Ditlev Perseveres in Miami Heat

With less than 5k to go on the run, Magnus Ditlev took the lead and would go on to become the first ever T100 Tour winner. He called it a “great start” to his season but also told the post race commentators that he had “felt bad throughout the entire week training here [in Miami].”

We’ve become accustomed to seeing Ditlev attack the bike leg of each race he’s in but he took a more measured approach to today’s race. He self-reported already feeling hot during the swim and made an intentional decision to let the faster swimmers gap him. He bridged up to the front of the bike and came into T2 with three other athletes; Mathis Margirier, Alistair Brownlee, and Sam Laidlow. Ditlev was the last of the group to leave transition, seemingly content to run his own race. Brownlee would stay in first for much of the run, as Ditlev positioned himself in second. With 2:52:35 on the clock, Ditlev made the pass and did not look back. Jan Frodeno asked him after the race how he was able to keep his cool out there. Ditlev simply replied that it’s “a personal trait I was born with.” It’s hard to argue with that after watching his performance today.

The race:

The men began their racing at 1:15pm, greeted by hot and humid conditions. As if that didn’t provide enough of a challenge, wind gusts reached 25 mph and the tarmac of the race track was measured at over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Good swimmers were expected to make this race fast from the start, with a straight shot to the first swim turn ~500m out. Sam Laidlow took the race out, with a big lead pack of chasers in tow. At the Aussie exit, Aaron Royle, Rico Bogen, Alistair Brownlee, Ben Kanute, Daniel Baekkegard, Mathis Margirier, Jason West, and Youri Keulen, were all at the front. Eventual race winner, Magnus Ditlev, was twenty seconds back. Royle led out the second lap. Bogen, maybe thinking about the people who said he beat a watered down field to win 70.3 Worlds last year, took over and pushed the pace towards the end of the swim. Bogen would get into T1 first, where he was seen taking an early gel, which might have been a precursor for how difficult the conditions would make the day for the majority of this field.

Bogen got onto the bike first, with Brownlee, Margirier, Laidlow, Royle, Kanute, Baekkegard, and West, all closeby. Ditlev, Pieter Heemeryck, and Rudy Von Berg, came out together 1:15 down. Sam Long was further back, 3:30 off the lead. Margirier and Brownlee moved almost immediately to the front of the race, with 22 fast laps around the Homestead Miami race track to come. By the 40k halfway point, Margirier and Brownlee had built up a nearly 1:00 lead. The only problem? Ditlev had moved up into third, with Laidlow on his wheel. For the remainder of the bike, Ditlev would chip away at the lead until he reached the lead group.

Utilizing a quick transition, Laidlow got onto the run course first, followed by Brownlee. Margirier left in third, with Ditlev taking his time in fourth. Brownlee would quickly gap Laidlow, while Ditlev would quickly pull even with Margirier. Would the day belong to Brownlee? He looked invincible until he didn’t. Shortly after 11k, he slowed to a walk at an aid station when he had had a close to 45 second lead. By the time he got moving again and looked over his shoulder, Ditlev was only 15 seconds back. Ditlev caught Brownlee with less than 5k to go. They would run shoulder to shoulder for 90 seconds until Ditlev gapped him for good. He would go on to win in a time of 3:09:08 to become the first T100 champion. A fast closing Sam Long, with perhaps the best race of his life, took 2nd. Margirier improved upon his 4th place at the 2023 PTO US Open to round out the podium. In maybe the biggest surprise of the day, PTO #18 ranked Youri Keulen came in 4th. Brownlee managed to hold onto 5th.

Quick Take #1 – Today’s race was a big win for Race Ranger. Magnus Ditlev only pulled one (capable) athlete, Sam Laidlow, up to the front of the race with him. Several quality bikers were lapped. While the conditions certainly played a factor, the race looked like a fair one from start to finish.

Quick Take #2 – Jan Frodeno is good at commentating. He corrected another commentator who critiqued Ditlev for getting out of the saddle on the bike. Frodeno pointed out that he intentionally did this when he had a tailwind, trying to utilize other muscle groups when being out of the aero position would cost him less. Frodeno also celebrated the spirit of the triathlon community when a volunteer ran full speed to handoff water to someone on the bike, trying to better match their speed.

Quick Take #3 – Leon Chevalier crashed on the bike and hobbled into T2 with a torn up kit and blood on his chin. Instead of dropping out, he finished 13th and had the 7th fastest run. Respect.