While Daniela Ryf (CHE) was the prohibitive pick to win the women’s elite title at the Ironman European Championships, for 2-time Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno (GER), not so much with defending Ironman World Champion Patrick Lange (GER) present.
Jan Frodeno vowed to beat Lange at his own game and did so magnificently, winning the Ironman European Championship in 8:00:58, winning by a margin of 7:16 over Patrik Nilsson of Sweden and 8:27 over Patrick Lange.
Frodeno was in stunning form as he posted the day’s best run split of 2:39:06, waving a little reminder, that yes, Frodo is back to reclaim the crown at the Big Island in Kona.
Daniela Ryf (CHE) showed she is on an entirely different level in the women’s field, almost posting a wire-to-wire victory, but was dominant nonetheless in an 8:38:44 finish, a margin of 26:34 over American Sarah True. Ryf’s finish puts her in 7th place overall, and only 38 minutes behind Frodeno.
Josh Amberger of Australia as expected, came out of the water first in 46:53 and led by 1 minute and 49 seconds over the chase group that includes Frodeno, Nicholas Kastelein (AUS), Lange and Nilsson.
Amberger led in the bike throughout the first lap, and the chase group was content staying together. But after the 100km mark, with Amberger enjoying a 4 minute lead, Frodeno decided to push the pace. By 150km mark, the lead was down to three minutes and would eventually approach T2 just 19 seconds behind Amberger. Nilsson and Lange were 18 and 21 seconds behind Frodeno and ultimately will set-up a marathon duel for this championship.
The duel though never materialized as Frodeno simply ran away from Lange, out-pacing his countryman by running each kilometer 5 seconds faster. By the 21km halfway point, the lead would be 2 minutes. Lange simply could not find the gears he had in Kona, and would fade in the 2nd half of the run. Lange was eventually passed by Nilsson for 2nd place. Lange held on to 3rd to complete the podium spots.
Two-time Olympia Sarah True (USA) was the first woman out of the water in 53:09, with Ryf right at her feet, 2 seconds back.
In a bike course that is 185km, the added mileage due to unavoidable roadworks, Ryf rode a 4:40:55 bike split, a course record. What is more remarkable is that Ryf’s split was 27:29 faster than any woman on the course and was only 12 minutes and 19 seconds behind the men’s fastest split of 4:28:36 (Frodeno).
Ryf remained in total control in her run, posting a 2:58:53, good for 2nd fastest among women, but finished in 8:38:44, and a 26:34 winning margin over True. True impressed in her Ironman debut, running a women’s-best 2:54:58 marathon finishing in 2nd place. 2017 champion Sarah Crowley of Australia finished in 3rd place at 9:11:31.
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