Magnus Ditlev admits his victory at Challenge Roth recently was “the perfect day”, but he is now targeting another one in Kona in October.
The giant Dane has only competed in two full-distance races so far, but has been hugely impressive in both.
Ditlev first produced an epic duel with Ben Hoffman at IRONMAN Texas earlier this year, just missing out on the win after a fantastic sprint finish. That came after he had lost around nine minutes due to a puncture on the bike.
The 24-year-old then stepped up on that by roaring to a sensational victory at the classic that is Challenge Roth. He came home well clear of a quality field after Jan Frodeno was a DNF early on the run.
Ditlev joined six-time Kona king Mark Allen this week for an in-depth interview on his ‘Road To Kona’ YouTube series, and talked at length at the challenges the ‘Big Island’ will present.
Ditlev on Roth vs Kona
He said: “There’s a huge difference (between Roth and Kona). Both events are very big and I guess mythical you could say.
“The dynamics are quite different – in Roth you had those really big names but in Hawaii the depth I think is deeper. The overall level of the field is better. The bike course, depending on the wind conditions, can also be a little bit tricky.”
Ditlev’s big weapon of course is the bike, but he is already pondering how the conditions in Hawaii could impact his chances of capitalising on it.
“I don’t necessarily want to bring everyone along on the bike. If there’s a big crosswind it might be good for me, but if the wind is not blowing a lot or if it’s a tailwind then it’s can be tricky to get away.
“In Roth on the hills I was able to do some damage and make some gaps to the other guys.”
Handling the heat in Hawaii
The other thing which has scuppered so many victory bids in Kona is the brutal heat and humidity. Magnus though is confident he can cope.
“I think I showed in Texas – probably the Ironman that is closest to the temperature conditions in Kona – that I am able to handle that quite okay.
“We did a lot of heat testing and cool protocols going into Texas and it’s definitely something we are going to dig more into when we start really preparing for Kona.
“Going into Texas we did the heat at home and it worked quite well I think, so maybe that and going to Kona three weeks before to really learn the island and the conditions.”
Tackling Blu and Iden
Back to the bike, and Ditlev knows that it will be crucial to his expected battle with two fellow Scandinavian stars – the Norwegian greats Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden.
“It will be a huge factor in my race, I think the Norwegians are probably going to swim a little bit faster than me or around the same.
“So if everything goes to plan for me there will be a situation where I have to overtake them and not bring them to the front of the race. I think that will be quite crucial to how the whole race plays out.”
The likes of Blummenfelt, Iden, Frodeno and the rest will provide formidable opposition for Ditlev, but he is not at all intimidated.
“I know what great athletes they are. I also know I will need to perform to the best of my ability across all three disciplines. But if I do that I also know that I have the capability of going head to head against them.
“I just can’t wait for October!”