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Triathlon

Strong German triathlon battle as Jan Frodeno wins Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii

The IRON of Ironmans, Jan Frodeno wins the Ironman World Championship title alongside Sebastian Kienle and Patrick Lange on an all-German podium.  (Ironman.com)
The IRON of Ironmans, Jan Frodeno wins the Ironman World Championship title alongside Sebastian Kienle and Patrick Lange on an all-German podium. (Ironman.com)

It was a battle of the strongest Iron among the Ironman triathletes at the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii with a suite of strong Germans paving the way to the podium.

Germany’s Jan Frodeno won the Ironman World Champion title in 8:06:30 and became the first male to successfully defend the IRONMAN World Championship title since Craig Alexander in 2009.

In second, 2014 world champion Sebastian Kienle, also from Germany, raced with grit; Patrick Lange rounded out the German podium celebration in a memorable Kona debut. On top of swimming 3.8km in 48mins 02secs, cycling 180km in 4hr 29mins, Frodeno ran a blistering 42km in 2hr 45mins 34secs marathon, in which mere mortals find it hard to achieve.

Even professional triathletes run into problems during a crucial race. (Ironman.com)
Even professional triathletes run into problems during a crucial race. (Ironman.com)

Due to the world-class field that descends here every year, a large lead group exited the swim in Kailua Bay together. Harry Wiltshire (GBR) was first to scramble up the steps to the pier in 48:00, with 12 more athletes behind him including Frodeno, Andy Potts (USA), Marko Albert (EST), Paul Matthews (AUS), Denis Chevrot (FRA), Brent McMahon (CAN), David McMamee (GBR), Igor Amorelli (BRA), Andi Boecherer (GER), Tim O’Donnell (USA) and Tim Don (GBR). A second group, 30 seconds back, included other top men Terenzo Bozzone (NZL), Andreas Raelert (GER), Frederik Van Lierde (BEL), Ben Hoffman (USA) and Timothy Van Berkel (AUS). Kienle was 38th out of the water (52:27), which gave him an obtainable 4:27 deficit to make up.

Michael Weiss (AUT) and Lionel Sanders (CAN) made some of the boldest moves across the 112 miles of lava, wind, and heat that athletes are treated to along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. But it was not an easy day; Van Lierde, Raelert, McMahon and Patrick Lange would all go on to serve penalties that it would be hard to bounce back from. Just before the climb to Hawi that tends to separate the fields here in Hawaii, Weiss was riding out front with Potts, Boecherer, Frodeno, O’Donnell, and Kienle, who clawed his way up. German Boris Stein made his impression on the race here as well.

Standing tall and racing hard, Jan Frodeno retains the Ironman World Championship title. (Ironman.com)
Standing tall and racing hard, Jan Frodeno retains the Ironman World Championship title. (Ironman.com)

After Hawi, Kienle rode into first with Boecherer, Weiss, O’Donnell, McKenzie, Potts, Frodeno, Hoffman, Van Berkel and Stein chasing. The leader changed several times on the way back to town but it was Frodeno who coasted dramatically into T2 in front of thousands of fans and spectators.

Kienle came in at 4 seconds back, with McKenzie, Hoffman, O’Donnell, and Stein next in line. The rest of the field would follow more than 3 minutes back. It was shaping up to be the battle everyone was hoping for: Frodeno and Kienle.

The highly anticipated battle between Sebastian Kiele and Jan Frodeno on the run. (Ironman.com)
The highly anticipated battle between Sebastian Kiele and Jan Frodeno on the run. (Ironman.com)

The two Germans did not disappoint over the first few miles of the marathon through the streets of Kailua-Kona. As the two men ran side-by-side, spectators even caught wind of chatter. It wasn’t until the halfway point of the run that Frodeno began to pull away. Heading into the Energy Lab at mile 16, Frodeno led Kienle by over 2 minutes. Hoffman, Boecherer, and O’Donnell were all more than 6 minutes back at this point. Meanwhile, Lange continued to steadily work his way through the field.

Frodeno’s 2:45:34 marathon led him across the sacred Ali’i Drive finish line in 8:06:30. Kienle ran a 2:49:03 to finish in third in a time of 8:10:02, while Lange used a 2:39:45 run to come from 23rd off of the bike into third. In doing so, he also broke the run course record set by Mark Allen in 1989. With Andreas Boecherer in fourth, American Ben Hoffman was the only upset to a total German sweep reminiscent of earlier days in the sport.

“I can’t remember when I last suffered so much,” Frodeno told the crowds after the race.

Jan Frodeno runs into the finishing line as the crowd roars at Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. (Ironman.com)
Jan Frodeno runs into the finishing line as the crowd roars at Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. (Ironman.com)

“Jan is apparently the strongest, and that’s just another motivation for me to push the training. I’m pretty close—not exactly where I want to be, but I have to be happy with it,” Kienle said of his compatriot and closest competition.

Top 10 Pro Men

1 Frodeno, Jan DEU 0:48:02 4:29:00 2:45:34 8:06:30
2 Kienle, Sebastian DEU 0:52:27 4:23:55 2:49:03 8:10:02
3 Lange, Patrick DEU 0:48:57 4:37:49 2:39:45 8:11:14
4 Hoffman, Ben USA 0:48:55 4:28:06 2:51:45 8:13:00
5 Boecherer, Andi AFG 0:48:10 4:28:07 2:52:05 8:13:25
6 O’Donnell, Tim USA 0:48:12 4:29:10 2:55:01 8:16:20
7 Stein, Boris DEU 0:54:10 4:23:04 2:55:19 8:16:56
8 Aernouts, Bart BEL 0:53:58 4:32:37 2:48:44 8:20:30
9 Rana, Ivan ESP 0:48:52 4:38:13 2:50:17 8:21:51
10 Van Lierde, Frederik BEL 0:48:49 4:35:33 2:53:21 8:21:59

Read more on Ironman.com.