All aboard Frodo express
THE Jan Frodeno juggernaut is at full speed and there are doubts anyone has the ability to keep pace.
Returning to Noosa last week after a scorching effort which delivered the 70.3 World Championship at South Africa, the world’s best were left in his wake.
In the process Frodeno stamped himself as the firm favourite to regain his Ironman World Championship crown with a performance which saw him systematically dismantle his opposition.
Sunday’s 21km run, 1.9km swim and 90km ride saw the German-born triathlete set new standards in long-course racing while simultaneously breaking two of the quickest of all time – dual gold-medallist Alistair Brownlee and five-time ITU world champion Javier Gomez Noya.
Frodeno went head-to-head with both and proved triumphant with an unyielding run.
While Frodeno led from transition onto the run, Brownlee surged past Frodeno early. But the effort took its toll and the German returned to the front as Brownlee dropped back.
Gomez kept pace and moved into third place with the fastest kilometre split – an average 3:03 minutes per kilometre. After catching Frodeno the pair were inseparable, neither willing to give an inch.
The 10km journey saw Gomez post 31min 24sec, while Frodeno was just 14 seconds slower.
But the pace took its toll when Gomez started to suffer cramps and Frodeno turned the screws with about 6km to travel, looking fluent and unflappable.
“One minute Javier was breathing down my neck, the next minute he was gone but I didn’t realise he was gone,” he said.
“I was running for my life breathing so hard I didn’t hear anything myself.”
It was always going to be a foot race. Frodeno had watts up his sleeve, sitting up on several occasions during the bike leg with other athletes unwilling to work at the front.
“I was a little bit angry because Alistair and I did all the work all day on the bike and tried to break away, tried to do anything and nobody came,” Frodeno said.
“Ben Kanute came around once, but then I really wanted to hold the flag high in a foot race, which I knew was tough, but somehow today I just had my running legs.”
After Gomez suffered cramps, Brownlee pushed his way into second.
Brownlee had previously been unbeaten over the 70.3 distance, and will ultimately improve once making the step up to Ironman (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run) racing.
“Obviously I want to win, but I gave it everything today and I’m happy with that,” Brownlee said post race.
“To be honest, I’ve had a tough year this year with injuries and a few things and just not been myself. So basically the last three or four weeks is the only training I’ve done really.”
The performance not only provided Frodeno with his second 70.3 world crown, he won previously in 2015, but would have also sent shockwaves through the camps of Ironman title contender Lionel Sanders and reigning champion Patrick Lange.
During July, he easily accounted for Lange at Ironman European Championship Frankfurt. It was a carbon copy of the performance from March where Frodeno beat Lange by six minutes at the Kraichgau 70.3.
While Sanders claimed victory at 70.3 Mont-Tremblant during June, he struggled at July’s Ironman Mont-Tremblant despite claiming second after having nutrition issues following dietary issues.
Frodeno will resume training at Noosa, where Kiwis Braden Currie, Callum Millward and Cameron Brown as well as Aussie Nick Kastelein are also preparing for the Hawaii Ironman.
SPEED MACHINE: Noosa's Jan Frodeno claims victory after a stellar run leg at the 70.3 World Championship at South Africa.