Jan Frodeno scored another win against top competition to regain his form as the Old King of the 70.3s, and middle distance newcomer Anne Haug seized claim to the title of New Queen of the half Ironman with decisive wins at Oceanside 70.3.
Coming back from a disappointing race at Kona and a flat tire DNF at Oceanside last year, Frodeno led wire-to-wire with race-best swim, bike and run splits that propelled him to a race record 3:45:05 finish. That gave him a 3:51 margin of victory over defending Oceanside 70.3 winner Lionel Sanders of Canada and 8:03 over 3rd place finisher Tim Reed of Australia.
While Frodeno was never threatened in this highly anticipated showdown with Sanders, the Canadian acquitted himself with honor, finishing with a personal Oceanside PR of 3:48:56.
Frodeno admitted that his Oceanside battle with Sanders, the 2017 second place finisher at Kona, was important step back. “I decided I was going to do this race probably the day after Kona.," sai FRodeno. Last year. I knew Lionel was going to be here. Then I decided to go to Frankfurt because I knew [2017 Kona winner] Patrick [Lange] would be there. Then I wanted to race where [2014 Kona winner] Sebastian [Kienle} is from. Just wanted to do a tour of races to meet Kona favorites. I wanted to subject myself back to some pressure. It’s something I was lacking the last couple of years. I was getting myself physically ready but not mentally ready.”
Sanders was equally aware of the significance this race held for Frodeno – at age 37. “I knew after his Kona performance he would not come here unless he was looking for vengeance," said Sanders. "I knew that his entire season will be for vengeance. I figured that would be the case and experienced it here today. So now we can all go back to our training rooms, and train in fear for the next six months leading into Kona.”
Sanders said he broke his own Oceanside PR, but could not be satisfied: “I am a competitor. I don’t like second place. If you don’t win all places are bad.”
Tim Reed said that he was not ready to lay it all on the line so early in the season. “I have to find another 20-30 watts to match Jan and Lionel them on the bike. I have ridden that before. I just have never run well after that. When Lionel came past me. I wondered: 'Do I go with him and risk my whole race and finishing 10th? I don’t know. Maybe I made the wrong call. Maybe I’ve just got to take the risk next time.”
Coming off big wins at Dubai 70.3 and Lanzarote 70.3 as well as a 2nd place at Bahrain 70.3, former top WTS contender and Olympian Anne Haug of Germany slayed a strong field at Oceanside. Haug emerged from the swim with a 2:32 deficit to swim leader Sarah True of the U.S. and 2:28 to 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Champion Holly Lawrence of Great Britain.
Haug fought back with a race-best 2:24:14 bike split that shaved 1:15 from Lawrence’s lead as True fell from contention with a 2:32:29 bike split. Haug then blitzed past Lawrence at mile 4 of the run on her way to a women’s-best 1:16:24 half marathon. Haug finished in 4:12:03 which gave her a 4:23 margin of victory over Lawrence (1:22:35 run) and 9:50 over 3rd place finisher True.
Haug was shivering and wrapped in a Mylar blanket after her victory, torn between happy disbelief at her winning streak at the beginning of her campaign at the new distance and the simplicity of a cold core.
"I was really cold in the water (58 degrees Fahrenheit]and I missed the front pack,” said Haug. “I was freezing and my legs were still frozen through the whole bike course. I felt like crying. I had to work really hard and didn’t warm up until the run.”
Holly Lawrence was ambivalent about her performance and her failure to defend her Oceanside title. “My bike was a bit slower than last year,” she said. “I don’t think I biked smart this year. I haven’t been time trialing that much. And I think I overcompensated a little bit. In the first half hour and dug a bit too deep and paid the price for that. But I still hit good power numbers And I ran well [1:22:35 third best] It was a win for Anne on the run. And she showed she can bike as well. So I’m going to have to put in a helluva lot more time on the bike.”
True was satisfied with a podium, but sees a lot of work ahead needed to improve her bike performance. “I am happy to start out the season with a podium finish,” she said. “I had a good swim [1st – 23:59] and an OK run[1:21:06 2nd]. But I really need to go back and evaluate what happened on the bike [2:32:29 – 5th best and 8 minutes slower than Haug]. That is not going to cut it at this level. So, onwards.”
April 7, 2018
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Jan Frodeno (GER) 3:45:05 S 22:20 T1 2:37 B 2:08:27 T2 1:11 R 1:10:31
2. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:48:56 S 24:35 T1 2:31 B 2:08:48 T2 1:20 R 1:11:46
3. Tim Reed (AUS) 3:53:08 S 23:43 T1 2:40 B 2:13:03 T2 135 R 1:12:09
4. Eric Lagerstrom (USA) 3:54:11 S 22:24 T1 2:37 B 2:14:26 T2 1:38 R 1:13:09
5. Rodolphe Von Berg (USA)3:56:48 S 23:45 T1 2:31 B 2:12:12 T2 1:15R 1:17:07
6. Jesse Thomas (USA) 3:58:00
7. Alex Libin (USA) 4:00:39
8. Kennett Peterson (USA) 4:01:52
9. Scott Defilippis (USA) 4:03:34
10. Nicholas Granet (FRA) 44:07
1. Anne Haug (GER) 4:12:03 S 26:31 T1 3:10 B 2:24:14 T2 1:45 R 1:16:24
2. Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:16:26 S 24:03 T1 2:32 B 2:25:29 T2 1:50 R 1:22:35
3. Sarah True (USA) 4:21:53 S 23:59 T1 2:39 B 2:32:29 T2 1:43 R 121:06
4. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:23:53 S 27:28 T1 2:52 B 2:26:36 T2 1:42 R 1:25:16
5. Jeanni Seymour (RSA) 4:28:25 S 25:01 T1 2:2 B 2:31:07 T2 1:39 R 1:27:37
6. Paula Findlay (CAN) 4:29:22
7. Jennifer Spieldenner (USA) 4:31:45
8. Kelsey Withrow (USA) 4:32:05
9. Skye Moench (USA) 4:35:31
10. Minna Koistinen (FIN) 4:38:14