The BIG RACE is on in less than 3 days time. The entire triathlon industry and community are hooked on KONA right now. We look to see who will possibly be crowned the Champions of the World for 2018
Predicting the winners is only slightly easier than winning the Lottery. Each year, the best of the best line-up to take on arguably what is the sport of triathlon’s greatest prize. The Olympic Triathlon is a BIG SHOW but it only comes around once every 4 years. Kona comes to us each OCTOBER and with it, a huge supply of supremely conditioned male and female PRO’s who will take to the start-line. They are all hoping to be the one that gets crowned with the winner’s wreath on Ali’i Drive.
We are taking a flyer here. We may be wrong, we may be right. However, we are willing to put our chops on the block and tell it like we think it is.
Outright favourite has to be defending champion Daniela Ryf.
This lady seldom has an off-day and if she does, it just means she does not finish more than 20 minutes ahead of her fellow competitors. Such is her dominance and strength that the male competitors regularly match themselves against her in some of the races. “If I finish ahead of Daniela, I am guaranteed a 5-10 overall” you might hear them say.
Having recently won the 70.3 World Champs in South Africa, she should be in supreme form to win once again. As we know from past experience, things don’t often follow the script. Especially in KONA when so many other variables come into play. Heat/Wind/Just an Off-Day/Other. So many factors can influence the perfect race that often, the clear favourite might not actually win it in the end
Another big contender will be Lucy Charles.
When that gun goes off, she is going to put down the hammer over the 3.8km swim like nobody’s business. The intent, to put a huge margin between her, Daniela and the other stellar ladies in the field after around 47 minutes of swimming so she can get to work on that bike and start the day in the lava fields upfront. She knows Daniela is going to come and based on Lucy’s bike leg at the recent 70.3 champs, she is not going to let Ryf go.
We reckon that if Lucy comes off the bike with Daniela, she is going to win this race – yes Daniela is a more accomplished runner but we are predicting that if Lucy is off on the run together with Ryf, Daniela will crack and Charles will win. That is just what we say – whether true or not remains to be seen but we are confident that short of mechanical issues on the bike – these 2 fine ladies will lead off the bike in KONA.
Underdog of the day will be a little lady from Germany called Anne Haug.
She was 3rd at the 70.3 champs and ran the day’s fastest run split. She comes off the ITU WTS PRO Circuit so the speed is there – the experience at the endurance part of the sport is her only chink in the armor right now. We are confident that she will run the day’s fastest marathon – if she is within ear-shot of the two ladies mentioned already off the bike, she might even get that 2nd or 3rd wind and run past them within the last couple of km’s on the run.
Another dark-horse could be former champion Mirinda Carfrae.
She has been out of the sport for a good while now after having given birth. Now she is hungry to get back into the action. When an athlete at her level has to sit and watch while the other ladies perform, it stirs up a hunger like no other. She will be an eager beaver to get out there and show the triathlon world that she still has it. Fellow females will tell you that after having given birth, they are almost always stronger than before. So, she will be a serious contender for a podium place.
And finally, watch out for Sarah Piampiano.
Taking a win at Ironman 70.3 Lima with both the fastest run and bike splits, and finishing on the podium for all her 70.3 and Ironman races in 2018, she is certainly one to watch.
There are 42 fantastically fit ladies that will toe the start-line on Saturday – They all want to win but only 1 can. Who do we think will win?
Top 6 Ladies Prediction
- Lucy Charles
- Anne Haug
- Daniela Ryf
- Mirinda Carfrae
- Sarah Piampiano
- Sarah True
With Jan Frodeno unfortunately side-lined due to a stress fracture, the race is wide open for a change. We would have put good money on Jan to win again had he been racing. He had a shocking race last year and he was ready to put things right this year for sure. The stars in the sky had other plans for him however….
So, who do we reckon will take it? Not Patrick Lange again. He had his year last year and we reckon he is a good top 5 bet. However, we don’t think he will win again.
With Jan Frodeno out of this year’s race, the front pack of swimmers could be slower and weaker than previous years. A large second pack of swimmers including Lionel Sanders, Joe Skipper, and Cameron Wurf is likely to form. These are all serious bike powerhouses and they could soon find themselves driving the front of the field
Lionel Sanders has improved his swim times well enough to exit the water more or less where he wants to be.
The bike is his weapon of choice and he is not going to play safe and hang pack like most of the other top contenders. He will go for it. He will be hoping that the social media rivalry between Andrew Starykowicz and Cameron Wurf as to who is going to dominate the bike leg will play into his hands and help him win the title this year.
You cannot go the bike ride alone upfront and survive the marathon. If Wurf and Starykowicz attack the bike like we know they are going to do, Sanders is going to try and hook the train and see if he can hang with them into T2. He would be the class runner of the trio and should he come off the bike ahead of the chasers – we cannot see another potential “Lange” move in the late stages of the marathon that will see someone else pass him for the win. This guy wants it bad and if he is in front, no-one is going to smell him until they cross that red mat.
Wurf is due a good marathon.
If he comes off the bike in the top 3, a few minutes ahead of the other contenders, we feel he might just crack a top 5. Starykowicz on the other hand? We predict he will go for the bike course record and then burn out on the run.
The SUPREME dark horse has to be Javier Gomez Noya.
This dude seldom has a bad race, and a bad race for him is a 3rd place. This guy is going to hang tough on the swim – be there on the bike and then make his move on the marathon. If Sanders starts to blow during the early part of the run, Gomez Noya will take it on the run – you can take that prediction to the bank.
Sebastian Kienle will be thereabouts on the bike and early parts of the run.
But, we reckon he has had his best days in Kona and will be good for a top 5-10 if things go well.
Keep an eye on Joe Skipper, who is an incredibly strong Bike-Runner.
If he finds himself in contention at T2 he could challenge for the top spots on the podium. A series of good results throughout the year (1st at Ironman UK and 2nd at Ironman Hamburg) with strong run legs will see him with the confidence to battle the best of them.
Outsider of the Year could be Braden Currie.
He is a tough kiwi who does not know the meaning of suffering.
Tim Don is on the start line.
After last year’s horrendous pre-race episode and all that he has done to get back to the start-line for this year’s event, we feel he might just surprise himself and sneak into the top 6. He has less pressure on him. Therefore, should be able to deliver some of his best form on the day to reclaim his spot as one of the best Ironmen on the Planet.
Other noteworthy male triathletes that we predict will be in the running are Matt Hanson and Joe Skipper. Hanson took the top spot this year to get the World Record for Ironman, overtaking Don’s iconic performance.
Top 9 Men’s Predictions
- Lionel Sanders
- Javier Gomez Noya
- Braden Currie
- Cameron Wurf
- Patrick Lange
- Tim Don
- Sebastian Kienle
- Matt Hanson
- Joe Skipper