Friday, 10 October 2014

Ironman World Championship 2014 - Pro Male Preview

The Ironman World Championship goes off on October 10th.  Last year I was way off, picking the race to unfold as a dominant swim group that paced smartly on the bike and ran away from the field with a top three of Bevan Docherty, Andreas Raelert and Pete Jacobs.  The first two DNF'ed and the third walked it in for a 3:30 marathon and a 78th place finish overall.  The combination of Andy Potts scratching on race morning and favourable currents had almost the entire field come out of the water together and the cyclists blew the race apart.  

2014 Executive Summary
This year with Potts back in the field and a slew of former ITU guys in the race, I'm doubling down on the fast front swim group playing havoc with the usual race strategy.  These guys get out front and are able to moderate effort through town and the first part of the bike as the other guys chase to catch up, which at the end of the day could save those thoroughbred legs for later in the run.

The top two swimmers from last year (Brandon Marsh and Clayton Fettell) are both at home, but no matter - Andy Potts, Harry Wiltshire, Marko Albert, Jan Frodeno, Ivan Rana, Igor Amorelli, Frederik Van Lierde, Tim O'Donnell, Pete Jacobs, Bevan Docherty and Dan Halksworth are all able to put a gap into guys like James Cunnama, Tyler Butterfield, Craig Alexander and others who were able to swim up front last year. Also bad news for the guys like Sebastien Kienle and Bart Aernouts who will for sure be off the front on the swim. 

The one certainty here is that Andrew Starykowicz goes to the front early and rides away solo.  If we get the truly hard bike day that people seem to think is in the forecast, there may be carnage on the return trip.  I expect the top runners to mark each other, and those that have great bike legs (Rana and Frodeno having shown great form this year) to take risks to go with the right guys on the trip home.  I expect Starky first into T2, with or without Marino and Kienle who will make a charge to the front.

I think Frodeno, Rana and Eneko can get some separation on the bike from the other super-runners (Docherty, O'Donnell) and it's then their race to duke out, with the Olympic Champ taking the title after reeling in the fading MVH late in the run.

Top ten prediction:
1. Jan Frodeno GER
2. Ivan Rana ESP
3. Eneko Llanos ESP
4. Bevan Docherty AUS 
5. Marino Vanhoenacker BEL
6. Tim O'Donnell USA 
7. Frederik Van Lierde BEL
8. Andy Potts USA
9. Bart Aernouts BEL
10. Tyler Butterfield BER

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