Jan Frodeno crushed the bike and the course record at the Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt, Germany with a 4:08:44 bike split and a 7:49:48 total. Daniela Ryf also put on a dominating course record performance with a 8:51:00 - eclipsing the 8:51:04 by Chrissie Wellington in 2008.
In what turned out to be a non-wetsuit day, Jan Frodeno was first out of the water in 46:02 and quickly onto the bike on a very hot day in Frankfurt. Andi Böcherer, David Dellow, Eneko Llanos, Tyler Butterfield and Frederik van Lierde all lost about 50 seconds to Frodeno. Kienle needed 4:01 more for the swim and then set off in hot pursuit of the Olympic champion.
Early on, the 2014 Ironman World Champion rode fast and so did Andreas Böcherer, but apparently Frodeno had something left towards the end. Frodeno arrived in T2 with a course record 4:08:44 bike split and an almost 7 minute lead on Kienle who reached T2 next with a 4:11:07. Böcherer was right behind him with a 4:14:05 effort on the bike.
Frodeno then added to his advantage during the run and closed out his day with a 2:50:46 marathon and a course record 7:49:48 overall time - particularly impressive on such a hot day. Kienle held on to second place in 8:01:39 with a 2:56:44 run and Böcherer made it a perfect German podium sweep with a 2:58:14 run and a 8:03:49 total time.
“I didn't quite realize how fast I was riding, and that was probably partly responsible for the suffering,” said Frodeno.
“I just did all I could. I felt like Icarus, with his wings coated in wax, flying too close to the sun,” said runner-up Sebastian Kienle. “On a day where Jan had such a great performance, I just wasn't allowed to have any weaknesses.”
Böcherer said that he was happy with his race. He tried hard to catch Kienle and enjoyed being the hunter more than being hunted.
Caroline Steffen led the women out of the water with Michelle Vesterby, Daniela Ryf and Julia Gajer not far behind, but Steffen was struck by misfortune and had a mechanical issue early on during the bike segment. Ryf had already tumbled in T1, with a rash on her knee to show for it.
The mechanical issue did not stop Steffen for long and she was soon back in the lead on the bike, together with Ryf and Gajer. But Ryf pulled away from the other two with about 60k to go and was not to be seen again. Gajer then pulled away from Steffen. By the time Ryf reached T2 she recorded a race best 4:47:51, 7:38 up on Gajer. Steffen reached T2 next but she was about 10 minutes out of the lead.
Ryf ran in complete control during the closing marathon with a solid 3:06:06 time, giving her the new course record time of 8:51:00 and 1st place overall. Gajer was next in 9:01:58 and Steffen held on to third place in 9:11:55. Fastest run was by Kristin Möller who ran 3:01:14 on the way 6th place.
Ryf saw this race as a great heat test for Kona and used it to dial in her nutrition.
“I had a lot of respect. For me to have a win and such a good performance makes me happy and also really confident for Kona. I've worked on my nutrition a lot. Today was my fourth Ironman and I finally felt like I finally got everything sorted. I'm really happy with today,” said the race champion and new course record holder Ryf.
As for the course record, Ryf said she had the Wellington number in the back of her mind but it was not her focus.
“I can't believe it. What a day. I didn't think it was possible to finish second here. On the run everyone was shouting my name - it was goose bumps, just goose bumps,” said runner-up Julia Gajer. “I knew that I've improved on the bike a lot but I didn't expect to ride with Daniela the first whole loop. I'm really happy because normally I lose a lot of time on the bike. Kona is my next big goal.”
Steffen was unhappy with her effort on the bike and her performance during the race in general, but she also said that the heat was not as much of a factor as she expected.
2015 Ironman European Championships
Frankfurt, Germany / July 5, 2015
1. Jan Frodeno (GER) 7:49:48 *
2. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 8:01:39
3. Andi Böcherer (GER) 8:03:49
4. Bas Diederen (NED) 8:05:36
5. Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 8:07:09
6. Andreas Raelert (GER) 8:09:53
7. Tyler Butterfield (BER) 8:26:25
8. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 8:29:04
9. Miquel Blanchart (ESP) 8:32:28
10. Marko Albert (EST) 8:38:40
1. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 8:51:00 *
2. Julia Gajer (GER) 9:01:58
3. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 9:11:55
4. Sonja Tajsich (GER) 9:19:29
5. Ruth Brennan Morrey (USA) 9:21:09
6. Kristin Möller (GER) 9:23:56
7. Tine Deckers (BEL) 9:28:20
8. Astrid Stienen (GER) 9:36:03
9. Tine Holst (DEN) 9:54:30
10. Katharina Grohmann (GER) 9:55:08
This feature will be updated as more pics, details and quotes come in. And remember patience is a virtue.
* Frankfurt course records.