Triathlon Magazine Canada
Zwift Tri Battle Royale
Zwift Tri Battle Royale
In the end the stats played out – going into the one-on-one race between Jan Frodeno and Lionel Sanders at the Zwift Tri Battle Royale, if you looked at the stats between the two athletes there was no way Sanders was going to best the German Olympic gold medalist and three-time Ironman world champion.
Even after Sanders set a personal best swim split of 50:58 opening leg of the race, he was still five minutes behind Frodeno, who went 45:58. Frodeno bobbled his helmet in transition, losing a few seconds, but quickly got things together and was quickly driving the pace on the bike.
Sanders would close the gap a bit through the first 40 km of the bike despite scaring his fans as he took the first of the banked turnaround corners a bit hot, but by 60 km Frodeno was starting to pull clear. By the end of the bike Frodeno’s blazing 3:55:22 was 5:04 faster than Sanders (4:00:26), both amazing rides considering the rainy conditions that made the roads extremely slick and the tempearature a bit cool for athletes riding at 45 kph.
Out on the run Frodeno quickly got into a steady-paced stride and appeared to be well on his way towards shattering his own world-best time (7:35:39) set at Challenge Roth in 2016, on a pace that would have seen him hit the finish line in 7:21. Sanders was keeping pace, too, still well back, but also on track for a super-fast, sub-7:30 finish.
As he rounded the corner at the end of the first lap of the run, though, Frodeno slipped on the wet carpet at the finish area, landing hard on his hip. He got up, but was obviously in a lot of pain. He managed to get back to pace, though, and resumed his quest for a new record.
Sanders continued to look strong through the first half of the run, but for both athletes the last half of the marathon was a struggle. Frodeno appeared to be favouring his hip, but the exhaustion of the effort was becoming clear. While he slowed, Frodeno was able to hold things together enough to improve on the world best time, going an amazing 7:27:53.
“That was so hard,” Frodeno said after the race. “I’m speechless, but I’m a broken man right now. It got quite cold on the bike. It was just amazing to do this kind of thing. Sanders would really slow over the last 10 km, but still managed to hang on for a personal-best time himself – 7:43:32. He was able to put Frodeno’s amazing performance in perspective after the race: “Jan is an amazing athlete,” Sanders said. “It wasn’t that fast conditions today, that’s the impressive part. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to go against the world’s best and your hero.”
Swim: Frodeno averaged 1:12 for the 3.8-km swim, starting the first of four laps averaging 1:13/100 m, then moving down to 1:12s for the next two laps, and finishing at 1:11/100m. Bike: Frodeno averaged 45.91 km/h for the entire bike ride. Over the five laps his fastest was the first lap, where he averaged 46.9 km/h. The next was
46.2, followed by 45.8, 45.4 and 44.7. In terms of power, Frodeno averaged
305 watts, while Sanders averaged 312 watts. Frodeno appears to be able to hold a more aero position on the bike – he averaged seven watts less and went
3:55:22 to Sanders’ 4:00:26. Run: After the blistering bike ride, Frodeno “only” had to run a 2:51 marathon to set a new record. As mentioned, he went down hard at the end of the first lap of the run, where he averaged 3:42/km. After the fall he averaged 3:48/km for the second lap, 3:55/km for the third and then 4:09/km for the final lap of the run.—KM