It was an outstanding performance, but while he was happy to take third at yesterday’s Ironman World Championship Nice, Denmark’s Magnus Ditlev will leave France with mixed emotions.
“I went into the race to try to win, and I believe that I prepared to do that,” Ditlev said after the race. “But, on the other hand, I got the best out of myself and I think that I did what I could and stay positive all day long, so with that in mind I’m really satisfied. I wanted to race for the win and Sam was just fantastic and strong. I did what I could.”
In July Ditlev set a new world-best time at Challenge Roth (see below), which meant that he arrived in France with the pressure of that huge performance.
“Obviously there was some pressure and a lot of people picked me as one of the favourites,” he said. “That doesn’t affect me in any way and I race for myself. I am not the kind of guy who gets concerned about the pressure. Knowing that I could put on a performance like that just gives me confidence.”
At the press conference Ditlev acknowledged that the course doesn’t necessarily suit his biking talents.
“I think, in the end, I was probably a bit too heavy for this course,” he said. “I think a more flat course might suit me a bit better.”
“It was super hard the whole way,” he continued. “I could feel, starting the run, that I wasn’t super fresh, so I knew it would be a struggle. I knew after two laps that Patrick (Lange, who finished second) would probably catch me. I knew it would be gruelling, but I was able to hold off Rudy (Von Berg, who took fourth).”
Winner Sam Laidlow agrees with Ditlev’s assessment that the flatter course in Kona will suit the Dane’s powerful riding style (see below). The French champion feels that he and Ditlev will be leading the way at world championship events for the next few years because of their biking skills.
Ditlev says that he will focus on Roth and Kona next year, and is looking forward to the later date for the race on the Big Island in 2024.
“Kona is a month later,” he said. “That gives more time to prepare. I felt that after Roth it was difficult to get back into the rhythm and mentally be 100 per cent focused on the sessions. Then I went to Milwaukee and had to pull out with some stomach issues, but that was actually a good thing for me because I got a slap in the face and that motivated me a lot.”
The third in Nice was hardly a “slap in the face,” but it was enough to serve as some good motivation for the upcoming year of training. Add to that the frustration of a controversial drafting call in Kona last year, and the Dane will have lots to keep him motivated to move up a few steps on the podium on the Big Island.