kyle Smith will fancy their chances on a fast course.

kyle smith challenge wanaka 2024
Kyle Smith at Challenge Wanaka earlier this year [Photo Credit – Challenge Family]

Britain’s Joe Skipper, after a disappointing DNF at IRONMAN Texas, will look to race well, as will James Teagle, who has been on an upwards trajectory for some time now and is a real standout athlete from the British middle distance talent pool.

Finally, Europeans Kacper Stepniak, Daniel Baekkegard and Antonio Benito Lopez all possess the quality to find themselves in the fight for the podium on their day.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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