Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

Iworld cham­pi­onships last year, Jan Fro­deno be­came one of the most fa­mous sports per­son­al­i­ties in Ger­many. The 2008 Olympic gold medal­list was Ger­many’s ath­lete of the year in 2015, won a pres­ti­gious Lau­reas award and was in de­mand with sponsors and me­dia alike.

In Fe­bru­ary Fro­deno and wife Emma Snowsill, an­other Olympic gold medal­list, cel­e­brated the ar­rival of son Luka. (How scary is that gene pool?) Fro­deno had won the first leg of the “Triple Crown,” Ironman 70.3 Dubai, which would re­ward him with a mil­lion dol­lars if he could de­fend his 70.3 world championship and take the fi­nal leg of the se­ries in Bahrain in De­cem­ber.

Then the wheels fell off. A huge tear in his calf forced him to pull out of Ironman South Africa, where he’d planned on val­i­dat­ing his Kona slot. He had to head to Ironman Lan­zarote, where he fin­ished sec­ond to Amer­i­can Jesse Thomas, to get the Ironman qual­i­fy­ing out of the way. Fro­deno then fo­cused his ef­forts on set­ting a new world-best time for the full-dis­tance at Chal­lenge Roth. His 7:35 clock­ing did that in style, but af­ter the race Fro­deno said he was both emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally shat­tered.

He de­cided to pass on the 70.3 worlds in Mooloolaba to fo­cus on de­fend­ing his Kona ti­tle.

Which was hardly go­ing to be easy. Fro­deno has al­ways said that there’s noth­ing more chal­leng­ing than rac­ing a “mo­ti­vated Se­bas­tian Kienle.” Call­ing Kienle “mo­ti­vated” this year is a huge un­der­state­ment. The am­i­ca­ble Ger­man has been on edge for much of the year, sin­gu­larly fo­cused on get­ting the ti­tle he won in 2014 back. In Frankfurt for the Ironman Euro­pean Championship, Kienle ham­mered on the bike but was even more ag­gres­sive on the run, as if to pre­pare him­self for the chal­lenge he knew lay ahead in Kona. In Mooloolaba Kienle was frus­trated not to have been able to out­kick Tim Reed for the ti­tle. (When asked at the pre-race press con­fer­ence how he felt about the race in Mooloolaba, Kienle joked, “All I can say is that Tim Reed doesn’t want to be in a sprint with me any time soon.”) Which set us up for the dra­matic men’s race that un­folded. As we’re used to see­ing, Fro­deno was amongst the swim lead­ers, but ended up not happy with the re­sult of the swim. As he tried to drive the early pace, Harry Wilt­shire po­si­tioned him­self re­ally tightly on Fro­deno’s hip, hin­der­ing his abil­ity to fin­ish his stroke. So, in­stead of pulling away in a small group, Fro­deno found him­self com­ing third out of the wa­ter be­hind Wilt­shire and Andy Potts and with lots of

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