Epic Field Flocks to Frankfurt

This weekend, one of the best fields this race has ever seen will touch down in Frankfurt for the IRONMAN European Championship.

The IRONMAN European Championship is one of the highlights of the IRONMAN race circuit. This year, the 14th edition of the event, a deep field will show up to test their mettle over a fast but tough course.

Great names have been battling here since the inaugural event in 2002. In fact, fans of the sport look to this race as a preview for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona. This year, the field is more stacked than ever, with 47 pro men and 18 pro women ready to rock the financial heart of Europe and nail down a historic race. Click here for the full start list.


The battle for the German men's title

On the men’s side, the 14th edition defines the next step for IRONMAN racing in Europe. Olympic champion Jan Frodeno will be on the fire very early in this race together with some other extraordinarily strong swimmers. 2010 champion Andreas Raelert decided to start in Frankfurt a few weeks ago, and he should be in the first group in the Lake Langener Waldsee, as well as 2013’s winner Eneko Llanos from Spain, Dutchmen Bas Diederen, Andreas Boecherer (GER), Tyler Butterfield (BMU), Carlos Lopez (ESP), David Dellow from Australia, and 2013 IRONMAN world champion Frederik van Lierde (BEL).

After taking several impressive wins in the past few weeks after a long break due to injury, Boecherer will most likely enjoy some screen time on the bike. He could very well be the man to catch on the bike for defending champion Sebastian Kienle (pictured above). Last year, Kienle clocked a race record time of 7:55:14 thanks to a sensational bike split (4:12:14). It was a perfect way to celebrate his 30th birthday, and the best preparation on the way to become the 2014 IRONMAN world champion three months later. Kienle seems to be stronger in the water and on the run this season. Four weeks out of Frankfurt he celebrated a superb win at the IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau where he was able to hold off Boecherer with a brilliant run.

Kienle will be in the center of attention, but he knows that he's in for a tough day. Last year, he was about 4 minutes behind in the water, and it's clear that fast swimmers like Boecherer and Frodeno will try to get away early on the bike. Frodeno won IRONMAN 70.3 Barcelona in May, and his running speed there was superb. Though he had three flat tires last year in Frankfurt and cramping on the run, he was still able to finish in third place. He is one of the Germans who could bring up the country's male victors at this race to 12.

Steffen and Ryf to battle

The women’s race could bring a Swiss battle to the spotlight in Frankfurt. Two-time champion Caroline Steffen and her fellow countrywoman Daniela Ryf (pictured above) are the clear favorites. Defending champion Corinne Abraham (GBR) is missing, while Germany’s Julia Gajer will fight to secure her second IRONMAN title after winning 2013 IRONMAN Arizona.

Steffen celebrated a victory at the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Vietnam in May and had another sub-9 finish at the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific championship Melbourne in March. But the 37-year old knows how strong Ryf is, who has not lost a race since her runner-up finish at the IRONMAN World Championship in her rookie race there last October. Ryf, the reigning IRONMAN 70.3 world champion, did not only win the IRONMAN 70.3 Mallorca and Switzerland this season, the 28-year old "angry bird" dominated the field.

Gajer was runner-up in Mallorca this year, and two weeks out from Frankfurt she won IRONMAN 70.3 Luxembourg. She is ready to put herself into the mix this year on the marathon course. Tine Deckers (BEL), Kristin Moeller (GER) and Michelle Vesterby (DEN) round out the field, each bringing unique strengths to the field as well.

Tune in for our live show on Sunday, July 5th (German and English) and follow the action on Twitter using the hashtag #IMFrankfurt.


Courtesy: Ironman Asia-Pacific

Originally from: HERE