In January, when Brett Sutton announced a prescribed sabbatical from training for Daniela Ryf the professional field collectively exhaled. These days Ryf is so dominant her performances regularly threaten top professional men’s fields and she is improving still, so at least the humiliation of being ‘chicked’ could be postponed to the second part of the year.
By the time June came around Ryf was fit again, perhaps fitter than before. Wins at Ironman 70.3 Switzerland preceded a remarkable race record at Ironman Frankfurt (8h42) with a bike time just twelve minutes (yes, twelve minutes) slower than Jan Frodeno over 180km. That performance cemented her form in Ironman but what about Ironman 70.3? We found out at Ironman 70.3 Gdynia. A world-best 3:57:54 and a 1:17 run. That run form may not even face a threat from the fastest runner in the sport at present – Anne Haug. Coupled with the influential swim and Lucy Charles’ entry into South Africa we may get a sneak preview of race developments on the Big Island in October.
Ryf certainly makes triathlon about all-round ability rather than single strengths; her triple-forte pedigree and her knowledge of the course (she won Ironman South Africa in 2017) will only aid her in exploiting others’ weaknesses in the wind of Nelson Mandela Bay. Fresh from altitude camp and record performances already this year, Ryf is ominously geared up to win her fourth Ironman 70.3 World title.