The Achilles tendon holds, the body cooperates. It is not enough for Jan Frodeno to win the comeback. Even the new star of the triathlon scene doesn’t make it to the finish line first.
Jan Frodeno quickly closed the zipper of his sweaty racing suit, for the winning photo on the Platja de ses Figueretes the performance on his finish comeback after more than 600 days was not enough.
The 41-year-old Olympic champion from 2008 and three-time Ironman world champion also missed the podium in fourth place at the PTO European Open in Ibiza on Saturday – in the much-vaunted battle of the generations, Frodeno could not keep up with the much younger opponents.
“It was a tough comeback,” he said at the finish. He suffered a lot, but no pain. “I’m therefore happy that I can continue now and prepare for another great season, even if it wasn’t the dream start,” emphasized Frodeno. The Ironman European Championship in Hamburg is already in a month.
Victory goes to Norwegians
However, it was not the scene’s new superstar who secured victory over 2 kilometers of swimming, 80.2 kilometers of cycling and 17.8 kilometers of running in Ibiza. The 29-year-old Olympic champion from Tokyo and Ironman World Champion from St. George, Kristian Blummenfelt from Norway, had to hand over first place and the 100,000 US dollar prize to Max Neumann from Australia, who was two years his junior. Third place went to Magnus Ditlev from Denmark.
Frodeno was 26 seconds short of the winner of Challenge Roth last year. “Of course I’m always hoping for more,” he said, but also admitted that he had celebrated a bit with his physio the night before and that he even made it to Ibiza.
It was 616 days since Frodeno last finished a race. 2022 had been a year to forget with a partial Achilles tendon tear, a wheel fall and hip surgeries. Frodeno had to postpone the comeback at the beginning of April this year because of a virus. “The kids can’t even remember one of his races,” said Frodeno’s wife Emma, who was once a triathlon Olympic champion herself.
“All Day Diesel Ironman Legs”
Exhausted, but ready to joke with his children, the native of the Rhineland first had to sit down and catch his breath at the finish line. “Of course, the distance was also extremely hard, I had Diesel Ironman legs all day,” said Frodeno, who wanted to approach the race as aggressively as ever.
He got out of the water second, changed faster than the previous leader, but then didn’t get into the cycling shoe and was overtaken again by some rivals. Blummenfelt came out of the water about a minute later. Together with Ditlev, the Norwegian worked his way up and caught up with the group around Frodeno.
At the top, a trio with Neumann, Frodeno’s training partner Kyle Smith and two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee initially pulled away. The three soon became four: Ditlev caught up. Frodeno and Blummenfelt either couldn’t or didn’t want to keep up with the pace of the 25-year-old Dane. The two lost more seconds to the top on the bike.
It was about a minute for the two at the second change. Up front, Brownlee set the pace ahead of Smith and even picked it up – too much, as so often. The Brit fell behind. Neumann took the lead and defended it to the finish.
To the PTO European Open
I am Pierce Boyd, a driven and ambitious professional working in the news industry. I have been writing for 24 Hours Worlds for over five years, specializing in sports section coverage. During my tenure at the publication, I have built an impressive portfolio of articles that has earned me a reputation as an experienced journalist and content creator.