2015 Ironman world champions Jan Frodeno (GER) and Daniela Ryf (SUI) claimed the victories at Friday’s Ironman 70.3 Dubai. The race itself offered each winner $30,000 (and a total prize purse of $100,000), but the bigger incentive is that those two are now the only contenders for the Nasser bin Hamad Triple Crown—which promises $1 million to any athlete who can will all three races in the series. Ryf took home the same $1 million prize last year for winning all three races. The victories came on a particularly windy day in Dubai, with the swim course being shortened to 1200 meters for safety reasons.
Frodeno put together a 16:00 swim, a 2:02:33 bike and a 1:13:49 half-marathon to take the victory in a blazing time of 3:34:48. “Today [those] were tough competitions,” Frodeno said after the race. “It was really tough out there, but this course is very fast. I had a real dream of a day, one of those days you can just push with the pace the whole day. It was a perfect day for me.”
Frodeno dedicated the race to fellow Olympian and ITU athlete Laurent Vidal, who tragically passed away last year, by holding up his fingers in an L and a V as he crossed the finish line.
Australia’s Josh Amberger was second across the finish line at 3:41:42, with Belgium’s Bart Aernouts rounding out the top three at 3:43:58.
Ryf’s day consisted of a 20:09 swim, a 2:17:21 bike and a 1:20:52 half-marathon, giving her the win in 4:01:09.
“I’m really happy actually, it’s a great start,” she commented after the race. “Big compliment to Caroline. I think she did really good in the first 50km on the bike. She really pushed the pace and she was really hurting me and then I tried to wait a bit. I started to hurt more, the last 40km I wanted to see where my legs were and decided to push a little bit hard. Every time I wanted to slow down I pushed harder, that’s pretty much the tactic. With the wind and the carpet on the floor the run felt quite slow, but I’m really happy.”
“Big compliment to my coach, Brett [Sutton],” she continued. “We didn’t really have much time in the last few weeks so we set the focus on efficiency. I was surprised the form is still here.”
Bahrain Endurance 13 teammate Caroline Steffen (SUI) finished second in 4:05:01, with Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN) having a stellar race to finish third just two seconds later at 04:05:03.
Ironman 70.3 Dubai
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Jan. 29, 2016
1.2km swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Jan Frodeno (GER) 3:34:48
2. Josh Amberger (AUS) 3:41:42
3. Bart Aernouts (BEL) 3:43:58
4. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:44:01
5. Jaroslav Kovacic (SLO) 3:44:35
1. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 4:01:09
2. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:05:01
3. Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN) 4:05:03
4. Jocelyn McCauley (USA) 4:09:27
5. Andrea Forrest (AUS) 4:10:51