Denis Chevrot (FRA) defending his European Championship title at IRONMAN Hamburg and modern-day great Jan Frodeno (GER) roaring back into full-distance contention at 41 years of age would normally be a big deal.
But the event was completely overshadowed by the tragic news that an accident earlier in the race left a motorcycle operator dead and an official race photographer and race participant injured and receiving treatment in hospital.
That is a rapidly-developing story and we will continue to cover it here. But the race itself – this season’s European Championship for men – did continue and here is how it unfolded…
Swim – Frodeno in the mix
The wetsuit swim took place in calm and chilly conditions and it was no surprise to see Josh Amberger (AUS) to the fore early on but Jesper Svensson (SWE) and Frodeno were close to his feet.
But in the second half it was Frodeno who pushed to the front and in exiting the water in 46:35 he was a split second ahead of Amberger, with the chasing pack also in close proximity.
There were 13 athletes within not much more than 10 seconds going out of transition, with Chevrot now in front as he looked to retain the European Championship crown he had won last year in Frankfurt.
Bike – Høgenhaug moves ahead
Kristian Høgenhaug (DEN) was the first to make a big move early on the bike section but he was unable to shake off was was now a nine-person front group, with Amberger, Svensson, Frodeno, Chevrot, Florian Angert (GER), Pieter Heemeryck (BEL), Robert Kallin (SWE) and Finn Große-Freese (GER) the others.
At two hours and 25 minutes in, the race would change forever when that horrific collision took place as the leaders – and the accompanying moto entourage – travelled in the opposite direction to the age-group athletes on the two-lap course.
The leading nine all avoided the accident but from then on Høgenhaug was able to put distance between himself and the rest as he aimed to repeat his IRONMAN Hamburg victory from 2019, his sole full-distance success to date.
So much so that when he came into T2 he was 2:17 in front of Frodeno, with Kallin, Svensson and Heemeryck all just a handful of seconds further back.
Run – Chevrot takes the win
Within the first four kilometres Høgenhaug saw his lead halved, with Frodeno and Heemeryck running side by side as they whittled down the gap.
At the 10km point there was nothing between the leading trio and it was here that Frodeno forged into the lead. At the halfway point he was just over 30 seconds clear of Heemeryck, with Chevrot by now having overhauled Høgenhaug for third.
Chevrot would soon emerge as the big threat and he powered past Frodeno well before the 30km point and never looked back.
He clocked what looked a staggering overall time of 7:26:21, rounded off by a marathon of 2:31:39, but the bike course was almost certainly shortened on account of the accident.
There was a close battle for second, with Heemeryck pipping Høgenhaug and Frodeno and just 38 seconds separating that trio.
IRONMAN Hamburg 2023 Results
PRO Men – IRONMAN European Championship
(*NB bike course shortened to approx 170km due to the accident. No PRO Women’s race in Hamburg)
Sunday June 4, 2023 – 3.8km / 180km* / 42.2km
- 1. Denis Chevrot (FRA) – 7:26:21
- 2. Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) – 7:31:01
- 3. Kristian Høgenhaug (DEN) – 7:31:12
- 4. Jan Frodeno (GER) – 7:31:39
- 5. Jesper Svensson (SWE) – 7:36:13
- 6. Remi Conte (FRA) – 7:44:15
- 7. Franz Loeschke (GER) – 7:45:12
- 8. Kristian Grue (NOR) – 7:46:03
- 9. Dominik Sowieja (GER) – 7:46:10
- 10. Robert Kallin (SWE) – 7:46:14