Frodeno’s Frightening Potential
BY KEVIN MACKINNON
From Olympic gold to Kona contender. We map the German athlete’s successes as he moves from the ITU circuit to long distance racing.
FOR THE FIRST time in years we get to talk about some Canadians who could be in the mix to take the win on the Big Island in October – check out our sidebar highlighting Jeff Symonds, Brent Mcmahon and Lionel Sanders. That said, we’re not going to count out the likes of defending champion Sebastian Kienle, Frederick Van Lierde or the man we featured in this issue, Jan Frodeno, not to mention a number of other men who will roll into Kona fully expecting to contend for the title.
In all but a couple of the men’s races over the last two decades the winner of the race has finished in the top three the year before. That means, based on paper, you have to look for Kienle, Frodeno (third) and American Ben Hoffman to be amongst the favourites. Kienle found himself well behind his countryman, Frodeno, in Frankfurt earlier this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be fitter and faster in October. Hoffman has had a very quiet year so far, which also doesn’t mean he won’t be a factor in Kona – focusing his energy on that one big day might make the difference in 2015.
Frederick Van Lierde, the 2013 champ, suffered some uncharacteristic stomach issues as he tried to defend his title last year. He raced back to form with a vengeance at Ironman South Africa in March, making a clear statement that he intends to be in the hunt for another Kona win. His countryman Marino Vanhoenacker led the race a few years ago until the 16-mile point of the marathon before dramatically flaming out. He took the South American championship in Brazil in May, easily handling Mcmahon and the rest of the field, and proving to himself and the rest of the world that he really can race in the heat and humidity.
Speaking of heat and humidity, a couple of American men who won scorching hot Ironman races this year could feature prominently in the race for the podium in Kona this year: Andy Potts, who won Ironman Coeur d’alene, and Matt Hanson, who took the North American Championship event in Texas in May.
There are lots more men we could mention here – Tim O’donnell has been patiently waiting for his chance to shine in Kona, for example – but we’ll end our prognostications with one patriotic thought: we have reason to believe that our Canadian men’s crew racing in Kona can compete with all of these guys. It’s going to be a great Ironman World Championship, just like it always is.
Sebastian Kienle wins the 2014 Ironman World Championship in Kona OPPOSITE Mirinda Carfrae wins the 2014 Ironman World Championship in Kona