Denis Chevrot of France led home four athletes to sub eight-hour times to become the new IRONMAN European Champion on Sunday at IRONMAN Frankfurt.
No Regional championship honours for the Pro Women here meanwhile, but that won’t have worried home athlete Daniela Bleymehl, who added her name to the list of German legends to have won in both Roth and Frankfurt.
PRO Men – Chevrot runs to victory
No wetsuits in the water in Frankfurt, courtesy of warm water conditions on Sunday. Łukasz Wójt (GER) leading a swim is not news – he’s the PTO’s top-ranked athlete in that discipline after all – but he had plenty of company after this 46-minute effort.
Menno Koolhaas (NED), Andrew Horsfall-Turner (GBR), Baptiste Neveu (FRA) and Robert Wilkowiecki (POL) were all right on Wójt’s heels as they made the exit from the Langener Waldsee.
The chase pack meanwhile were 2:15 back, featuring the likes of Paul Schuster (GER), defending champion Patrik Nilsson (SWE) and Chevrot (FRA). Second last year, Kristian Hogenhaug (DEN) was three minutes down with the bike power of Boris Stein (GER) and Rasmus Svenningsson (SWE) more than eight minutes down – and a lot of road to make up.
The first half of the bike saw plenty of TV time for Horsfall-Turner, the course record holder at the Outlaw Triathlon from 2021. Some 90km in and it was the Welsh athlete plus Wójt almost three minutes clear of a huge chasing pack.
Into the second half of the ride and Stein, well known for his bike power, was making light of that eight-minute swim deficit and now leading the race. A monster 4:10:29 bike split (and the Frankfurt course is long too) saw him arrive at transition four minutes in front of a group of 10. No luck for 2021 winner Nilsson, who didn’t start the run.
Stein’s T2 advantage started fading from the start of the run, as Schuster, Chevrot (FRA), Clement Mignon (FRA), Mathias Lyngso Petersen (DEN) and Wilkowiecki were all moving well and closely bunched. Approaching 15km, the Stein lead would be extinguished.
It was incredibly close at the front, and at 21km Chevrot took the lead, but was now just nine seconds up on Schuster with Wilkowiecki within 45 seconds too. Six-and-a-half hours in, this was very close racing.
Chevrot was the winner of IRONMAN Austria last year, and ran 2:36 and 2:35 marathons in his two IRONMAN events in 2021. That is seriously quick, and 10km further on the French athlete had extended his advantage over Wilkowiecki to almost two minutes, with Schuster now 2:25 back. With one lap to go, was he ready to add a third career full-distance IRONMAN win?
Chevrot was flowing on the final lap of the run and showing no signs of weakness or distress. He would become the first French athlete to win in Frankfurt and claim the IRONMAN European Championship title. He finished with a 2:38:45 marathon, the first four athletes all going under eight hours.
Wilkowiecki – winner two weeks ago at 70.3 Warsaw – held strong for second with a 2:41:59 marathon, and France made it two podium slots as Mignon managed to overtake Schuster in the final stages.
PRO Women – Bleymehl holds off Bartlett
No European Championship status on offer for the women (that was a few weeks back in Hamburg), but there was still a healthy $50,000 up for grabs at one of the iconic races of European long distance triathlon.
A small entry saw Carolin Lehrieder (GER) kick off with a two-minute lead from the swim over IRONMAN South Africa champion Bleymehl. Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS) and Nikki Bartlett (GBR) – on her birthday weekend – were almost four minutes back.
Lehrieder and Bleymehl, once Daniela made the catch, were together for much of the first half of the race before Lehrieder’s day came to end. That would leave the rest of the day a Bleymehl versus Bartlett battle, the German starting the marathon with a 6:38 advantage over the Brit.
That advantage was cut by two minutes at halfway, a gap which remained pretty much the same over the third of the four run laps. Into the late stages however and Bleymehl started to fade pretty badly, and with 3km to go the gap suddenly reduced to three minutes. The gap was coming down – but Daniela would need a massive fade (something we’ve seen in Frankfurt before), to lose at this very late stage.
Bleymehl was able to rally over the couple of kilometres to add a Frankfurt title to her previous win at Challenge Roth. That’s quite significant for any German athlete.
Daniela finished with a 3:11:59 marathon, which was enough to hold off Bartlett (3:07:47) by just over two minutes. Duke rounded out the podium.
IRONMAN Frankfurt Results 2022
IRONMAN European Championship (for PRO MEN only)
Sunday June 26, 2022 – 3.8km / 180km / 42.2km
- 1. Denis Chevrot (FRA) – 7:52:54
- 2. Robert Wilkowiecki (POL) – 7:56:32
- 3. Clement Mignon (FRA) – 7:58:43
- 4. Paul Schuster (GER) – 7:59:12
- 5. Kristian Hogenhaug (DEN) – 8:03:37
- 6. Mathias Lyngso Petersen (DEN) – 8:05:20
- 7. Menno Koolhaas (NED) – 8:05:43
- 8. Boris Stein (GER) – 8:08:33
- 9. Milan Brons (NED) – 8:14:34
- 10. Kevin Maurel (FRA) – 8:17:26
- 1. Daniela Bleymehl (GER)) – 9:02:55
- 2. Nikki Bartlett (GBR) – 9:05:21
- 3. Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS) – 9:16:46
- 4. Katharina Grohman (GER) – 9:28:12