Kristian Blummenfelt narrowly avoided disaster not once but twice to smash through the Sub7 barrier in Germany on Sunday.
The Olympic Champion, WTCS Champion and IRONMAN World Champion is always box office, and once again we had some memorable moments as he blasted his way to a finishing time of 6:44:25.
Near miss number one came during a blistering bike leg, when he clipped the rear wheel of Matt Bottrill as a rider ahead almost crashed. Blummenfelt himself admitted that in that exact moment he could see only one thing – himself hitting the tarmac.
Blummenfelt bike near miss
The 28-year-old from Bergen admitted: “It was full gas from the gun and I almost went down there early on the bike. That got my heart rate up.
“It was a tough day… It was brutal just to stay on the wheel to these guys. And also a massive thanks to Joe and his team for the tough battle. Luckily we managed to sneak just in front.”
Blummenfelt’s second flirtation with disaster came on the run when his run reserve Lani Rutto crashed off his bike as Blu handed him back a bottle. But he stayed upright to run down Joe Skipper and claim a famous victory by just over three minutes.
While those 6 hours 44 minutes and 25 seconds passed in the blink of an eye on Sunday, the preparation for this bid had been long and intensive. Something Blummenfelt referenced in his post-race comments.
“It’s been an amazing two years of building the team together and preparing for this event. It’s been an epic challenge.”
Skipper has bite and bark
The (friendly) war of words between Skipper and Blummenfelt had been a feature of the build-up to this event. So when Joe stepped in at just a few days’ notice for the injured Alistair Brownlee, the event still retained plenty of interest.
Their face-off during race week and then all that barking during passes on Sunday added to the narrative, as did Skipper’s claim that he could nail a 3:20 bike leg helped by his elite time trial team.
As it turned out he went even faster, clocking 3:16:42 after an epic display of power and precision at the Dekra Lausitzring. He was also bang on with his prediction (he predicted 6:47:00 and finished in 6:47:36).
Some experts described that 3:20 prediction as “bonkers”, but the results on Sunday showed it wasn’t just some wild target to drum up publicity.
“All week we were practicing race pace efforts, getting a feel for it,” said Skipper afterwawrds.
“They couldn’t have done any more; we did the best we could. And then in the race on the bike we took it to Kristian as best we could.
“It was a shame I lost a bit more time in the swim than what I’d hoped. But we did a really good bike, quicker than what we were hoping for. And then on the run, I was just hoping he was going to blow [up] to be honest, like after he caught me, but he didn’t.”