This past weekend, South Africa hosted the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. The professional women’s and men’s race was electrifying, with the world’s most dominate triathletes in recent years winning – Daniela Ryf and Jan Frodeno. Here’s what we learned from this year’s world championship:
- The sport needs the world’s best at one race more often. This year’s 70.3 world championship had possibly the most competitive field in history. On both the men’s and women’s side the racing was unbelievable. And yet some of the biggest names in triathlon weren’t there – Lionel Sanders, Mirinda Carfrae, Sebastian Kienle and Sarah Crowley (to name a few).
Lionel Sanders has yet to qualify for the 2019 Ironman World Championship. He was expected to race Ironman Texas, but a recent injury has pulled him off the start list.
- Daniela Ryf needs a new zipper. Ryf’s zipper malfunctioned on the bike and would cross the line trying to cover up and show her sponsors. The malfunction could have cost Ryf a minute stand down penalty if the problem was created on purpose. Thankfully, the rulebook also states that if a zipper breaks the competitor cannot be penalized.
- If Ryf wins Kona this year, is she the greatest triathlete of all-time? Honestly, you may be able to make that statement now. She’s a three-time IRONMAN world champion and now a four-time 70.3 world champion. She also has the fastest 70.3 time in the world. The only thing she doesn’t have is the Ironman distance world record.
- Anne Haug can run, and she can run fast. In South Africa, Haug out ran Ryf. On the flat 21.1K course, Haug ran a 1:15:11 – almost two whole minutes faster than Ryf.
- Lucy Charles is too nice. Again, Charles finishes second to Ryf. The young Brit has a lot of talent and will one day take over from Ryf, but will she ever beat her head-to-head on the biggest stage? There’s still Kona this year, but with Ryf’s current form and no signs of slowing down – can Charles top the Queen of Triathlon?
- Jan Frodeno’s vengeance tour after Kona continues. After Frodeno’s walk in Kona last year, he’s been going to the biggest races with one objective – take down the best in the world.
- Has Frodeno prioritized vengeance over Kona? Has Frodeno peaked too early?
- Gomez could more than just challenged for this year’s Kona title. In his debut Ironman, he battled with Braden Currie for a second-place finishing. Since then, he’s won a few Challenge Family and 70.3 races. And last weekend he gave Frodeno a run for his money at the 70.3 world championship. On social media, he’s been logging some impressive miles in his build-up for Kona. Has he timed his peak perfectly?
- The split format – women on Saturday and men on Sunday works beautifully. This format is awesome. It gives full coverage to men and women equally and decreases the numbers of participants on the roads – prioritizing safety and athlete care. The format was first adopted at 70.3 worlds in 2017 and has seen great success since. Will a similar format ever be adopted at Kona? It seems unlikely.
- The 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona on October 14th is going to be entertaining.