Like any of the classic horse races around the world such as the Grand National, Kentucky Derby, Melbourne Cup etc the Ironman World Championship is one of the hardest races in the world to pick. Sure there have been times when there was a domination by one or two athletes but this year, possibly more so than any year in the past, the pro fields are stacked to the rafters.
This year the favourite in the betting market is the German and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Jan Fredeno. It is a brave person who would bet the weeks rent on a first timer to win Kona. Jan Frodeno is a class act, though many class acts have been before him and learnt some big lessons on the Queen K.
Last years male champion Frederik Van Lierde and second place Luke McKenzie would both rightly believe that they have the ability to win in 2014. It’s interesting to note that past performance seem to mean a lot on the Big Island. In 17 of the last 18 years the men’s winner was a top-four finisher the year before. A classic example of this beingÂ Frederik Van Lierde’s victory last year, having finished third in 2012 before winning in 2013.
ThisÂ is merely 3 of the best in the world who are racing on Saturday Hawaii time, and we couldn’t possibly cover the entire field of 54 professional men lining up.
Three time champion Craig Alexander is having his final tilt at the title and anyone who bets against him would be foolish. The only challenge for Crowie will be his body holding out. In March Crowie ran a race fast 2:43 marathon at Ironman Melbourne and has been focused on Kona since.
2012 Champion Pete Jacobs is back to right the wrongs of 2013. He has not had a great year including a recent public slanging match with the CEO of World Triathlon Corporation. Something that no professional triathlete should have to deal with but Jacobs dealt with it well. On the field this year and things have not gone to plan with some fatigue issues plaguing Jacobs. As with Crowie anyone that bets against Jacobs winning could risk losing the house.
Sebastian Kienle is the one that everyone has been talking about this year but we are not so sure 2014 will be his year. We would love to see him do well as he has such a great personality and approach to the sport. Of course not being an Aussie, 2nd or 3rd would be good – just behind an Aussie at number 1. Of course Ideally we would like to see the Aussies start at 1 andÂ complete the topÂ 10, with ten Aussie men on the start line with the withdrawal of Peter Robertson due to a fractured collarbone just two weeks ago.
Let’s not forget the other Aussies racing, including Tim Berkel, who at 30 is lining up for his first serious attempt at Kona. Berkel made the move to Lennox Head to train with coach Grant Giles, and has worked hard to improve his swim with his sights set on Kona. Berkel is in good form and on his day could shake up some of the big names in the sport. Another young Aussie who could potentially cause a stir if not this year in the future is Tim Reed. Formerly coached by Grant Giles and now with Matt Dixon, Reed is here to test the waters and prepare for a “proper” assault in 2015. Yet another young Aussie, Paul Matthews is mentored by the great Craig Alexander and had a cracker of race in Ironman Melbourne earlier this year, finishing second and only 1:12 back of Dirk Bockel (who is out of Kona due to a hip injury). Then there is Joe Gambles who has had a leaner racing preparation for Kona this year, and finished one short of a podium place in Roth. Gambles is sure to put in a good performance, andÂ will be a name to watch in future Kona’s. Richie Cunningham, the 41 year old Aussie, is a world class contender at the 70.3 distance and it is great to see him racing in Kona this year.
We have been talking about Bart Aernouts for a few weeks now as a potential winner. Based on his recent performances at Kona and his bike leg that is getting stronger and stronger he is going to be dangerous. If he can swim to his potential and limit the damage before he hits the bike he will get closer to the elusive win.
Australian Joe Gambles is one very talented athlete. His Ironman races to date have shown some classy early performances. One of the things that makes it difficult to know where the pros are really at is their reluctance to share the real story. they are all either foxing or not wanting to talk up their chances in case they don’t meet expectations.
Tim Reed is another who is not going to Kona to just get some experience. He is there to perform on the world stage.
A little look at some highlights from the professional press conference held yesterday:
Frederik Van Lierde (BEL):
Despite not having the best year on paper (4th at Abu Dhabi, 4th at Aix en Provence 70.3 and 2nd at Ironman Frankfurt), the defending Ironman World Champion stated “It’s been a fantastic year so far. It was a pleasure to race as a world champion and I enjoy it a lot. It was a great year”.
Luke McKenzie (AUS):
Following a frustrating year following his tremendous second place in Kona last year, Luke has returned to Kona hungry for success. A new father there is new motivation to provide for his family. McKenzie presented cool, calm and collected at the press conference: “I know I have a really good result in me. I think that’s what makes me hungry about coming back here and racing on Saturday. I know I’ve got good form and I love this race. I know how to prepare for it. I’ve been coming back here for eight years now. I’ve done my time here and I’m hungry to put a day together like I did last year.â€
Sebastian Kienle (GER):
With the palm tree’s blowing the talk of the town appears to be what the weather will be doing on Saturday. Kienle addressed these concerns with a little humour: “Predicting the weather and the winds is just like trying to predict the pro race. Everyone tries. Sometimes it will be very different than predicted. If you believe the predictions it will be a little better, which by better I mean a little worse for everyone else”.
Craig Alexander (AUS):
At 41 years of age Alexander has returned for what will be his last attempt to add another Kona title to his resume. The experienced Aussie on being questioned about his return:Â â€œIt feels good to be back. I thought last year was my last year. When I said it was. I thought I’d be in Australia doing school drop-offs and starting a coaching business or something like that. I changed my mind. I like to race. I liked the opportunity to spend another summer in the Northern Hemisphere. I’m excited to be back and I’m excited to race.â€
Pete Jacobs (AUS):
Jacobs has had a tough couple of years following his World Championship title in 2012, but the Aussie is sticking to his guns and believes in the process. “I’m following the same plan as every other year. Get injured or be sick early in the year and then come back and start training well in August. That’s worked well four out of the past five years. That’s my mindset, that generally what I do here works and it’s a good course for me”. It appears Jacobs appreciates racing under a little less pressure, stating: “It’s nice not to be the defending champion and be down at the other side of the table. It’s a little less pressure”.
Tim O’Donnell (USA):
It’s always interesting hearing the professionals open up about the pressures of racing, and O’Donnell shared his insight. On the pressure to get an American on top of the podium, and his working with coach Mark Allen: “One of the stipulations that Mark put down for working with him was that I have to put in a more impressive performance than he did 25 years ago, so that set the bar high. I was here at the press conference back in 2011 and I felt a little pressure on my shoulders and I ended up with a DNF. Now I’m sitting up here thinking I belong…Â I feel a a little more in place where I am now”.
One name missing from the press conference is James Cunnama (SA), who following his sub-8 hour win at Challenge Roth in 2012, suffered a run of bad luck including a bike crash and two DNF’s to start the 2013 season. Cunnama recovered with a second at Challenge Roth in 2013, although another crash followed at Alpe d’Huez. Cunnama returned to Kona for a very pleasing 4th place finish, and this year has won South Africa 70.3, a very respectable 5th placed finish at Roth this year despite being off form, but didn’t fair so well at the 70.3 World Championship in Mont Tremblant last month with a DNF.
After a sub-8 hour win at Challenge Roth in 2012, Cunnama had a bike crash and two DNFs to start the 2013 season before recovering with a 2nd at Challenge Roth. Another crash at Alpe d’Huez was worrisome, but he gathered himself for an impressive 4th at Kona last year and the South African seemed to be on track for greatness. This year he won South Africa70.3, took a respectable but off-form 5th at Roth then had an off day DNF at Ironman 70.3 Worlds.Â Cunnama is a name to watch in future years, the question for Saturday is whether or not he is in full health and top form.
We wish each and every one of the 54 professional men racing the very best, and look forward to watching the race unfold.
The betting marketÂ http://www.sportsbet.com.au/betting/triathlon/kona-ironman-world-championship.
|1||Frederik Van Lierde||MPRO||MALE||BEL|
|14||Victor Del Corral Morales||MPRO||MALE||ESP|
|20||Tim Van Berkel||MPRO||MALE||AUS|
|39||Peter Robertson (Withdrawn)||MPRO||MALE||AUS|
|107||Yvonne Van Vlerken||FPRO||FEMALE||NLD|
|117||Mary Beth Ellis||FPRO||FEMALE||USA|
Ironman World Championship: Europeans Dominate and Records Fall
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.
Ironman World Championship: Patrick Lange Smashes Course Record and Daniela Ryf Earns Third Straight Win
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.
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.
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.
Ironman World Championship: The Best Run Images from Kona 2017
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.
Ironman World Championship: The Best Bike Images from Kona 2017
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.
Ironman World Championship: Patrick Lange Beats Sanders by a Hair for the Win & New Record
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.
Ironman World Championship: Are We Stuck with Jan Frodeno & Daniela Ryf in Hawaii Again?
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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