Jan Frodeno Wins Second IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Title

Sunday 02 September 2018
Jan Frodeno, the 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, reclaimed the crown from defending champion Javier Gomez of Spain and dominated a deep field of world-class talent at the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Frodeno, who grew up in South Africa, set the pace at the front of the 1.2-mile swim (21:52), worked with Alistair Brownlee to stay at the pointy end of the 56-mile ride (2:28:04), then ran a blistering 13.1 miles (1:06:33) to secure the victory in 3:36:30.      

The action kicked off at 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning under a light sprinkle at Kings Beach. By 200 meters into the swim, a pack of eight led by American Ben Kanute and including race favorites Frodeno, Sam Appleton, Brownlee and Gomez, had formed a front group. Kanute and Frodeno swam shoulder to shoulder, controlling the swim pace. Heading back into shore, Kanute caught a wave, gaining a slight edge over Frodeno and was first out of water in 21:52. Right on his heels, though, were Frodeno, Gomez, Kiwi Braden Currie and Brownlee.

Kanute was first out of T1 and onto the bike course, with Frodeno, Gomez and Brownlee just seconds behind him. "Cat and Mouse" was the name of the five-man game, with Kanute, Brownlee and Frodeno all rotating turns at the front, and Gomez and Appleton hanging close behind. Brownlee pushed his way to the front early on, with Kanute and Frodeno matching the pace. The trio shuffled order through much of the ride, with Brownlee throwing in surges on the climbs but never able to shake his closest chasers. Heading back towards town, the front group order shifted yet again, with Appleton surging to the front for the first time with about 10K to go. Gomez was content hanging back a bit in fifth position. Nearing T2, the gap between the leaders and the next group, which included Currie and Ryan Fisher of Australia, was nearly four minutes, and more than six minutes to the riders behind them.

Appleton was the first man into transition—he and Frodeno both clocked a 2:28:04 bike split—but Frodeno was first onto the run course. A hard-charging Brownlee closed the gap to the front within minutes of the run, overtaking Frodeno, but his lead was short lived. Gomez, who also came flying out of transition, ran up to leader Frodeno's shoulder and settled into second position. By 10K, Frodeno and Gomez had opened up a 30-second gap over Brownlee, with Kanute 2:18 back in fourth and Appleton trailing the leaders by 2:31 in fifth position. Frodeno made his move with just a few miles to go, and shortly after, Gomez began to slow, grabbing at a side stitch. Brownlee pounced, taking second position. Frodeno was alone for the rest of the run, recording a 1:06:33 half marathon en route to the win (3:36:30). Brownlee finished about a minute later in 3:37:41, and Gomez held on for third in 3:38:26.

"I'm very happy, what a special day," said Frodeno post-race. "To come here is special, and to perform in front of a home crowd is just epic. To be world champion is surreal. I was a little angry because Alistair and I did all the work on the bike. Somehow today I just had my running legs. I didn’t start celebrating until the last turn—I was just running for my life."

1 Jan FRODENO (#3) 03:36:30 Germany 
2 Alistair BROWNLEE (#26) 03:37:41 +01:10 United Kingdom 
3 Javier GOMEZ NOYA (#1) 03:38:26 +01:55 Spain 
4 Ben KANUTE (#7) 03:42:43 +06:12 United States 
5 Pieter HEEMERYCK (#16) 03:43:05 +06:34 Belgium 
6 Sam APPLETON (#2) 03:43:57 +07:26 Australia 
7 Adam BOWDEN (#22) 03:48:16 +11:46 United Kingdom 
8 Braden CURRIE (#11) 03:49:16 +12:46 New Zealand 
9 Michael WEISS (#6) 03:50:38 +14:07 Austria 
10 Rodolphe VON BERG (#4) 03:51:35 +15:04 United States
by Julia Polloreno IRONMAN (Photo: Donald Miralle/Getty)


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