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US triathlete Rudy von Berg stung into action – literally – as he relishes his first Challenge Roth experience

Wasps, bees and bison all got a mention as American star looked forward to his first appearance in classic Bavarian event.

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Even being thrown off his bike after being stung by a wasp or bee hasn’t been enough to dampen Rudy von Berg’s enthusiasm ahead of his debut at Challenge Roth.

The well-travelled American, number nine in the latest world rankings, has had this as a bucket list race for some time.

And he arrived in Bavaria more than a week before the race – but disaster nearly struck last Sunday.

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‘We keep on pushing’

Taking up the story on his Instagram page – where he changed the main image to himself as a cartoon bee – he explained: “Despite some bruises and crashing at 50km/h, we keep on pushing 🦬.

“No idea what the hell happened, it’s pretty stupid but I was in TT mode 2h20 into a 3hr ride when I got bit twice by a wasp or bee, and as I quickly moved one arm out of the aero bars, I must have lost my balance or even maybe unclipped and I went over the bars.

“A nice person from a house nearby helped me with my wounds and my bike was fine so I was able to ride back to my homestay and even get my 22km run done off the bike.

“Hip was a bit sore but it ended being more or less fine. I don’t believe this will affect my race in any way (2017 70.3 Euro Champs the same thing happened but only 4 days before the race and I had a good race), but I’ll just have discomfort till the race and during the race with some of the bruises.”

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Podium ambitions

And speaking at Thursday’s press conference – during why he was sporting a bison hat/helmet! – he explained why nothing was going to stop him racing this Sunday.

Patrick Lange Rudy von Berg bison hat Challenge Roth press conference 2024
Rudy von Berg – and that bison hat! [Photo credit: Challenge Roth]

“I’ve always wanted to race Roth and I knew that when I qualified for Kona early, I would be able to do that.

“So literally the day I won IRONMAN Florida [last November] I said I’d be in Roth in July and Felix [Walchshöfer], the race director, was nice enough to invite me.”

I’ve been to big races like this since I was four or five years old following my dad, he’s been here three times.

“I love the lifestyle and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

So is the famous warm welcome at Roth living up to expectations?

“I’ll see a lot more on race day but up to now it’s been amazing. When I crashed last Sunday, my homestay took the next day off work just to be there for me.

“They’ve been really great, they cook all the meals, everyone’s super nice and super welcoming and I can’t wait to see the atmosphere on race day.”

And what about his hopes around his own performance on Sunday?

To which Rudy replied: “Usually, I’m looking to surprise myself – so looking for my best, fastest long-distance time and mixing it up with the front with the best guys. You always dream for the win but to get a podium would be amazing.”

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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