What a year it has been for Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt – he started the year with a bang with a big win at the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) Yokohama, won the World Cup race in Portugal, took gold at the Olympics, won the WTCS Grand Final and the world championship in Edmonton, then went a blistering 7:21 to win his Ironman debut in Cozumel.
While we don’t typically see most Olympic gold medalists race again through the rest of the year after their big wins, Blummenfelt has been on a tear and doesn’t seem to want to stop anytime soon. Just two weeks after his incredible Ironman debut in Mexico, he blasted a strong field at Daytona International Speedway to round out his year with yet another win.
American Ben Kanute led the men out of the water with Canadian Brent McMahon in third eight seconds back and Blummenfelt another seven seconds back. Denmark’s Magnus Ditlev was just under a minute behind as he hit the bike. Through the early stages of the bike Kanute surged to the front, but eventually the Dane Uber-biker would power his way to the front of the race.
“The swim was a bit messy in the beginning,” Blummenfelt said after the race. “On the bike it felt like they were pushing hard from the beginning. I could never get into the 20 m zone behind Ben (Kanute) until Ditlev went passed me. I tried to stay on his wheel, but he got away quite quickly. You can’t let him go three or four minutes off in front, so I was trying to do the math, looking at the screen – I was losing about 10 seconds per lap. I figured I could at least make up 10 seconds per kilometre on the run – 180 seconds – but there again you never know.”
Ditlev came oh-so-close to getting those 180 seconds, but had to settle with a half-minute short of that, hitting T2 about 2:30 ahead of the Olympic champ, who hit T2 with Americans Rudy Von Berg and Kanute not far behind.
“I knew that if I had to I could dig down to 3:10 or 3:05 pace if I had to, so I did feel quite confident there,” Blummenfelt said. The confidence was warranted – the Norwegian steadily gained time on Ditlev and by the start of the fourth lap he was out in front, cruising to yet another big win, crossing the finish line in 3:08:30. Ditlev would hang on for second in 3:10:07, with Von Berg hanging tough for third. Another American, Matt Hanson, would run his way to fourth, while McMahon would nail a spectacular fifth-place finish (3:14:18) to round out his 2021 season. Fellow Canadian Taylor Reid would take ninth spot in 3:21:26.
Scarily enough for his competition, Blummenfelt isn’t looking to do a lot of resting over the next little bit – he’s heading home to do some testing and to hit the wind tunnel to work on his aero position.
“I didn’t want to let him (Ditlev) go on the bike like I did,” Blummenfelt said after the race. “I want to bike at that level. I definitely have some work to do to find a proper position on the TT bike and to get more aerodynamic. I was producing a decent amount of power, but I need to become more efficient.”
News that Blummenfelt’s competition won’t be happy to hear, for sure. After an incredible 2021, it would appear the Olympic champ is looking for even more over the next few years.