Before all the supposed experts analyse the European Championship and the ins and outs of who did what and why, I thought I would let our Trisutto family know what really did happen. Both Jan and the Bird who have for the last 3 years been the supreme athletes, have had to read who are the alternatives to their reign. This most likely annoyed both!
First let’s start with the men.
Jan Frodeno from the outset of the race had decided he was not going to tear a hole in the men’s field on the bike. Rather he would show the triathlon world that he is the best runner in the Ironman world.
While he rode with tactical purpose rather than to attack the race on the swim and bike, he showed how dominant he is when not injured. The job was done pretty emphatically. Patrick Lange was hell bent on showing that he can run when he works on the bike. This being the only reason I could see why he decided to share the pack lead on an equal basis. This was a show of valor rather than tactical superiority. He too proved things to himself and I doubt we will see him getting that excited again on the bike in the big races. Any doubts about who is the best Ironman athlete in the world were put to bed.
Congratulations to Jan Frodeno on an emphatic victory.
In the women’s race, with Daniela taking an extended break the triathlon rumor mill has been working over time that the Angry Bird era of dominance is coming to an end. With athletes including an Olympic top 5, world number 1 from 2015, the new Half Ironman sensation who also was a former ITU world number 1, the field was stacked. Also with the defending champion and 3rd in last years Kona toeing the start line, along with two or three new athletes being talked up as possible successors.
Time to fly on the run also – Photo Credit: Spirit Multisport
The Bird expected big questions to be asked. Her training has been totally frustrating for her, as her coach has been saying take your time, stop pushing, we will be ready in October to show how good you really are. Well, those that know Daniela Ryf understand that being patient is not one of her great strengths! We have worked on developing her swim stroke, so in future she could negate the dynamic swim and the gap that Lucy Charles made last year in Kona. While we know there will be a gap, it will not be as dominant. We have rested and let both her body and mind recover and get stronger, this also has been obvious on race day.
What about the bike ride? The experts helped deliver that, as all the talk on how fast the new generation are on the run. The Bird had in her mind that she would make the bike extremely difficult for them to cope with. Job done. However Danni said to me, it was one of those magical days; a day where you start pedalling and it feels fantastic from the off. Again at training she has yet to feel that she had a good ride and just struggled to find her form on the bike. In the coaches mind he thought she was doing a great job in all three, but the doubts were in her mind as coach said whatever happens on Sunday, you will be going 15% better in October. So the bike was a revelation, not just to the fans but Danni also.
To the run, again a little bit of Jan tactics here – I’ll show you I can run just as fast as the new generation. Once the job was done some minutes were given back.
What are the other revelations of the female race? I thought Sarah Crowley’s gutsy marathon coming off a difficult early season with a couple of injuries was a lesson to the new shorter distance sensations. Ironman winners are tough. They dig in and grind it out no matter how hard it gets. Well done to Sarah.
I was sad for Anne Haug for a puncture early in the race. It possibly cost her a podium. Would she be in a race with Danni if there was no puncture? No. However it would likely have seen her on the podium in her first Ironman. Sarah True had an excellent run in her Ironman debut. Was that expected? Yes. One must acknowledge she in 2012 was in a sprint finish at the London Olympics. Another truly great performance.
But this is why Ironman is so special. In the major races where the girls can get 90km on the bike before the age group men show up, you have to step up and ride as well as run. Any expert that thought the Bird’s reign is over, will need to re-evaluate for the near future.
To answer the question about 70.3 world’s. They were not on our radar until 2 weeks ago and I don’t know if it is on Jan Frodeno’s radar. Should they decide to be there then the best Iron distance athletes will be more than a match in the shorter distance athletes playground. They will represent the Ironman fans well at the shorter race!
I wrote an article two seasons ago that with the arrival of Jan and Danni, that Ironman had found a new level with athletes who don’t have a weakness. They can dominate in swim, or bike as Danni showed, or run as Jan showed. We are in an era of greatness and we should embrace two absolutely exceptional triathletes.
Congratulations to both!
Feature Photo Credit: Spirit Multisport