Jan Frodeno after checking in his bike for the final time.
It's the final countdown, folks. We're less than 24 hours away from IRONMAN crowning the second male world champion ever to win that title outside of Hawaii. Here's our last minute news and notes as we head into race day.
Center Line Rule Takes Center Stage
In light of Lionel Sanders' controversial disqualification at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships (and the broadcast showing an unpenalized Kristian Blummenfelt also crossing over the center line of the road), IRONMAN has clarified the rule and covered how it will handle violations during professional briefing.
First, IRONMAN has laid clear that the centerline rule is in effect regardless of road markings -- the center of the road is the limit, whether there is paint there or not. But critically, it has also made clear that it is within the referee's discretion to determine whether or not an athlete has gone over the centerline for the purposes of safety, to gain an advantage, or has gone over the line and put themselves, another athlete, race staff, or the general public in danger.
In instances of the athlete needing to keep himself or others safe by crossing the centerline, there's no penalty. If an athlete crosses the center for an advantage, they'll receive a blue card (one minute) penalty. If the referee determines that the move falls into the dangerous category, a one minute penalty will be issued; the athlete will then be reported to the Head Referee, who will make the final determination as to whether a disqualification should be issued. Also of note -- these penalties are appealable, but only if athletes serve the penalty in the tent.
This is relatively common-sense, but, because there is referee discretion in play, may wind up creating more of a talking point than desired -- especially if a favorite athlete is penalized during the critical descents on course.
Speaking of Safety
Access to the professional field has been limited in order to reduce total motorcycle volume on course. This is particularly true for the out-and-back section of the bike course that starts roughly 85 kilometers in. It's also something that will be actively monitored during the big descents at kilometer 119 and from 140 onward. This is, of course, partially a response to the horrific Hamburg crash involving a media credentialed motorcycle. However, it is also something that the professionals have asked for in order to reduce the impact of moto drafting.
The Most Fashionable Man in Triathlon
Marathon Meltdown Incoming?
The talk of the town this morning was the run course. The four-loop tour of the Promenade des Anglais is as shadeless as running in the Energy Lab in Kona. And with temperatures expecting to reach the mid to upper 80s along with high humidity, it could make for even more spectacular implosions than we're used to, given just how difficult the bike course is and how flat, and anticipated to be fast, the run is supposed to be.
Anything is, in fact, possible.
IRONMAN will begin broadcasting at 5 AM CEST / 11 PM Eastern. But that's for a nearly two hour long pre-show. Racing does not begin until 6:50 AM CEST / 12:50 AM Eastern. Coverage will be streamed via YouTube, and can be found either on IRONMAN's website or YouTube directly.
All Photos: Donald Miralle for IRONMAN