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Previewed: IRONMAN 70.3 Auckland – Asia-Pacific Championship

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A world-class field is, at this very moment, assembling in Auckland, NZ, for the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, to be held this forthcoming Sunday, January 19th 2014. Big prize money, a regional title and a share in one of the best KPR points offerings on the 70.3 circuit has lured some 30 professional men and 13 professional women onto the start line for battle very early in the international season.

The Men’s Race:

The men’s field, in particular, is absolutely overflowing with talent. With such a strong field, we expect there to be  a big pack heading together off the bike and fireworks on the run. So early in the year, it’s going to be anyone’s race.

As TriZone previously reported, the men’s field will be headlined by none other than five-time world champion and living legend, Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander. Alexander had a disappointing run of form late last season at both the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman World Championships due to a back injury. Announcing he is no longer vying for Kona contention and instead renewing his focus on 70.3 racing -where he believes he is most competitive- it will be interesting to see how the champ’s form is, particularly since it is a very long time since we’ve seen the Shire native race so early in the year.

As with Alexander, it is indeed hard to construct an accurate form guide for much of the 30-strong field. Defending champion Christian Kemp of Australia is back and hungry to hold onto the title. Kemp was off most radars in 2013 after struggling with a long run of injuries, but raised eyebrows blitzing the field in Auckland. According to two-time Olympic medalist, Bevan Docherty, Kemp was strong on the bike and ‘toyed’ with them on the run in his way to the victory. It’s certain then, that this year Kemp will have a target firmly placed on his back.

Docherty himself showed us last year his January form was strong across all three disciplines with a second placing at the inaugural event, so he too -as always- will be one to keep an eye on. He then went on to win Ironman New Zealand on debut and set a course record. His first attempts at the two Ironman World Champs last year did not yield the results he would have been hoping for. Docherty will be out to prove something on Sunday.

Fellow Kiwi Cameron Brown will also be looking to be in the mix. After taking out his 10th Port of Tauranga half-Iron in January, Brown looks to be in great form. Brown took six weeks of towards the end of last year, something he hasn’t done for ten years, to fully recharge some aging batteries. This looks to have worked wonders, particularly on the bike as he showed in Tauranga. This field has some incredibly fast runners and could prove too quick on Sunday for Brown, particularly if he’s gapped in the water.

Terrenzo Bozzone was in scintillating form in 2013, making a resounding return from a prolonged injury hiatus. He finished off 2013 with a string of 70.3 podiums including second at the World Championships in Las Vegas and wins in Miami, Mandurah and Shepparton. Bozzone is making his return to Ironman racing in Taupo this March so whether or not the big training load will dim his run speed off the bike is to be seen. If he’s close to the condition he was in in 2013, Bozzone will be hard to beat.

World number 5 Ironman 70.3 professional Tim Reed will be in Auckland to win. The lead bike pack will be nervously looking over their shoulders for the inevitable onslaught by Reed as he powers his way though the field aboard his new Shimano-equipped Felt whip. If he is there off the bike he will back himself to be able to run with the best of them and take the title.

Tim Reed coached Sam Appleton to a maiden 70.3 title in Canberra five weeks ago after a string of podiums at Port 70.3, Nepean and Mandurah. Appleton is a strong, rounded athlete who will swim and ride with the front packs. With a strong run, Appleton will almost certainly be at the pointy end in the second half of the run, chasing another podium.

Young gun James Hodge had a fantastic season 2013, his second year of professional racing, with a number of podiums and wins at Ironman 70.3 Japan and the Metaman half-distance race. The tall Tasmanian rode off the front in Auckland last year in an impressive display of bike strength and he has shown in recent months that he hasn’t lost any of that power. In fact, it is reported he is riding better than ever right now. With improved bike strength, a front-pack swim and the same off-the-front attitude, Hodge is a good chance to improve on his third-placing from 2013.

Former Australian Ironman 70.3 Pro Champion Tim Berkel will be in unknown form this forthcoming weekend. Berkel was recently hit by a vehicle travelling at about 45kph during the inaugural Challenge Forster race. Coach Grant Giles has been working his squad hard in Lennox, so we expect Berkel to be well conditioned coming into the race. A strong all-round athlete, Berkel has show in the past he’s capable of some exceptional runs over the 70.3 distance.

2008 Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno has been transitioning to long-course racing since the London Games where he placed. Racing a mix of ITU and non-drafting events, Frodeno tasted 70.3 success with a second-place at the Ironman 70.3 European Championships in Wiesbaden in 2013. As he continues to adapt his craft to long-course racing, we know we haven’t seen the best Frodeno has to offer on the 70.3 circuit.

Richie Cunningham showed some great form in 2013 taking wins Galveston and St Croix 70.3’s before being hit by a car and breaking his elbow. Cunningham returned to racing with some quick runs netting him podiums at Austin 70.3 and Rev3 Venice Beach.  With a few podiums in Panama – a February 70.3 race – in the last few years, Cunningham has shown he can perform well early in the year, so watch for another quick one from this fast veteran.

There are a number of other dark horse athletes to watch in Auckland. David Mainwaring took a win at Murray Man Half and  second at Challenge Forster in recent months, showing he is in good touch and racing confidently. Matthew Pellow is also in good form, which he showed when ran through James Hodge with a barnstorming effort in Canberra to net second place. The likes of Paul Amey and Dave Dellow can never be discounted either, both bringing experience and speed to the startline.

Full Men’s Startlist:

  • Andrew Yoder (USA)
  • Bevan Docherty (NZL)
  • Brodie Madgwick (NZL)
  • Callum Millward (NZL)
  • Cameron Brown (NZL)
  • Chris Sanson (NZL)
  • Christian Kemp (AUS)
  • Craig Alexander (AUS)
  • Damien Decas (FRA)
  • David Dellow (AUS)
  • David Mainwaring (AUS)
  • Graham O’Grady (NZL)
  • James Hodge (AUS)
  • James Seear (AUS)
  • Jamie Stanley (AUS)
  • Jan Frodeno (GER)
  • John Polson (AUS)
  • Mark Bowstead (NZL)
  • Matt Franklin (NZL)
  • Matthew Pellow (AUS)
  • Michael Poole (NZL)
  • Paul Amey (GBR)
  • Richie Cunningham (AUS)
  • Sam Appleton (AUS)
  • Sean Donnelly (GER)
  • Terenzo Bozzone (NZL)
  • Tim Berkel (AUS)
  • Tim Reed (AUS)
  • Todd Israel (AUS)

The Women’s Race:

At the inaugural race in 2013 Annabel Luxford absolutely dominated the women’s field. She was leading out of the water and put time into the likes of Meredith Kessler and Caroline Steffen on both the bike and the run. Despite some simply outstanding results in 2013, Luxford still considers herself somewhat of a long-distance rookie. We expect 2014 to be an even bigger year for Luxford as she continues to push her boundaries over the 70.3 distance.  Luxford will go into Sunday’s race as a strong favourite over some fierce local competition. After coming 3rd at the 70.3 World Champs Luxford backed up to beat the 70.3 champion a week later over the same distance.

Catriona Morrison had a very consistent 2013 which included a number of podiums and wins over the 70.3 distance, including the tough, humid St Croix 70.3. Morrison is coming off a win at the Port of Tauranga Half where she ran a sharp 1:21 half-marathon. We expect Morrison to race strongly and contend for a podium spot.

Kiwi Sam Warriner is an experienced racer who doesn’t appear to have slowed one iota since giving birth to her first child. She took out the Cairns Airport Ironman 70.3 Cairns in 2013,  and dabbled in some ITU racing at the evergreen age of 42. Warriner will need a strong bike performance to challenge for the win, but we expect her to be up at the pointy end of the race all day.

Kiwi legend Jo Lawn is another athlete with the potential to challenge for a podium position. Lawn is again preparing for Ironman New Zealand in March with the hopes of securing an eighth title.  With another consistent year behind her, Lawn will, like compatriot Warriner, look to the bike for a strong result.

Australian Rebecca Hoschke has had a good domestic season so far with a second at the Murray Man half, and a win at Challenge Forster. The reigning Ironman Australia champion will have been working hard with coach Grant Giles to prepare for the this race and hopefully to improve on her eighth place here in 2013. After leaving her full time job late in 2013 Hoschke has been putting more time in to her training and we look forward to seeing the results of this on Sunday.

Australian-based Japanese ITU veteran Kiyomi Niwata will be near the front out of the drink but will need to work hard to stay within touch the likes of Luxford, Morrison, and Warriner on the bike if she is to challenge for a podium. With a few second-placings in 2013 over the 70.3, the swim-run specialist will be looking to start 2014 with a strong result at the Asia-Pacific Champs.

Coming off a podium finish in at Canberra 70.3, Brisbane native Kym Jaenke will join the likes of Michelle Bremer and Michelle Wu as darkhorses who have the potential to nail a big performance on Sunday.

  • Annabel Luxford (AUS)
  • Catriona Morrison (SCO)
  • Hannah Lawrence  (NZL)
  • Jo Lawn (NZL)
  • Kiyomi Niwata (JPN)
  • Kristy Hallett (AUS)
  • Kym Jaenke (AUS)
  • Melanie Burke (NZL)
  • Michelle Bremer (NZL)
  • Michelle Wu (AUS)
  • Rebecca Hoschke (AUS)
  • Sabrina Mohn (SUI)
  • Sam Warriner  (NZL).

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.

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Ironman World Championship: Europeans Dominate and Records Fall

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Daniela Ryf of Switzerland celebrates after winning the IRONMAN World Championship on October 14, 2017 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

European dominance of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona has continued but not as the pre-race script had been written.

While Switzerland’s “Angry Bird” Daniela Ryf made it three Kona victories, it was not defending champion Jan Frodeno’s day, with the men’s championship title transferring to fellow countryman Patrick Lange.

Coming from a nine-minute deficit off the bike, Lange revelled in near perfect conditions to write himself into the IRONMAN history books to destroy the course record set in 2011 by Australian Craig Alexander, with a 2:39:59 marathon that helped deliver a total race time of 8:01:40.

In a record-breaking day, Aussie Cameron Wurf won the battle of the bikers taking control of the race at the 110km mark and leading into the bike/run transition to set a new bike course record of 4:12:54, more than five minutes faster than Normann Stadler’s 2006 record.

Wurf surrendered his lead early on in the run, as Lionel Sanders (CAN and Sebastian Kienle (GER) made their presence felt, but very quickly all eyes turned to a charging Patrick Lange who had moved into third at 21km of the marathon intent on reducing the six-minute deficit to the leading Sanders.

Lange was on a mission and keen to improve on his third place last year and with 5km to go on the run he flew past Sanders, heading for town and the adoring crowd lining the run course and the finish line on Ali’i Drive.

“It’s everything I ever dreamed of. Oh, my god, I cannot believe it,” Lange said. “I always, always, always since I was a child dreamed of having this crown. From time to time you think someone is hitting with a baseball beneath your knees and you just want to drop out. I had to fight, I had to fight so hard,” Lange said at the finish line.

A fading Sanders managed to hold off the hard-charging David McNamee (GBR) for second with Kienle and James Cunnama (ZAF) crossing the finish to take fourth and fifth.

Swiss miss Daniela Ryf joined an exclusive club at the IRONMAN World Championships, recording her third win in Kona with a very skilful and strategic victory that while remarkably effective, lacked her usual flair and total dominance.

Ryf didn’t have it all her way, with Lucy Charles dominating the swim and majority of the bike before Ryf decided that enough was enough. Ryf wrestled the lead off the Brit and charged home with the fastest run of the day, putting a nine-minute gap to her chasers by the end of the 42.2km run.

“It was the hardest I had to ever fight for the win. I’m so happy to turn it around today,” a more emotional than usual Ryf said at the finish line.

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Ironman World Championship: Patrick Lange Smashes Course Record and Daniela Ryf Earns Third Straight Win

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Daniela Ryf of Switzerland celebrates after winning the IRONMAN World Championship. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Patrick Lange (DEU) and Daniela Ryf (CHE) earned championship titles with momentous performances today at the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i. Lange passed Lionel Sanders (CAN) in the final three miles, clocking in at 8:01:40 and establishing a new course record (formerly 8:03:56 by Craig Alexander, 2011). Ryf earned her third consecutive crown with a time of 8:50:47, joining an exclusive “three-peat” winners’ circle alongside the newest IRONMAN Hall of Fame inductee Chrissie Wellington and Natascha Badmann, Dave Scott, Paula Newby-Fraser and Mark Allen. Over 2,350 athletes from 66 countries, regions and territories on six continents started the IRONMAN World Championship race on the Island of Hawai`i in the toughest one-day endurance event in the world.

Patrick Lange of Germany putting the hurt on as he runs to victory and a new course record during the IRONMAN World Championship. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Lange, who raced in only his fourth IRONMAN to-date, had an incredible ascension after having been 17th out of the swim in today’s race. Shortly after the swim, a pack of strong cyclists including Sanders, Sebastian Kienle (GER) and Cameron Wurf (AUS) broke away from the group. Wurf would sail into T2, shattering the 2006 bike course record held by Normann Stadler (4:18:23) with a 4:12:54 split. Sanders and Kienle also smashed the record with 4:14:19 and 4:14:57 split times, respectively. On the run, Sanders took a quick lead as Kienle fell into second. Meanwhile, Lange moved from 11th place to a steady third-place position by the half-marathon marker. Lange then made a decisive pass at mile 23 on the run, as he moved ahead of Sanders to take a hold of the lead, finishing strong in first place. With a 2:39:59 run split, he was only 14 seconds away from breaking the run course record he set last year (2:39:45).

Sanders hung on for second place, ultimately concluding his race with a time of 8:04:07. David McNamee (GBR), Kienle and James Cunnama (ZAF) rounded out the top five.

McNamee had the second fastest run split of the race with 2:45:30, helping him clinch a third-place podium finish by more than two minutes ahead of Kienle.

Defending champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Jan Frodeno dug deep after back spasms slowed him first to a complete stop and then run/walk pace, mustering enough strength to finish the race.

Lucy Charles (GBR) led the professional women out of the water with a 48:48 split, missing the course record by only five seconds. After a speedy transition, Charles took the lead on the bike and had an approximately a five-and-a-half-minute lead over defending champ Daniela Ryf (CHE), Sarah Crowley (AUS) and Annabel Luxford (AUS). This pace remained consistent down the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway until Ryf attacked, making up over five minutes over the final 25 miles of the bike, which positioned her at the front of the pack. Ryf then greatly extended her lead on the run, with Charles, Crowley and Heather Jackson (USA), fighting for the remaining podium positions.

Lucy Charles of Great Britain cools down during the IRONMAN World Championship on October 14, 2017 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Ryf took first at 8:50:47, almost exactly four minutes off of her own 2016 course record time of 8:46:46. Calling on her epic running abilities, the Swiss star claimed her third successive IRONMAN World Championship victory.

Charles, a Kona rookie, maintained her second-place position throughout most of the run and ultimately to the finish. Crowley rounded out the top three in her second-ever appearance at the IRONMAN World Championship, finishing her race exactly two minutes behind Charles. Jackson and Kaisa Sali (FIN) rounded out the top five women.

 

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Ironman World Championship: The Best Run Images from Kona 2017

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It’s never an easy day out when racing any Ironman race let alone the World Championship. Then add in some hot and humid weather and you really have a very tough set of conditions.

Here are some of the amazing images that were captured during today’s race.

Lucy Charles trying to remain as cool as possible during the run leg. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Lionel Sanders of Canada runs through an aid station and takes on extra fluids and also trying to cool himself. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Patrick Lange of Germany celebrates before crossing the finish line to win the IRONMAN World Championship and setting a course record of 8:01.39 beating Craig Alexander’s 2011 record of 8:03.56. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Age group athletes out on the run course. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

John Joseph McGowan of the United States showing us his guns and ink work. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Unfortunately Jan Frodeno of Germany wasn’t able to really defend his title today due to an injury. He eventually finishes 35th. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

The sun sets on Kailua Kona, Hawaii and competitors continue their journey for their personal success. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Daniela Ryf nearly the final few kilometres during the Ironman World Championship 2017, (Photo: Jesper Gronnemark/Red Bull Content Pool)

Kaisa Sali of Finland celebrates in the finish chute after finishing fifth during the IRONMAN World Championship. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Patrick Lange of Germany putting the hurt on as he runs to victory and a new course record during the IRONMAN World Championship. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Runners compete as the sun sets in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Lucy Charles of Great Britain runs through the barren landscape and eventually to coming 2nd. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

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Ironman World Championship: The Best Bike Images from Kona 2017

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With the backdrop of the most infamous course in the world, the Ironman World Championship bike course never misses by the providing the most amazing landscapes for the bike course. This year was nothing short of spectacular.

Igor Amorelli of Brazil on the bike during the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Martin Fredriksson of Sweden leads a pack on the bike during the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Michael Weiss of Austria feeling the hurt during the bike leg. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Jocelyn Mccauley of the United States competes on the bike during the IRONMAN World Championship on October 14, 2017 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

A cyclist leaves the transition area with her bike during the IRONMAN World Championship on October 14, 2017 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

KAILUA KONA, HI – OCTOBER 14: A cyclist competes during the IRONMAN World Championship on October 14, 2017 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Lucy Charles of Great Britain showed how strong her bike leg was during today’s Ironman World Championship. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Thomas Gentry McGrath of the United States cools down with water during today’s World Championship in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Michelle Alexander from Denver holds up an ‘IRONMAN are sexy’ sign as athletes cycle past. She certainly brought some smiles. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Cameron Wurf of Australia cycles ahead of Lionel Sanders of Canada during the bike leg of today’s IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. Cameron would go on to set a new bike course record. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

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Ironman World Championship: Patrick Lange Beats Sanders by a Hair for the Win & New Record

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Patrick Lange of Germany celebrates afer winning the IRONMAN World Championship and setting a course record of 8:01.39. (Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

The results are in. The 2015 and 2016 winner of the Ironman World Championship triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, Jan Frodeno, suffered an injury early in the run today. This is when the world turned its eyes to Lionel Sanders of Canada, who led most of the race. That is, until the final few kilometres, when Germany’s Patrick Lange took the lead, setting a new world record of 8:01:39.

Lange came in 3rd place in the 2016 championship, following Frodeno and Sebastian Kienle, both from Germany.

As of this writing, 2015 and 2016 women’s winner Daniela Ryf is leading the women with 14km to go with Britain’s Lucy Charles behind her. This is Charles’ first Kona championship as a professional.

Sanders came in 14th and 29th place in the 2015 and 2016 races, respectively. Today was his first time making the top 10 in Kona. Earlier this year, Sanders announced that he would not compete in Kona. Later, he had a change of heart.

2017 has been a good year for Sanders. He competed in August’s International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championship, and a few Ironman 70.3’s. He won every race except the St. George 70.3, where he came in 2nd place.

Trizone predicted that Sanders would do well this year. After losing Kona in 2016, he decided to take this year’s championship very seriously. Sanders has been the wild card of the race.

Congratulations to Lange and Ryf, and to Sanders for his unexpected near-win.

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Ironman World Championship: Are We Stuck with Jan Frodeno & Daniela Ryf in Hawaii Again?

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Daniela Ryf performs at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona Hawaii, USA on October 8, 2016

It’s time again for another Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. The triathletes have already arrived on the Big Island, and sports news sites are speculating about who’s going to interrupt the winning streaks of Germany’s Jan Frodeno and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf.

Frodeno & Ryf Are Each Going for their 3rd Consecutive Kona Win

Both Frodeno and Ryf were the winners of the 2015 and 2016 races. Frodeno pulled ahead of Germany’s Sebastian Kienle by 3:32 in 2016 and Andreas Raelert, also from Germany, by 3:03 in 2015. In the 2016 women’s race, Ryf led Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae by 23:44. She beat Britain’s Rachel Joyce by 13:02 in 2015.

Most of Ryf’s Rivals Dropped Out

Many of Ryf’s past competitors are not competing this year. Carfrae has a newborn baby. Canada’s Heather Wurtele, who opted out of this race, came in 3rd place in the 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, leaving Ryf in 4th. The winner of that race was Holly Lawrence of Britain, who is also not competing this year.

Ryf’s Competition Could Still Be Fierce

The three rivals for Ryf to look out for are Heather Jackson of the USA, Rachel Joyce of Britain, and Melissa Hauschildt of Australia. Hauschildt made 2nd place in the 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and Ryf finished behind her by 3:00 to land 4th Place.

In the 2013 70.3, Jackson won 2nd place, losing to Hauschildt by 5:12. Ryf came in 6th, finishing 3:27 behind Jackson.

Who Should Frodeno Be Afraid Of?

The conversation around Jan Frodeno centres around two other German guys, Sebastian Kienle and Patrick Lange. Kienle won the 2014 Hawaii championship. Frodeno settled for 3rd place and followed behind Kienle with 8:20:32 vs 8:14:18. USA’s Ben Hoffman came in 2nd place.

These are the guys Frodeno has to worry about most.

Frodeno’s Possible Wild Card Nemesis

Another contender who could give Frodeno a run for his money is Lionel Sanders of Canada. He won 11 out of 11 races in 2013 and has won a lot of them since. Sanders, who almost skipped this year in favour of the 70.3 World Championship, missed the top 10 in Kona for the past two years in a row. He said he did not take the championship seriously in 2016, and he vows to do better this year.

Sanders is known for rapid improvement and the ability to surprise people with wins in the races he truly sets his mind to winning. He’s also known for performing below expectations now and then. Rest assured, he’s serious about Kona this time. He would not have signed up otherwise.

This May Not Be Totally Boring After All

Well, this is the data. We can leave it up to the reader to decide who will win Hawaii’s Ironman.

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