Rico Bogen Shocks And Wins Ironman 70.3 World Championships

The 22-year-old German burst onto the world stage, taking the 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Lahti, Finland.

Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

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Germany’s Rico Bogen stunned the triathlon world today by winning the 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championships with a time of 3:32:22. Bogen, 22, is the youngest-ever 70.3 world champion. Though relatively unknown on the world stage, the German cut his teeth in draft-legal racing as a junior, with top-15 results at sprint and Olympic distances. His most notable long-course results, before today, include a third-place at European Middle Distance Championships in 2022, fourth place at 70.3 Lanzarote in March, and a win at 70.3 Kraichgau.

Missed the action in Finland? Replays of the men’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships are available on demand via Outside Watch.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship Men’s Pro Results: The Swim

Unlike the foggy women’s morning on the previous day, the conditions for the men were clear and cool out on Lake Vesijärvi with water temperatures hovering in the mid-to-high 60s and the air right around 55 degrees F. Sadly, one of the pre-race favorites, American Jason West, did not start the morning, as he withdrew with a stomach bug.

From the start, strong American swimmers like Ben Kanute and Mark Dubrick moved to the front, stringing out the leaders, but with a big main group including reigning world champion, who had been battling illness race week, Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR)—farther back than he’d probably hope—with American Sam Long surprisingly on his feet. Within minutes, a group of 8-10 had slightly broken away from the main group, thanks to the fast early pace, though the wetsuit-legal swim meant only a small amount of separation early. A large main pack remained, with roughly 20 men still together, and another 10-15 slightly behind.

As they entered the harbor, the big, physical group meant for a busy first transition behind swim leader Justus Nieschlag (GER). Nineteen athletes were a part of the lead group around 22:43-23:10—including contenders like Ben Kanute (USA), Mathis Margirier (FRA), Miki Taagholt (NOR), and Frederic Funk (GER).

Not much farther back, a group of 16 men—including notable racers like Matt Hanson (USA) and Jackson Laundry (CAN)—as well as Blummenfelt who struggled in the swim and exited the water 1:16 down from the leader. Not far behind were Lionel Sanders (CAN) and Sam Long (USA) who hit T1 together with relatively strong swims, just over two minutes down from the front.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship Men’s Pro Results: The Bike

The huge bike pack (almost the entire competitive field of 42 men exited the water within two minutes) meant that drafting, passing, and pack dynamics immediately came into play on the rainy roads surrounding Lahti.

Through the first dozen miles of the bike, a group of seven had taken shape, including Margirier and Kanute, but they had only put about 20 seconds on a larger group of 16, all riding tightly within a minute of each other. The big first chase pack initially contained Funk and Blummenfelt, among others, while Sanders and Long continued to ride together still roughly two minutes down from the front, but close to the chase pack.

Midway through the bike, the big mover was Funk, who had ridden his way into the lead group that had dropped Kanute. The front pack of seven men interestingly included a group of five Germans (Speri, Funk, Bogen, Stratmann, and Nieschlag) along with Margirier and Lewis (GBR) who were putting time into the large main pack with contenders like Blummenfelt, Long, Sanders, and more.

At the 25-mile mark, the mostly German lead group had an over two-minute gap to the humungous 26-person main group, who was in a tight bunch—likely due to the moderately rolling course, draft regulations, and rainy conditions. The only missing names from the big group included Hanson and Taagholt—who had unfortunately dropped early in the bike due to a small crash and resulting mechanical issue.

The front group’s lead gelled and extended further through mile 30 on the bike to 2:30, while a large pack of 24 remained less than a minute apart from each other but continued to bleed time with each check. At mile 37, strong cyclists Long and Sanders were driving the main group, however Blummenfelt hung on at the back of that same pack, stuck simply responding to the large group dynamics ahead and eventually fell far off the pace.

Near the final dozen miles of the bike leg, Sanders dropped back substantially, and would eventually be disqualified due to a centerline infraction. At mile 50, deep into the most difficult section of the bike course, the lead group had dwindled to six, losing one of the Germans, Sperl. The hot pace was still holding and extending the lead on a chase group that still included fast runners like Laundry and Long but had shrunk to only 10 men about three minutes down.

Unsurprisingly, the fastest bike split of the day was Germany’s Funk with a time of 1:55:14, and the final, hilly miles had broken apart any large groups before heading into T2.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship Men’s Pro Results: The Run

Out onto the run, the group of six took off out of T2 together, but it wasn’t long before the more complete triathletes—Bogen, Funk, and Margirier—separated from those in the pack who were likely bikers-only. Over three minutes later, Long led the next group out of T2, though he had 30 seconds on the next person, thanks to a big surge late in the bike.

In the early miles of the run, big movers behind the lead three included James Teagle (GBR) and Long in the top 10, while much of the rest of the field held steady. Further back, Kanute, Sanders and Blummenfelt had fallen almost completely out of contention.

At around four miles into the rainy run, the young German, Bogen, continued to pull away from not only his bike-leg compatriots, but also the rest of the field with a stride that looked long and fluid compared to those behind him.

As the miles ticked away, there was not much movement through the top four halfway into the run: Bogen had put a minute into Margirier and Funk in second and third, respectively. Stratmann had held his position in fourth. At nine miles, Funk regained contact with Margirier and the two ran together momentarily, battling for second place before Funk pulled away. With less than two miles to go, Stratmann moved up and overtook Margirier for third.

Germany’s Rico Bogen had the race of his life and finally broke the tape with a time of 3:32:22, riding 1:56:17, and running 1:11:02 for the fastest overall time of the day. Behind him, Funk finished in second place with a time of 3:33:26, improving on his fifth-place finish from 2022, while a third German, Jan Stratmann rounded out the podium. Bogen claimed $50,000 in prize money for his efforts and is the newest Ironman 70.3 World Champion.

Further back, notable finishers included top American of the day, Dubrick (8th), as well as Long (12th), Laundry (27th), Kanute (31st), and Blummenfelt (36th).

Results: 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championship MPRO

For full results, visit ironman.com.

Name Country Swim Bike Run Overall
1. Rico Bogen GER 22:52 1:56:17 1:11:02 3:32:22
2. Frederic Funk GER 23:10 1:55:14 1:12:21 3:33:26
3. Jan Stratmann GER 23:02 1:55:56 1:12:40 3:34:11
4. Mathias Margirier FRA 23:00 1:55:42 1:13:58 3:35:04
5. Joshua Lewis GBR 23:02 1:56:13 1:15:11 3:36:44
6. Youri Keulen FRA 24:18 1:58:06 1:12:34 3:37:56
7. James Teagle GBR 23:48 1:59:00 1:12:54 3:38:07
8. Marc Dubrick USA 22:49 2:02:58 1:10:19 3:38:27
9. Thor Bendix Madsen NOR 24:04 1:58:41 1:12:57 3:38:28
10. Menno Koolhaas FRA 22:53 2:02:39 1:10:35 3:38:42

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