Noosa's Jan Frodeno claims victory after a stellar run leg at the 70.3 World Championship at South Africa.
Noosa's Jan Frodeno claims victory after a stellar run leg at the 70.3 World Championship at South Africa. Bahrain Endurance Team

Frodeno elevated as the man to beat at Hawaii Ironman

THE Jan Frodeno juggernaut is at full speed and there are doubts anyone has the ability to keep pace.

Returning to Noosa this week after a scorching effort which delivered the 70.3 World Championship at South Africa on Sunday, the world's best were left in his wake.

In the process Frodeno stamped himself as the firm favourite to regain his Ironman World Championship crown with a performance which saw him systematically dismantle his opposition.

Sunday's 21km run after a 1.9km swim and 90km ride saw the German-born triathlete set new standards in long course racing while simultaneously breaking two of the quickest of all time - dual gold-medallist Alistair Brownlee and five-time ITU world champion Javier Gomez Noya.

Frodeno went head-to-head with both and proved triumphant with an unyielding run.

While Frodeno led from transition onto the run, Brownlee surged past Frodeno early. But the effort took its toll and the German returned at the front as Brownlee was dropped.


PORT ELIZABETH - SEPTEMBER 2:  Javier Gomez Noya of Spain (R) and Jan Frodeno of Germany look on before the start of the swim during the Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Men in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on September 2, 2018. Over 4,500 athletes from over 100 countries will be represented in this years 70.3 World Championship. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Jan Frodeno (left) and Javier Gomez Noya oat the start line of the 70.3 World Championship in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on Sunday. Donald Miralle

Gomez kept pace and moved into third with the fastest 5km kilometre split - an average 3:03 minutes per kilometre. After catching Frodeno the pair were inseparable, neither willing to give an inch.

The 10km journey saw Gomez post 31min 24sec, while Frodeno was just 14 seconds slower.

But the pace took its toll when Gomez started to suffer cramps and Frodeno turned the screws with about 6km to travel, looking fluent and unflappable.

"One minute Javier was breathing down my neck, the next minute he was gone but I didn't realise he was gone," he said.

"I was running for my life breathing so hard I didn't hear anything myself."

It was always going to be a foot race. Frodeno had watts up his sleeve, sitting up on several occasions during the bike leg with other athletes unwilling to work at the front.

"I was a little bit angry because Alistair and I did all the work all day on the bike and tried to break away, tried to do anything and nobody came," Frodeno said.

"Ben Kanute came around once, but then I really wanted to hold the flag high in a foot race, which I knew was tough, but somehow today I just had my running legs."


Alistair Brownlee at Challenge Mogan Gran Canaria.
Alistair Brownlee at Challenge Mogan Gran Canaria last year. Bahrain Endurance 13

After Gomez suffered cramps, Brownlee pushed his way into second. He had previously been unbeaten over the 70.3 distance, and will ultimately improve once making the step up to Ironman (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run) racing.

"Obviously I want to win, but I gave it everything today and I'm happy with that," Brownlee said post race.

"To be honest, I've had a tough year this year with injuries and a few things and just not been myself, so basically the last three or four weeks is the only training I've done really."

The performance not only provided Frodeno with his second 70.3 world crown, he won previously in 2015, but would have also sent shockwaves through the camps of Ironman title contender Lionel Sanders and reigning champion Patrick Lange.

During July, he easily accounted for Lange at Ironman European Championship Frankfurt. It was a carbon copy of the performance from March where Frodeno beat Lange by six minutes at the Kraichgau 70.3.


Cairns Ironman winners, second place getter Javier Gomez Noya , winner Braden Currie and third place getter Terenzo Bozzone at  Ironman Cairns PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Podium finishers at Ironman Cairns (from left) Javier Gomez Noya , Braden Currie and Terenzo Bozzone. Anna Rogers

While Sanders claimed victory at 70.3 Mont-Tremblant during June, he struggled at July's Ironman Mont-Tremblant despite claiming second after having nutrition issues following dietary issues.

Frodeno will resume training at Noosa, where Kiwis Braden Currie, Callum Millward and Cameron Brown as well as Aussie Nick Kastelein are also preparing for the Hawaii Ironman.

Gomez will also be making his debut at Kona.

Frodeno was the Ironman champion in 2015 and 2016, but injury struck last year and he finished 35th.

The Sunshine Coast has played a pivotal role in getting the dual world champion back to his best, with Frodeno accessing local expertise to him him improve speed and efficiency across all legs.