The defending Ironman world champion, Jan Frodeno, returned to racing in style today, blasting away from the rest of the field at Challenge Miami thanks to impressive performances in all three legs of the race.
Frodeno was third out of the water behind American Ben Kanute and his Australian training partner Nicholas Kastelein, with Tim O’Donnell hanging on at the back of the pack. Canada’s Lionel Sanders was well back (2:10) after the swim, but had a better swim then he did at the PTO 2020 Championship at Challenge Daytona last December, so things looked promising for the Canadian.
Out on the bike course Frodeno quickly went to the front, but it wasn’t long before Andrew Starykowicz moved through the field to take the lead. Super-cyclist Magnus Ditlev from Denmark also hammered to the front. Only Frodeno was willing to go with the speedsters on the bike and they steadily pulled away from the rest of the field.
Off the bike Starykowicz was in front by 20 seconds over Ditlev and 24 seconds ahead of Frodeno, but a speedy transition saw the German leave T2 just six seconds behind the American bike leader. That meant Frodeno was in front within a few hundred meters of the run.
Sanders came off the bike in eighth place, but was 3:16 back, making the win seem a long-shot as Frodeno continued to cruise along in front. Within a few kilometres Sanders was in fifth with Kanute and Leiferman trying to hang on. Sanders would have none of it, though, and pulled clear as he ran towards the second spot on the podium.
Kanute would eventually make a dramatic push over the final lap of the run to move himself to third ahead of Leiferman.
Frodeno would cross the tape in 2:37:57, with Sanders leaving it all out on the course for a gutsy runner-up finish in 2:40:28 to finish 2:30 back. Kanute rounded out the podium in 2:41:35, with Leiferman taking fourth in 2:41:46 and Rudy Von Berg taking fifth in 2:42:11.
Check out the results from today’s men’s race here.