Sunday 18th July 2021
Best time despite continuous rain
Frodeno crushes his own triathlon record
At almost 40 years of age, Jan Frodeno is still one of the world’s top triathlons – or better said: he’s the top of the world. With a fabulous time he sets a new world record and despite the adverse conditions.
Jan Frodeno staggered and dropped to the floor, he put his hands over his face and couldn’t believe it himself. With thunderous applause and the loud tinkling of cowbells, he stretched his arms up to the sky with the last of his strength. With a terrific performance, the triathlon superstar pulverized his own world record of 3.8 kilometers of swimming, 180.2 kilometers of cycling and 42.2 kilometers of running and pushed the boundaries of his sport anew. “What a day! I’m so happy, even though I’m so exhausted,” said Frodeno and first called for a chair to sit on. Despite a moment of shock, he completed the distance in the Allgäu with a fall on the running track and “failed changes” in 7:27:53 hours. In the duel with Lionel Sanders, he was the first person to stay under seven and a half hours over this distance and undercut his previous world best five years ago and one day in Roth by more than seven minutes (7:35:39).
“I’m somehow still speechless myself,” said the three-time Ironman world champion, who also holds the course record at the classic in Hawaii. The Canadian Sanders could not keep up with the rapid pace that Frodeno set from the start. In the spectacular “Tri Battle Royale” he only crossed the finish line over a quarter of an hour after Frodeno in the still world-class time of 7:43:32 hours. “This is something that I will not forget for a lifetime,” he said despite the residue and, completely exhausted, barefoot and wearing a bathrobe, dragged himself into the changing room at the finish in Burgberg.
One month before his 40th birthday, Frodeno demanded everything from himself in his relentless hunt for records. The conditions could hardly have been more difficult, regardless of the specially selected super-fast route. Temperatures well below 20 degrees, plus hours of precipitation. “That wasn’t Frodeno weather,” he said. It was almost only dry when warmth lovers Frodeno and Sanders made their way to the swim start in the Großer Alpsee. A boat went out onto a pontoon. “I’m super nervous, it’s surreal that this is happening now,” said Frodeno before the race. The two duelists had no time for the impressive panorama. With the starting shot, the wild hunt for the fastest time that Frodeno had set on July 17th, 2016 began.
As expected, he immediately escaped the Canadian opponent in the water. Four laps had to be swum, the buoys were placed in such a way that both came around the curves as quickly as possible, and a line was stretched one meter under water for better orientation. Frodeno needed 45:58 minutes. It was 45:22 minutes in Roth. Sanders got out of the Alpsee five minutes after Frodeno. Everything was perfectly prepared for the first change, in the morning Frodeno and Sanders had parked their high-tech bikes in the specially made boxes on a small podium.
A route like under laboratory conditions
And then that: Frodeno’s helmet slipped out of his hands, the visor flew in a high arc through the air. Frodeno briefly raised his arms in disbelief before he hurriedly packed everything up and got on his bike. Less than four hours for the 180.2 kilometer long bike course – that was the goal. A stretch like under laboratory conditions: almost straight ahead on a cordoned-off federal road. Five laps and a spectacular banked curve accelerated the turns. With a good 300 watts of power, Frodeno raced through the meanwhile heavy rain. Frodeno’s time on the bike: 3:55:22 hours. He was clearly on course for the fastest time in the world, but again the change took a while because he pulled a pad out of his racing suit.
Then it started, off to the marathon, the rain got heavier again. Frodeno but not weaker, with a heart rate of sometimes even less than 140 beats and per minute and at up to 15 kilometers per hour he hammered over the 10.55 kilometer long circuit. The spectators caught their breath in the finish area when Frodeno slipped on the soaking wet carpet there after his first lap. In the Spanish adopted home, the children were already worried about the promised toys, reported Frodenos from the sunny Girona-connected wife Emma. Frodeno himself was able to take it with humor at the finish, after the cool temperatures on the bike had bothered him: “For the first time my back didn’t hurt anymore, but my hip.”