Frodeno, Ryf win IRONMAN European Championship Frankfurt

Monday 09 July 2018
Both the men’s and the women’s competitions at the 2018 Mainova IRONMAN European Championship Frankfurt delivered even more than the dramatic racing predicted. On the men’s front, Jan Frodeno took the win again after 2015, showing he's ready for the IRONMAN World Championship in just a few months. The 36-year-old took the race into his hands and fulfilled his goal. 

As imagined, Australia’s Josh Amberger proved his outstanding talent in the Lake Langener Waldsee, opening up a slightly larger lead than Frodeno might have expected before. While Amberger came out of the water after a great solo, Frodeno was working hard at the front of the chase group to keep the distance to first place in check. The Frodeno group included the most important co-favorites, but Amberger didn’t care—even onto the bike where he increased his advantage with no one willing to attack. 

On the second lap, things became more efficient in the chase group due to Frodeno and Patrick Lange’s initiative. Everyone was focusing on a huge run battle, but Frodeno pushed the button early. With about 10 kilometers to go on the 185 kilometer long bike course, the 2015 and 2016 IRONMAN world champ hammered to the top of the famous Heartbreak Hill, opening up a gap and closing in on Amberger. When he got off the bike only 20 seconds behind the Aussie leader, it was clear Frodeno was on a mission. He stormed onto the marathon course where he nailed a solid run pace from start to finish. He ran a first half of 1:18 and eventually finished the run in a record time of 2:39:06. Lange remained in second, working hard to downsize the gap. But he had to pay for this hunt and the tough bike ride on the final kilometers. Frodeno ran to the win, and Lange ultimately lost the battle for second to Swede Patrik Nilsson.

Swiss Daniela Ryf had nothing to fear on the run. When she started the marathon, different questions had to be answered in Frankfurt: Can she sustain this gutsy performance to the end? Is this the best Daniela Ryf we've ever seen, or the best performance in the history of IRONMAN? Less than 3 hours later, the answer was clear: The three-time IRONMAN world champion put on one of the best performances of her career to date. She set a bike record of 4:40:55 (despite a course that was 5k longer due to construction) on top of outstanding performances both in the swim and run. 

There were other world-class athletes in the mix such as defending champion Sarah Crowley (AUS), Sarah True (USA) and Anne Haug from Germany. But this trio was, to Ryf's advantage, out of the title game early. They got dropped tremendously when the 31-year-old hit the gas early on the bike. Ryf came off the bike with a lead of more than 27 minutes, focused and ready to go for it on the marathon, too. It was a tough, hot battle alongside the Main river, but Ryf had a perfect day. A new course record by almost 10 minutes highlighted a historic race for Ryf. The brilliant IRONMAN debut of Sarah True put her in runner-up position, and a strong defending champion finished third.   
  
Top 5 Pro Men
1 Frodeno, Jan GER 8:00:58
2 Nilsson, Patrik SWE 8:08:15
3 Lange, Patrick GER 8:09:26
4 Kastelein, Nicholas AUS 8:18:45
5 Amberger, Josh AUS 8:26:16

Top 5 Pro Women
1 Ryf, Daniela SUI 8:38:44
2 True, Sarah USA 9:05:15
3 Crowley, Sarah AUS 9:11:31
4 Haug, Anne GER 9:14:06
5 Konschak, Katja GER 9:36:11
IRONMAN Triathlon (Photo: Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images)


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