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‘I’m a different athlete now’ – Els Visser looks to challenge German stars on Roth return

"It's been a journey," says Dutch ace as she eyes a podium place on Sunday five years on from her previous Challenge Roth appearance.

News Director
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Much of the talk ahead of the Challenge Roth has been about the all-German battle between Anne Haug and Laura Philipp.

They were second and third last year when Daniela Ryf shattered the record for the fastest ever full-distance time.

But Dutchwoman Els Visser has made giant strides this season and is looking to shake up the established order on Sunday.

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Upward momentum

Visser has raced no fewer than eight times already this year and a perfect illustration of her progress was her performance at the T100 Singapore in April after she was given a wildcard.

In her two PTO events in 2023, she’d been last to finish at both the Asian Open (in Singapore) and the European Open.

But this year in Singapore she was a superb third behind Ashleigh Gentle and Lucy Charles-Barclay.

Indeed she hasn’t been out of the top five all season, has three wins and another three podiums.

It’s seen her world ranking move in an upward trajectory – five years ago when she made her only appearance to date at Challenge Roth she was #54 in the standings and finished seventh.

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‘I’ve changed heaps’

Lining up on Sunday she’s into the top 20 so no wonder she called it a “journey” when chatting at the pre-race press conference.

Challenge Roth press conference 2024 Els Visser Photo credit: Heike Liedtke  Challenge Roth
Els Visser was all smiles at the press conference [Photo credit: Heike Liedtke | Challenge Roth]

She said: “I was here five years ago and it was an incredible experience – it’s so unique and special. But I’m a different athlete now and it’s great to be back.

“I’ve changed heaps, it’s been a journey. In 2019 I’d just started and since then I’ve been training super hard and improving as an athlete and am a lot stronger than I was five years ago.”

But what could that equate to in terms of finishing position on Sunday?

“I can only say I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been.

The training has been going really well and my racing has been consistent. I’m ready!

“It would be great if I can make it to the podium I need a good day to achieve this, I don’t want it to be an all-German podium!”

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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