Home > Racing

Jan Frodeno takes career-defining win at PTO US Open

German champion solidifies his position as one of the greatest of all time with huge win

Photo by: PTO coverage screenshot

In his second-last race as a pro (he’ll compete at the Ironman World Championship in Nice as his final race), triathlon legend Jan Frodeno proved today that he still has what it takes to beat the best triathletes in the world. Just a few weeks short of his 42nd birthday, the German Olympic gold medalist, three-time Kona and two-time 70.3 world champ solidified his position as one of the greatest the sport has ever seen with a huge win at the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) US Open.

Blummenfelt surprises in the water

Aussie Aaron Royle led the way out of the water, but just three bodies back was Blummenfelt, who flew through transition in true World Triathlon racing style and was quickly at the front. Behind him Frodeno came out of the water about 25 seconds down, and the German lost some more time coming out of T2 when he forgot to take off his swim skin.

Blummenfelt appeared to be riding easily, but led the group of four that included Daniel Baekkegard, Ben Kanute and Doyle. Then, before the end of the first lap, Blummenfelt started to pull clear of the rest of the men in the group. Frodeno would catch up to the chasers as Blummenfelt started to pull clear.

Through 30 km, though, Magnus Ditlev made his move, surging towards the front as Blummenfelt continued to lead the way ahead of France’s Mathis Margirier, with Frodeno hanging tough in third. Eventually Ditlev would join the gang at the front, and it quickly became apparent that it had become a four-man race. Margirier would lead for a good portion of the middle stage of the ride, but then Ditlev decided to give it a go at the front to see if he could power away from the rest of the crew. The move would seemingly put Frodeno in a bit of stress, but Margirier and Blummenfelt easily covered the move.

Heading into the last few kilometres of the race Ditlev appeared to realize that he wasn’t going to pull clear of Blummenfelt and Marigier, and eased off on the pedals, letting Frodeno pull back the 20 second gap that had opened up.

Transition cramp

As the four came into T2, Blummenfelt pulled up at the line as he took his first step off the bike, apparently suffering from the same cramping issue that slowed him down at the PTO Canadian Open a year ago. With Blummenfelt suddenly struggling, Frodeno made his move, surging away from Margirier and Ditlev as Blummenfelt struggled to keep them close.

At the start of the second of five laps of the run, Blummenfelt appeared to be ready to run his way back into the mix, then suddenly came up short with more cramping. That left Frodeno well out in front, steadily pulling clear of the rest of the field, with Marigier gradually pulling away from Ditlev. Blummenfelt would eventually get back to running again, but by the 6.5 km point he was in fourth, over two minutes behind the German.

Behind the lead four German Frederick Funk was holding tough to fifth place, but had to serve a penalty for a transition violation, and, as he exited the penalty tent, new dad Sam Long (who only arrived in Milwaukee at 10 pm the night before the race) surged passed into fifth place. Behind him, though, was the speedy Jason West, who was putting together the day’s fastest run split.

Frodeno runs to the win

As the run progressed it became obvious that the temperature and humidity was starting to become a factor. As Blummenfelt started to return to closer to his normal running form, he began to catch up to a fading Ditlev, who would eventually pull out of the race, obviously still recovering from his record-setting day in Roth last month. West was running under 3 min/ km and flying towards the front of the race, flying past Blummenfelt, only to suddenly find himself with some company as the Tokyo gold medalist surged onto his shoulder.

The two would continue to fly through the final two laps of the race, blowing past Marigier to suddenly be dueling for the final two spots on the podium. Marigier did his best to mark the move, but there was no touching the two as they powered away, steadily closing the gap on Frodeno ahead.

With two km to go Frodeno’s lead was 1:26, seemingly enough to ensure the win, but behind him we were witnessing a cat and mouse battle between the American and the Norwegian. In the end, though, there was no touching the Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champ – Frodeno would cruise to the win in 3:14:11. West would surge clear of Blummenfelt with a few hundred metres to go for his best PTO finish ever with an incredible 56:23 run split to take second, while Blummenfelt would have to settle with third.

Margirier would hang tough for fourth, with Long running through to an impressive fifth, followed by Dane Daniel Baekkegard. Canadian Lionel Sanders would run his way to the top 10 at one point, but would fade in the final few kilometres to end up 11th.