Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - BY KEVIN MACKINNON

The Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship field of favourites is sup­posed to be set­tled by July. The con­tenders typ­i­cally hit some one of the ma­jors – more of­ten than not ei­ther the Iron­man Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship in Frank­furt or Chal­lenge Roth – and an­nounce their fit­ness and readi­ness to be up at the front in Kona a few months later. Mirinda Car­frae played the game, run­ning a 2:49 marathon and set­ting a new course record at Iron­man Aus­tria. Se­bas­tian Kienle came through, too, thanks to an im­pres­sive race in Frank­furt where he ran away from his com­pe­ti­tion af­ter push­ing them to their lim­its on the bike. Mel Hauschildt did the same in Frank­furt, show­ing that she’s fi­nally get­ting over her long string of in­juries and should ar­rive in Kona as a le­git­i­mate con­tender, too. It’s the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, though, who seem to have no in­ter­est in giv­ing us the typ­i­cal Kona build-up. Don’t get me wrong – I am not im­ply­ing that they aren’t fit and fast. Jan Fro­deno shat­tered the world-best time with his 7:35:39 in Roth. Af­ter hav­ing to pull out with hy­pother­mia in Frank­furt two weeks ear­lier, Daniela Ryf was sim­ply out­ra­geous as she set a new bike course record in Roth by 10 min­utes (that would be Chrissie Welling­ton’s course record) be­fore cruis­ing through a 2:57 marathon to post the third-fastest full-dis­tance time in his­tory. If you had seen her dance across the fin­ish line in Roth you would have been as as­sured as I was that the world record was to­tally within her grasp on that day – but thanks to or­ders from her coach Brett Sut­ton to have a “fun day of swim­ming, bik­ing and run­ning” she didn’t have ei­ther a watch to keep splits or the de­sire to push af­ter Welling­ton’s world-best time.

Since she pulled out of Frank­furt, Ryf had to val­i­date her Kona slot in Switzer­land where she set a new course record. Be­fore that race, though, Ryf made it abun­dantly clear that if things didn’t work out and she didn’t end up in Kona, she wouldn’t be up­set.

And what’s re­ally scary is that she meant it. Ac­cord­ing to Sut­ton’s blog posts, Ryf had ar­rived at his train­ing group burnt out from the sport two years ago. Now the goal is for her to re­gain her love of the sport. That’s got to be a bit eas­ier when you’re the world cham­pion over the Iron­man and the Iron­man 70.3 dis­tance, not to men­tion the win­ner of last year’s mil­lion-dol­lar triple crown. In fact, since Ryf and Fro­deno won the first leg of the triple crown this year in Dubai, they’re the only two able to go af­ter the mil­lion bucks this year.

And get this – Fro­deno came across the line in Roth and promptly

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