IRONMAN California was cancelled around one hour before the scheduled start time on Sunday, putting paid to the eagerly-awaited showdown between Jan Frodeno, Gustav Iden and Lionel Sanders.
Despite a ‘bomb cyclone’ being forecast to hit the California city on Sunday, IRONMAN still planned to have the PRO race go ahead at the full distance, though they had made adjustments to arrangements for Age-Groupers.
Weather puts paid to big clash
Then, as rain and winds lashed the city in the early hours of Sunday, organisers made the decision to cancel the event around one hour before the scheduled start time (0700 local, 0900 ET, 1500 UK). The decision was confirmed in an Instagram post from ‘The Voice Of IRONMAN Triathlon’ Mike Reilly.
He said: “If you haven’t heard, we had to cancel IRONMAN California. I was out at the swim start, and It’s so windy, there’s just no way you could put a bike on this course. So the race has been cancelled.
“I know it’s disappointing, so disappointing, but for the safety of each and every one of you, there’s just no way we could do this. IRONMAN will let you know what they’re gonna do with deferrals and all that good stuff.
“You know, life throws us some big curveballs and this is a huge one. I know so many of you have been looking forward to this race as we all have with IRONMAN. Each and every one of us, this was gonna be a special special day.”
IRONMAN California meanwhile issued a statement on Facebook, which read: “Weather conditions have deteriorated overnight and weather condition are expected to worsen over the course of the day.
“We no longer believe that we can provide an acceptably safe swim and bike environment for our athletes. We regret to inform you that the 2021 IRONMAN California triathlon cannot take place today on Oct. 24, 2021.
“The safety of the athletes, volunteers and spectators is our highest priority. It would not be responsible to host the event at this moment in time.
“We recognize that the change at this late juncture will come as a disappointment and are working diligently to provide you with further details and racing options.If you have additional questions, please contact email@example.com”
As well as what promised a spectacular PRO showdown, the cancellation will be devastating news for the more than 3000 Age-Groupers who had assembled in the area to take on the race.
Before the cancellation, the only news around any changes to the initial planned schedule had come on Saturday, with those amendments to the Age-Group race. That saw the bike course halved with subsequent changes made to the cutoff finish times.
No Frodeno vs Iden
The PRO race would have been the first at the full distance for two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Iden, and pitted him against modern-day GOAT Frodeno (unbeaten in four years). The presence of Sanders just added lustre to an already mouthwatering clash.
Earlier in the week weather experts had issued dire forecasts about what was about to hit the Sacramento, with talk of a ‘bomb cyclone’ producing flooding and high winds between late Saturday and late Monday. Despite hopes that the race could still go ahead, those forecasts sadly proved correct.