Frodeno talks strategy

We caught up with Jan Frodeno and the rest of the men's podium after their race at Ironman Austria yesterday.

| July 3, 2017 | PERSONALITY

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

After falling ill with a virus a month out from Ironman Austria, Jan Frodeno was pretty sure he wasn't ready to try and take on Marino Vanhoenacker's course record at Ironman Austria. On a surprisingly slow day in Klagenfurt Frodeno was the only athlete under the eight hour mark. We caught up with Frodeno along with runner-up Eneko Llanos (ESP) and third-place finisher Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) after the race.

 

Photo >Getty Images for Ironman

Jan Frodeno

After the race you told us, just as you did last year in Roth, that you really suffered out on the course today.

It’s what I do. I guess you have to be good at suffering if you want to be good in my line of work. I don’t particularly enjoy the pain, but somehow I manage to go deep when I need to. I have somehow captured that realization that Ironman is all about going through the motions and it will be all right and you can always hope for coming out and having highs and lows, but when you’ve got a short preparation like this one because of some sickness, you know there’s no going back, it’s just going to be hell from then on and that’s what it was today.

Did you try to go after the course record early on, then realize things weren't lining up for a fast day?

I was looking at the numbers and I was missing 20, 25 watts. When you’re going after a bike time by someone like Marino, who is a solid biker on any day, especially in conditions like this – this course would suit him to a T – then you know there’s not really much that’s going to be happening. That’s what I said before the race. The clock doesn’t care about tactics or anything like that. I knew that if I got a bit of a gap in the swim and the guys were bunched up at the back, they would look at each other in the bunch for sure and that must have happened … Ivan and Eneko can definitely ride faster if they need to. That was my game plan and that was all I had today. It was evenly paced out and honestly I didn’t attack anywhere because I couldn’t.

You seem to be getting more and more comfortable with long-distance racing.

I (now) know what I need to do and I enjoy it. Even in the training … most of the guys I train with have a higher threshold than me and they are quicker in certain areas, but I can somehow put myself through the paces when everyone else starts slacking off. I love it. I can’t really explain why, but somehow it helps for Ironman.

You seemed to be trying to really hone in your aero position today - are there some things you're working on?

It’s narrower in the whole system – arms and shoulders tucking in a bit more. The main thing is working on comfort – to be able to hold that position. For most of the time today, unless I was climbing, I was in the position 100 percent of the time. When you’re missing 20 or 25 watts from your peak performance that helps a lot. It’s a bit like the water – if you’re trying to fight the water you’re going to lose, and it’s the same on the bike. If you’re fighting the wind and fighting the aerodynamics you’re going to lose. I’m really happy with the results and progress we’ve made in that.

I think we noticed some new equipment?

Yes, a new helmet and a new front wheel. It’s cool to have partners on board developing products with me. Being part of projects like that is super cool and exciting. 

Photo >Getty Images for Ironman

Eneko Llanos

You were second today, but you must be happy with your race.

I’m happy. It’s been a long time since I did a good Ironman race – I’ve had problems in my last two or three years racing Ironman and today was a good race for me. I didn’t have any problems and I could do a good run, so I’m happy with that.

What have the issues been?

Stomach an gut problems. I’ve been trying many different things to solve them and nothing’s worked, but today I managed to get my stomach working on the run and I had enough energy to do a good run.

This must give you some confidence now, though.

I had a very bad start to the season, so to get this good result gives me a lot more confidence for the future.

Photo >Getty Images for Ironman

Viktor Zyemtsev

You won this race a number of times, beginning in 2002, but, at 44, this must have been one of your best performances here.

I am happy because every year I see the competition in Ironman become stronger and faster, so for me third today is great. It was some fast competition, very strong athletes. I think I made some mistakes during my preparation because I felt pretty bad on the bike, but I was patient and suffered.