Lucy Charles, the winner of Ironman Lanzarote and the recent Challenge Championship, will certainly be one to watch at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt. We preview the women's race.
July 8, 2017 | NEWS|
There's been lots of talk about the stacked men's field set to go after the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt tomorrow, but not as much noise has been made about the women's race. That's probably in part because the big women's news this weekend has been centered around Daniela Ryf going after Chrissie Wellington's world-best time in Roth, but there's some interesting stuff on the women's front getting ready to go down in Frankfurt, too.
Thursday's press conference featured two German women - Anja Beranek, who finished an impressive fourth in Kona last year and was the only woman in the same postal code of Ryf off the bike and Sonja Tajsich, who is fresh off a brilliant runner-up finish in Brazil.
In our minds, though, the woman to watch in Frankfurt is Lucy Charles. A wire to wire win in Lanzarote in May was followed up by a come-from-behind victory at the Challenge Championship in Samorin. Charles won that race thanks to a blazing last five km on the run - impressive stuff from a former national team swimmer.
According to some updates we've seen on Twitter, Charles will be armed with a new bike - Charles was one of the triathlon crew that got dropped by Boardman bikes this year and, from the photos we've seen, will be on a Specialized Shiv tomorrow in Frankfurt. She obviously bounced back from Lanzarote in fine style (oh to be 23 again) and has proved that she can run after running down Heather Wurtele and Annabel Luxford in Samorin. If she can pull off another big day in Frankfurt tomorrow Charles will put herself into Kona conversations - she can outswim all the women in the field and she's putting the pieces in place to be able to stay near the front through the rest of the day.
It won't be an easy task, though, in Frankfurt. While Charles will likely be in front out of the water (she was almost three minutes up on Beranek in Samorin, for example), whether or not she can maintain that gap off the bike will be the question. As good as they marshall the course in Frankfurt, things do get congested on the bike course and the rest of the women will have lots of company to ensure they keep up a torrid pace on the bike. Beranek is likely to rip the bike course apart in Frankfurt, so we could see her and Charles in close proximity starting the marathon.
Another woman who has also managed to sneak into Frankfurt relatively under the radar is Liz Lyles, a four-time Ironman champion who set a course record in winning Ironman Brazil last year (8:54). Canadian Magali Tisseyre is a newbie to full-distance racing - she had a 10th-place debut in Brazil in an impressive 9:09 - and appears to have what it takes to compete at the highest level, too.
If, as he joked he'd do on Sunday, Sebastian Kienle manages to make the men's race a boring affair, the excitement could come from the women's race in Frankfurt. Whether or not we see a Kona contender emerge will be something we'll keep a close eye on.
You can check out the entire start list here.