“Clearly Daniela Ryf and Kristian Blummenfelt are on top of their game”.
This was Mark Allen’s main takeaway from the Collins Cup in the most recent episode of his “The Road to Kona” series on YouTube. The two defending champions impressed the triathlon legend with dominant performances last month at the Collins Cup and he expects them to keep up the momentum heading into Kona.
The six-time IRONMAN World Champion also touched on Alistair Brownlee‘s last-minute qualification and was careful not to count out the two-time Olympic Champion, whose 2:40 marathon split at IRONMAN Kalmar will have some opponents looking on anxiously.
Collins Cup sends strong message
At the Collins Cup, second and third quickest finishers Ashleigh Gentle and Paula Findlay were significantly adrift behind Ryf. However, those two won’t be racing Kona this year. Long-course challengers Anne Haug and Laura Philipp both raced alongside Ryf for Team Europe in Samorin, but their times were around five minutes behind the Swiss athlete, albeit in different match-ups.
Allen believes that after sickness made for a tough year for Ryf in 2021, the result in August “was probably made even sweeter”.
Allen notes that Blummenfelt was “showing he’s on form and firing”, with his compatriot Gustav Iden close to two minutes behind him in Slovakia. However, the “most telling result” in the eyes of Allen was the gap to Patrick Lange, with the former Kona winner more than 17 minutes behind after struggling with a Covid-19 infection prior to the race.
Lange will be one of many esteemed athletes heading to Kona with a point to prove. The German will be accompanied by Alistair Brownlee, who is “clearly over his injuries after a 7:38” to qualify for Kona in Sweden last month.