Milwuakee, US: Jan Frodeno’s ‘second last dance’ at triathlon’s top table produced a stunning victory at today’s PTO US Open in Milwaukee.
In a roller coaster of a race, triathlon’s G.O.A.T defied the PTO World #1 Kristian Blummenfelt, a world class field and advancing years to stay in touch with the leading pack on the swim and the bike, before timing his run for victory to perfection early in T2 when Blummenfelt cramped coming off the bike.
Following a verbal jousting with Blummenfelt in the build-up to the race, which included comparing him to ‘the boy who cried wolf’ – due to his broken pre-race promises to win races in 2023 – Frodeno summoned up all his energy and experience to blow away Blummenfelt and the rest of the field and claim his first ever PTO Tour win and secure his legacy in the sport.
“It’s been an emotional few weeks,” said a euphoric Frodeno. ‘“And having the time to appreciate it is seldom in sport. The days that you can choose your tempo and that you feel really good – they are few and far between. I was thinking back to a year ago and I was in hospital and I’d had my first surgery and to come back here and race the best of the best is just a privilege.”
On his showdown with Blummenfelt, he said: “When Kristian punched me [during the swim] on way to the first buoy, I was like, dude, you can have the changing of the guard, but the throne will stay with me.”
On the fantastic support he enjoyed during a high class day of long distance triathlon racing, he said: “It’s fantastic. You know in the US there’s so much more, it’s bigger, it’s better. The crowds and also the industry comes together here. I missed the season opener here in the US and it’s just fantastic to have great days with friends especially when you’ve had a long drought. It’s been a long while between drinks and so for many people to be so supportive, for such a long time and being able to repay them is truly gratifying. When opportunity is rare, you realise you’ve only got a few shots so you better make use of the bullets left in the tank.”
Second-placed Jason West put in the performance of his life to finish only 27 seconds behind Frodeno and ten ahead of Blummenfelt in third.
“The theme of the day is just never give up no matter what you’re doing,” said an exhausted West, who completed the fastest ever PTO run in just 56:22. “And with a lap and a half to go I felt like the life just left me. I was looking into my soul and I had nothing left.”
“My goal [for the run] is around 55:30 and I didn’t achieve that today. So I’m a little bit disappointed because I had to use so many matches on the bike just to catch back up to that group. So, you know, you can be negative or you can say, Holy shit, look what I just did.”
“What an honour it is to race Jan two times for me before his career is over, to see just how good he is. He’s such a legend and it’s honestly, honestly, just an absolute honour for me to be able to toe the line with him and come up just short of catching him twice.”
Third placed Blummenflet, who suffered a recurrence of the cramping in his left quad that had hampered him in Edmonton at the PTO Canadian Open last year, cut a frustrated man.
“Losing the battle to Jan, it sort of stings,” he said. “I thought especially after 60km on the bike when I was sort of waiting for Magnus to go and I was sort of counting down, I thought, Yeah, I have this in my pockets, but then suddenly it slipped out.”
Asked when he will claim a first PTO Tour win the Norwegian said: “Hopefully in two weeks in Singapore [at the PTO Asian Open].”
How the Action Unfolded
Aaron Royle (PTO World #12) led out of the water in front of packed crowds lining Lake Michigan but the big news was that PTO World #1 Kristian Blummenfelt was right there in the front pack, even beating Jan Frodeno into transition.
The PTO World #1 was soon in pole position and taking the gap to the rest. After a few laps, the front of the race had solidified with Blummenfelt, Mathis Margirier (PTO World #23), living legend Jan Frodeno and the fast-charging Magnus Ditlev (PTO World #2) making up a 1:22 deficit having come out of the water in 21st place.
With around 10km to go, Ditlev put in a dig and initially managed to shake both Olympic Champions out of the leading group but Blummenfelt and Frodeno pulled it all back together by T2. Blummenfelt’s first step off the bike provided drama as cramp struck his left thigh. That led to a slow transition, allowing the others to escape.
With alarming speed, 41-year-old Frodeno was soon leading the race and dropping the rest – every bit the G.O.A.T.
There was plenty of action behind, too. Blummenfelt continued to cramp, losing more time while Ditlev walked off course to a DNF. Jason West (PTO World #16) flew through the field having had to stop to fix his bars during the bike.
Running minutes into the others, the American overtook Blummenfelt, but the Norwegian refused to be dislodged. The pair soared past Margirier to seal the podium but continued to battle, neither giving an inch.
Jan Frodeno came home in first, making it look easy to become PTO US Open Champion for 2023 in 3:14:12 earning $100,000 in the process and the perfect addition to his swan-song season.
The sprint for second and $50,000 went to Jason West – surely his greatest ever performance with a staggering 56:22 run. Blummenfelt took that last podium spot and $35,000, adding more fuel to his desire to become a PTO Open Champion.
Margirier will struggle to fly under the radar again, coming fourth and earning $15,000 while new dad Sam Long rounded out the top five to take home $10,000.
The race was broadcast live around the world to 195+ territories, courtesy of the PTO Tour’s partnerships with Warner Bros. Discovery and a range of other international, regional and local broadcasters including DAZN, beIN Sports and SPOTV. Highlights on CNBC in the US are on Sunday 6 August at 1300 ET and Saturday 2 September at 1400 ET. The women’s race is next up, starting at 1615 local time tomorrow – Saturday 5 August.
For Further Information
Anthony Scammell E: [email protected]
About the Professional Triathletes Organisation
The PTO is a new body, co-owned by the professional athletes, seeking to elevate and grow the sport of Triathlon and take it to the next level. Each PTO Open is raced over 100km (2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run). The PTO European Open on 6 May kicked off the 2023 PTO Tour and is followed by the PTO US Open in Milwaukee on 4-5 August and then the PTO Asian Open in Singapore on 19-20 August. The season is underpinned by the new PTO World Rankings, helping to create a compelling season-long narrative in the sport for the first time.