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IRONMAN Frankfurt European Championships: WATCH LIVE NOW!

It looks like a battle between Europe and the USA in Frankfurt this weekend - here's all you need to know ahead of Sunday's showdown.

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Germany is again in the triathlon spotlight this weekend and it’s largely a fascinating Europe vs USA battle as Frankfurt hosts the women’s IRONMAN European Championship.

Here’s our guide to the names to look out for, how to watch live and what’s on the line…

Start time and watch live

Racing starts at 06:25 local (CET) time on Sunday, July 2. That corresponds to 05:25 in the UK and 00:25 Eastern time.

Live coverage is embedded below and is also available on IRONMAN.com/Live, YouTube, and Facebook – one of of 12 full-distance IRONMAN stops throughout 2023 season, with the broadcast getting under way just before the racing begins.

As always, the IRONMAN Tracker app on mobile devices is your essential addition if you want to check out the race data as it happens, alongside the broadcast and commentary.

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Frankfurt course

The event takes place along the banks of the Main River and the 3.8km swim comprises two laps which take athletes across the Langener Waldsee, with a short “Australian Exit” separating the two loops.

It’s also a two-lap 182 km bike course through the picturesque villages surrounding Frankfurt, also called “Mainhattan” for its impressive skyline.

Lastly, the four-loop 42.2 km run course is flat and fast, promising some rapid run times.

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Pro Women

This is a ‘Gold Tier’ event in the PTO’s ranking system and it gets a strength of field rating of 79.94 (click here for more details on what both of those mean). In short though it does have to be said the quality has been diluted by that astonishing Challenge Roth women’s field last weekend and there are no athletes currently in the world top 20.

But it still promises to be highly competitive and and in the absence of defending IRONMAN European Champion Laura Philipp after her third place at Roth, a new champion will be crowned.

And while we don’t have the defending European Championship winner (it was held in Hamburg last year), we do have the winner of this Frankfurt race from 12 months ago – Philipp’s fellow German Daniela Bleyhmehl.

She wears bib #1 as a result of her victory over Britain’s Nikki Bartlett but it’s the latter who has shown the better form this season, with a win at IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella and then fourth place behind a select podium of Philipp, Lucy Charles-Barclay and Ellie Salthouse at IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau, with Bleymehl two places back in sixth. That was a performance Bartlett herself termed perhaps her best ever [UPDATE: Nikki has now ruled herself out of Sunday’s race due to illness but hopes to be back for 70.3 Swansea in a fortnight].

Sticking with the Europeans and Svenja Thoes is another who will have plenty of home support. She had a superb 2022 with three IRONMAN titles (France, Ireland and Italy) and has enjoyed a consistent (top six in all four races) 2023.

It’s Maja Stage Nielson (DEN) who is the top-ranked European at #23. She beat Thoes last time out in the Apfelland Triathlon and was also second behind Kat Matthews at IRONMAN Texas in April.

There’s a strong American challenge this weekend, headed by world #21 Skye Moench. She triumphed here in dramatic style in 2019 (see below) and was the winner of IRONMAN Des Moines last season but this is her first full-distance race of 2023 – she qualified for Kona late last year with second place at IRONMAN Arizona.

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - JUNE 30: Skye Moench of USA celebrates after winning the women's race of Mainova IRONMAN European Championship on June 30, 2019 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Skye Moench won in Frankfurt in 2019 [Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images for IRONMAN]

The winner in Arizona that day in what was a remarkable comeback season after having time off to start a family was Sarah True.

She’s just had the one race this year as she juggles family life and her studies with training and that was in an absorbing battle at 70.3 Chattanooga. She eventually finished fourth but there was virtually nothing between second (Danielle Lewis) and fifth (Moench).

And True of course has quite a history with this race. She was second to the great Daniela Ryf in 2018 and then the following year led by more than five minutes in the final mile only to collapse in heart-breaking fashion in the searing heat as the victory went to Moench. A win four years later would be a wonderful story.

Also bolstering the USA’s hand on Sunday is Lauren Brandon who could face a battle to be first out of the water even though only Charles-Barclay is ahead of her in the swim rankings.

That’s because third in those swimming standings is Rebecca Clarke and the New Zealander brings decent Southern Hemisphere form into this and has been based in Europe for a couple of months now – she was second last time out at Challenge Salou.

Prize Money: What’s on the line?

With IRONMAN Frankfurt carrying additional prestige this year as the IRONMAN European Championship for Pro Woen, there’s a healthy $75,000 total prize pot on offer. Remember too that – as a Pro Women only race – it doesn’t get split either, leaving a top prize of $25,000 on offer to the race winner.

In addition to money, there will be four qualifying slots for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona this October. However it is well worth noting that a number of the athletes involved – including Bleymehl, Brandon, Clarke, Moench, Nielsen, Thoes and True – have already booked their places so there’s plenty to play for outside of the big favourites.

The total funds will be paid ten-deep, as follows:

  1. $25,000
  2. $15,000
  3. $9,000
  4. $7,500
  5. $5,500
  6. $4,000
  7. $3,000
  8. $2,500
  9. $2,000
  10. $1,500
Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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