They weren't able to take on Jan Frodeno during the marathon, but Patrik Nilsson and Patrick Lange had a lot to be happy about with their performances at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt.
July 13, 2018 | PERSONALITY|
After Patrik Nilsson watched Sweden lose in the quarter finals the day before the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, he hoped that his impressive runner-up finish would give his home country something to smile about.
"After the game yesterday, I’m very happy," Nilsson said after the race.
Nilsson and Lange were the only two men of the original chase pack behind super-swimmer and cyclist Josh Amberger who were able to stay with Jan Frodeno when he pushed the pace over the final 30 km to bridge up to the Australian.
"The pace was OK – it wasn’t super high and it wasn’t super slow," Nilsson said of the bike ride. "I know Jan tried to pull away a few times, but the group could stay together. It was controlled – standard pace but not crazy. I was kind of surprised that no one pulled away ... Jan’s a good runner and I think he wanted a real battle between him and Patrick, so he was confident enough to stay with the group and be able to do a good run."
Nilsson was surprised himself when he caught Lange over the final few kilometers to move up a spot on the podium from his third-place finish last year.
"We started the run together, but I had some issues with cramps and had to make a quick toilet stop," Nilsson said. "Of course, Patrick is a great runner, so that’s something you don’t really expect."
Despite fading over the second half of the marathon, Lange felt there were a lot of positive aspects to his race.
“This was one of the hardest I’ve done, but the race here in 2017 was even harder, so I’m making some progress in Frankfurt,” Lange said after the race. “I’m happy with third place. I think we saw an excellent competition and we had a good advertisement for the sport.”
For many looking on, Lange appeared to have breakthrough performances in the water and on the bike.
“The swim was pretty good, I was in contact with Jan the whole way, which is what I was planning for and also what I had trained for the last few weeks,” Lange said. “I was really happy with that, then I executed kind of a good bike split, with wattage in my best case scenario. It was smooth and good. The run – I don’t know what happened there after the second lap, but we’ll figure this out and do much better in Kona.”
Lange will now start his build for the Ironman World Championship as he prepares to defend his title.
“I think we will make huge progress in the altitude camp in St. Moritz,” he said. “My body really likes it and I adapt really well to that. I am really looking forward to that – I always come back with great fitness. Then I’ll sharpen up in Texas, the way I did the last two years. It’s a lot of work ahead, but I’m really looking forward to it.”