An overcast but warm day had greeted everyone in Frankfurt. One of the official race hotels, the Intercontinental by the river here in Frankfurt is buzzing with the world’s top triathlete’s and some seriously fit looking age groupers. Seen in the hotel lobby today looking very relaxed were two of the Aussie contingent, Dave Dellow and Christian Kemp. Dellow is a proven Ironman performer and will come into this race under the radar following a quiet start to the year. But remember here is an athlete that impressed on his Kona debut last year and with direction from uber coach Brett Sutton he will be ready to show his talents here in Frankfurt. He was looking very lean and relaxed. As for Kemp, this will be a bit of an unknown and after an impressive start to the year with his Asia Pacific 70.3 title, he will be here to test himself against the world’s leading ironman athletes.
Inside the pro briefing we saw a packed room of some of the world’s leading long course triathletes with plenty of focus on Ironman world champion, Aussie Pete Jacobs and the reigning 70.3 world champion, German Sebastian Kienle. A laid back and relaxed Jacobs has been very busy with the European fans and sponsors whilst in Europe and told Trizone he is looking forward to Sunday’s race against such a hot field of talent. Jacobs is definitely a big draw card at the race hotel and Expo amongst the fanatical European triathlon fans.
We managed to sit down with Kienle for a few words and he had the following to tell Trizone. “I have to be honest and say I am not expecting much from Sunday in terms of going for the win. Whilst I’ll try my best I have to realise that the last three months have not been my best, dealing with injury and illness. This past week I have not been feeling the way I usually feel at this stage and not the way I felt last year before the race. But I realise that is what makes the best athletes so good, being able to perform no matter what they have been suffering from.” We asked Seb to tell us about his issues to which he replied “I had a great year to March with some good base training and a lot of strength. But I developed some ligament damage in my ankle which had me trying to focus heavily on that recovery. That took me 4 weeks without running and then I developed an illness which I have not been able to get totally right. At its worse I have headaches and sore throats with low energy at times and I feel I am coming back but it just doesn’t get 100% right. It is nothing too serious though and is not debilitating.”
When Trizone asked his thoughts on Sunday and beyond he note “Well it is always about Vegas and Kona. The timing of these races is perfect and the Kona training helps me get strong for Vegas and the Vegas training helps with my speed for Kona. I want to defend Vegas and do even better in Kona this year and I think that I will be on target. To win a competitive Ironman in July and then win Kona is not really something that is probable. It isn’t impossible though I think not probable. So I am not concerned about what happens as much this weekend as what happens in the lead up to September and October.”
Defending Ironman Frankfurt champion and favourite for Sunday, Marino Vanhoenecker told Trizone “Things have been right on track. I’ve had a few niggles but the ones you expect when training hard for an ironman. We will see how I am on Sunday but for now I feel like things are on schedule. This is about points, top 5 will have me in Kona for sure and will mean I can continue to focus on my low race plan to have me in the best shape for the key races of Melbourne, where I raced well, Frankfurt and of course Kona. There is no reason why I cannot defend my European championships title here on Sunday.”