Frodeno: ‘Blummenfelt makes me lose sleep’

Three-time Ironman world champion believes the Norwegians can't be stopped on the Big Island this year – and can’t wait to return from injury to face them

KAILUA KONA, HAWAII - OCTOBER 12: Jan Frodeno of Germany celebrates after winning the Ironman World Championships on October 12, 2019 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Jan Frodeno is one of the most laidback triathletes in the world, so when he says that Kristian Blummenfelt is making him lose sleep, you know the Norwegian is making a big impression.

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Blummenfelt has won the Olympic title, World Triathlon world title, Ironman world title and become the fastest man ever over the distance in the Phoenix Foundation Sub7 Project, all in the space of 12 months.

“No-one’s in Kristian’s league”

“No-one has ever shown his versatility,” Frodeno said, having travelled to Hawaii ahead of this week’s Ironman World Championship.

“On paper, there is no-one in Kristian’s league. What he has done is simply mind blowing and he is actually raising the bar.

“With his engine, going from going from Sub 7 to coming second in a World Cup [in his hometown of Bergen] to coming here and being hands-down favourite. That is groundbreaking.

“I want to go up against this guy. He makes me lose sleep.”

The 41-year-old German was victorious the last time the event took place in Kona in 2019, but won’t be racing after undergoing hip surgery.

He also missed the first Ironman World Championship of 2022 with a tendon tear and announced in August that 2023 is likely to be his last competitive year of racing.

Kristian Blummenfelt celebrates winning the Ironman World Championship in May (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

“Gustav’s not as hungry”

While he believes that reigning Ironman champ Blummenfelt is more than capable of backing up his St George win in May, he says that training partner and two-time Ironman 70.3 champion, Gustav Iden, isn’t at the same level yet.

“Gustav is physically in his league, but I don’t know mentally. He’s not as hungry and I struggle to put them on the same page.

“Gustav is a great guy and a phenomenal looking athlete, and I do believe he has the potential, but he’s got to prove it. He hasn’t done it yet. He’s won the world championship that everyone forgets about.

“He gave an interview where he said that if I beat him then I’m truly the greatest of the sport. I thought: ‘I will beat you, but I won’t tell my kids about it.’  He’s not there yet. Kristian is.”

“Their capacity to recover is off the charts”

Like many observers, Frodeno struggles to see beyond the pair for Kona victory despite it being the first time either has raced in Hawaii.

“I can’t see anyone winning bar the Norwegians – if they don’t make a mistake,” he added.

“But I struggle to see them making that mistake simply because they’ve tested the race twice in the last two weeks here on the island. Their capacity to recover is off the charts. It is unbelievable.”

Frodeno, the 2008 Olympic champion, believes much of the credit has to go to the Norwegian’s athlete-centric set-up that allows him to move seamlessly between short and long-course racing.

“He’s got a great system. When I raced the Olympics I had to do it from within the federation, and then go and build my own team [for long-course racing]. It helps if the federation takes you there with a smooth transition.”

“I believe I can beat them”

Despite lauding their achievements, does Frodeno feel he still has what it takes to beat the duo and provide a glorious swansong to an already stellar career?

“Yeah, I do. I actually do. I do need the perfect year to do it, but I really want to give it my all.”

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Top image credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman