With a stacked program that includes world champions and Olympic gold medalists galore including Jan Frodeno, Daniela Ryf, Alistair Brownlee, Javier Gomez, Vincent Luis and Vicky Holland, the Bahrain Endurance 13 Team has added another big name – 2019 ITU Grand Final champ Kristian Blummenfelt.
Blummenfelt had been announced as part of the team last year, but issues with the Norwegian federation put that on hold. It would appear those issues have been resolved now.
“I’m very excited to be joining Bahrain Endurance 13 alongside so many world and Olympic champions,” Blummenfelt said. “Bahrain is a special place to me having won three Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championships and breaking the world record twice.”
Blummenfelt joins a number of team members who could be gunning for the podium in Tokyo. Last year’s ITU world champion, Vincent Luis, has already been named to the French team, while Olympic bronze medalist and 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series world champion Vicky Holland is a good bet to be representing Great Britain in Tokyo. There’s also Australian Ashleigh Gentle and American Ben Kanute, who are both hoping for return trips to the Olympics after racing in Rio.
Two of the most decorated Olympic-distance races we’ve ever seen, Alistair Brownlee and Javier Gomez, are both gunning after more Olympic hardware, but have also earned their Kona slots for October, too, thanks to fall marathon wins.
Lauren Parker will also look to take the win at the Paralympics and defend her world paratriathlon series championship title. She’s also looking to race at the Ironman World Championship and the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
With the 70.3 worlds taking place in Taupo, New Zealand in November, a number of Olympic athletes have raced 70.3 races already to earn a qualifying spot so they can focus on Tokyo, then turn their sites to longer racing later in the year. That includes Bahrain Endurance 13 members Blummenfelt, Kanute and Gentle.
2016 Ironman 70.3 world champion Holly Lawrence will once again be focused on Taupo and trying to repeat her impressive wins at all four regional 70.3 championships last year. She’s also set to compete in her first Ironman race – she’s looking to debut at Ironman St. George in early May.
“I will be throwing in an Ironman at St. George because it’s going to be the North American championship,” Lawrence said. “Only if St. George goes well, then I’ll think about doing Kona.”
Frodeno, Ryf, Terenzo Bozzone and Javier Gomez are the four remaining original members of the team who are back for a sixth year wearing the Bahrain Endurance 13 logo on their uniform. Of the 19 world championships the team has earned, Ryf has won nine of them. She’ll no-doubt be looking to add another two to that list in 2020, including “redemption” in Kona after sickness derailed her quest for a fifth-straight title.
While some anticipated that Frodeno might retire after his third Kona win and course record last year, he has set his sights on another Kona title and will also be back at Challenge Roth, where he set a world-best time of 7:35:39 in 2016.
After spending much of 2019 dealing with Achilles tendon issues, Bozzone looks to earn a Kona slot and will also be gunning for a home-country win at the 70.3 worlds in Taupo. aims to right himself after an injury-laden 2019 in order to qualify for the 2020 Ironman World Championship. With the Ironman 70.3 World Championship also on his doorstep in Taupo this year, he knows he can be competitive and represent in what will be a home race.
“2019 was a pretty rough year for me with the Achilles issues, but we’ve put that to bed and we’re really looking forward to the 2020 season ahead,” Bozzone said.
The final name on the 13-person roster is David Plese, the 2015 Ironman Barcelona champion who lives and trains in Bahrain with the team’s captain, His Highness Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa.