Triathlon great Jan Frodeno has spoken of his shock and sadness at the tragic accident which claimed the life of a motorcyclist during IRONMAN Hamburg on Sunday.
The motorcycle operator, who was carrying an official race photographer, was killed while the photographer and an athlete were both injured and taken to hospital following the horrific incident.
Three-time IRONMAN World Champion Frodeno later spoke of the moment tragedy had struck as the lead pack in the men’s professional race rode in the opposite direction to the age-group athletes on the two-lap bike course.
Jan Frodeno on Hamburg tragedy
He told NDR: “I was right next to it and saw the bike shatter into what felt like a thousand pieces. I saw the cyclist in front of me, managed to manoeuvre around, and thought, ‘Oh, f***, f***,’ then I turned around and saw the motorcyclist on the ground, and I knew it couldn’t be good.
“Then I heard later on that they were resuscitated. Yeah, in situations like this, everything else becomes secondary. My heartfelt condolences to the family.”
Frodeno was asked for his thoughts about how and why the incident had happened and he he provided a typically measured but honest response. He admitted that he had concerns well before the tragic incident.
Frodo feared ‘complete farce’ would not end well
“So, from a purely sporting standpoint, it wasn’t fair because the motorcycles were simply too close. They were riding in a group, and at some point, you ask yourself, ‘What is this?’ It was a complete farce. And with oncoming traffic as well.
“Like I said, I didn’t see it because I had my head down. I only heard about it. But it was unbelievably tight. There shouldn’t be any motorcycles there. And I know it always needs media coverage. But the athletes’ safety somehow has to come first. And, of course, the safety of the volunteers in this case.”
The news that the motorcyclist had lost his life was only passed to Frodeno after he crossed the finish line in fourth place. He explained his feelings at that moment, explaining: “Well, I didn’t know that, I just found out here at the finish line, and I could sense the atmosphere and read it on people’s faces. But I had no idea what was going on.”