Patrick Nilsson: A Swedish Dark Horse in Frankfurt

Wednesday 05 July 2017
For many people, Patrik Nilsson is one of the rising stars in the European IRONMAN sphere. The 25-year-old Swede celebrated a sensational victory at IRONMAN Copenhagen last year, taking the win in 7:49:18. Although Nilsson seems to be a new name, he is on the winning track. From 2014 on he won one IRONMAN every year. He will be heading into this weekend's IRONMAN European Championship for the first time this year as much more than a dark horse.

IRONMAN.com: It’s your first time at the IRONMAN European Championship, your first big race in Germany. What are your expectations for July 9th?

Patrick Nilsson: This will actually be my first race in Germany and I do have some high expectations for the race, organisation, and the atmosphere around it. I think it will be a race to remember thanks to the atmosphere in Frankfurt and the race itself.

IM: Many people seemed to be surprised last August when you smashed the course record in Copenhagen in thrilling fashion: 7:49:18 hours, one of the best IRONMAN finish times ever. Was the outcome of the race a surprise to you, too?

PN: I knew I was in good shape and ready for the race. But physically and mentally, to finish under 8 hours is always special. My goal for the race was to focus on myself. A lot of different things happened earlier in the season that took focus, so my biggest goal was to focus on myself and feel good. I had a good pace on the swim and bike, followed by a steady run and an outcome that was very fast. 

Having a child has just given some extra spice to life.

IM: You won at least one IRONMAN every year since your inaugural event at IRONMAN Malaysia back in 2014. Where do you want to win this year?

PN: I would love to win in Frankfurt or Kona, but I think that will require something more than the performance in Copenhagen last year. I have, together with my coach, also agreed to put more focus toward the end of the season. So I hope it will be possible to get a top finish there.

IM: Congratulations, you have recently become a father. How did life and training change for you in the past weeks?

PN: Thanks! It has been a wonderful and great change in life, but for sure a thing that takes some extra focus in the start. I have been able to do the work needed to perform at the level I want and having a child has just given some extra spice to life. Thanks to my girlfriend, I am able to sleep through the night and focus on recovery and sleep. So for the moment, it's going really well! Just as having a baby takes energy, it also gives a lot of energy and motivation back.

IM: You planned to fight for the title at the IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship in Elsinore three weeks out of the race in Frankfurt. Due to a puncture after 40 kilometers on the bike you had to drop out. Is that DNF an extra motivation for Frankfurt?

PN: That was a really quick and irritating end of the race. But like you say, it gives a lot of motivation for Frankfurt! Both motivation in itself that I want to perform for myself, my family, coach, and BMC-Etixx pro triathlon team powered by Uplace, but also motivation to qualify for Kona. (I want to get the points I need after Frankfurt, so a 6th place is what that requires).

IM: In the past years, everyone talked about the battle between Jan Frodeno and Sebastian Kienle in Frankfurt. The situation is different this year. What are your tactics? Are you planning to jump on a German bike train to fight for the title?

PN: That's a question for me and my coach, Teresa from Uperform.dk. But it's a hard and an interesting question, too. I think my main goal for the race will be to feel good, enjoy racing, and do everything I can to perform at a top level. I want that top-six place for Kona, so that's for sure a goal, but like most professional athletes, I think my focus is a bit higher—perhaps crossing the finish line first.
by Volker Boch ironman.com


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