Jan Frodeno returned to full distance racing at the Ironman European Championship in Hamburg, Germany this weekend, finishing just off the podium over a well-fought race that saw him amongst the leaders throughout the 3.8-kilometre swim, 170-kilometre bike, and 42-kilometre run.
The multiple Ironman world champion and Olympic gold medalist exited the water in the lead and stayed in the front pack on the bike leg. Unfortunately, from this position he witnessed a horrific crash between a media motorbike and an age-group cyclist that changed the tenor of the race for all competitors and saw the course shortened to divert around the accident.
Frodeno came into transition in second, but ran himself into the lead by the 10th kilometre alongside Pieter Heemeryck. While the eventual champion Denis Chevrot came past them at the 30th kilometre, Frodeno fought against Heemeryck and Kristian Høgenhaug for second with only seconds separating them at the finish line.
He said, “There is so much to process from today. It feels gut-wrenching to have seen someone die right next to me and unknowingly continue to race, give it my all and fall well short. My condolences go out to the family of the motorcycle driver who helped cover the race and my best wishes for a full recovery to the oncoming cyclist.”
His fourth-place finish validates his start at the Ironman World Championship in Nice, France in September.