The pain and heartbreak was clear for Sebastian Kienle as he announced the news that he will not be able to race Challenge Roth next weekend.
An interrupted preparation due to a bout of COVID and a bike crash means the German great will not be ready in time to face the likes of Jan Frodeno and Sam Long in the classic showdown on Sunday July 3.
Kienle announced the news in a video on his Instagram account, admitting it had taken him several attempts to be able to even say the words to his adoring fanbase.
Sebastian Kienle on Roth KO
“Okay this is probably the 10th try but I guess there’s no easy way, so do it the hard way. I will not race Challenge Roth next weekend,” he explained.
“This is obviously a very difficult decision for us given that I know very well that this is one of the last opportunities to race on a stage like that, in a field like that. So therefore it wasn’t easy the last two weeks.”
Kinele’s pain of course is exaggerated by the fact that 2022 is his last season in major championship racing – he has already said 2023 will be a much less intensive final lap of the triathlon circuit before he heads into retirement.
Despite trying everything to make the line in Roth though Kienle says it is just not possible, and he explained in detail just why.
“The reason quite frankly is that I’m not in shape. I caught COVID in the U.S. – before or after the race in St George is still unclear.
“But what is pretty clear is that it just cost me almost three weeks of good training and I’m still struggling a little bit. I think I was on a good track but then some five days ago I crashed on the bike. Nothing really major but just a little bit of skin left on the road and some bruises.
“But again that took three to four days to be fully back to training, so therefore we decided to not race. And I know what the question’s gonna be – ‘Why not? Just make the line and see what the day brings – maybe compensate for that lack of fitness with a bit of extra motivation’.
“And trust me, that’s exactly what I thought, and what I’ve done in the past. But the problem really is if you do something like that you have to be 100 percent convinced that your body is able to co-operate and I’m not 100 percent convinced.
“Then you’re gonna put your health on the line which is not a good idea. It’s still a long-course triathlon and you have to treat it with some respect. So therefore I think it’s not possible to go this extra one percent just with willpower and this anger I had after St George. So this anger has to wait a little bit longer.”
Sebi not ready to coast yet
Kienle explained that he could have gone to his 2023 plan for Roth and decided to just enjoy the race without risking too much. Only he is absolutely not ready for that yet.
“The other option of course would have been just to enjoy the race, soak up all the atmosphere, have a beer at the aid station and high-five the crowd. To be honest I’m not ready for that yet, I’m still very motivated to race for wins and to beat other guys.
“So if this was 2023 I would be on the line no matter what and I would probably make it an easier kind of day and enjoy the atmosphere, but I’m not ready to do that yet.”
Sebi, classy as ever, also had words for everybody taking part at Roth, and beyond.
“So therefore I wish you all the very best and really really enjoy the race, well enjoy all the races that are on the schedule for the next weeks. I really envy you.
“I’m gonna keep you posted about the plans. I will be in Roth and try to give something back to my amazing partners, who have been very patient with me in the last two years.”
Kienle also revealed that he has another job this weekend – maybe one that hints at what his future might hold once he retires?
“I will be commentating the race in Frankfurt – the IRONMAN European Championship – so even if I’m not on the line, you will still see and hear me, probably.”
Get the popcorn ready…