Ironman World Championship St. George Expert Picks: Pro Men – Elite News

Are you looking forward to an exciting Saturday and the long awaited and delayed 2021 Ironman World Championship In St. George, Utah? We are of course at TRI247.

You can watch all the live streams (details on how, where, when, etc.), check out the starting rosters (Pro Women/Pro Men), and keep up with all the latest news, interviews, and more in our dedicated IRONMAN World Championships section.

Who will fill Saturday’s podium spot?

With the inaugural IM World Championship outside of Hawaii, a new time slot in the calendar, and more than 900 days until the Jan Frodeno and Anne Haug-winning 2019 event, there are plenty of unknowns to try and solve.

It’s time to bring in the experts.Now let us know their insights and predictions for the future men’s professional game.

Do they agree with us…even each other? Let’s find out!


Our expert panel

Our team of experts has no shortage of experience:

  • Heller Frederickson: Heller’s career really peaked as Denmark’s London 2012 Olympic athlete when she transitioned to middle and long track racing. With 37 podium finishes in the 41 events since London 2012, she is well versed in elite performance.
  • Craig Alexander: Better known in the triathlon world as Croy, Craig Alexander is a legend in the sport. A three-time IRONMAN and two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, he even won in the same season in 2011.
Craig Alexander/Crowie/Trimtex
Photo credit: AsiaTri/Marvin Manalang
  • Belinda Granger: With 15 hardcore distance wins and five top-10 finishers at Kona, Belinda knows distance. She is still actively involved in the sport as a Pro Liaison of Challenge Family, and she is a regular on the live broadcasts of Challenge, CLASH and PTO.
Belinda Granger

As always, our panel’s input is collected independently – there are no committee options here. And that – perhaps – even more emphasised the fact that all three chose the same name to rule the long-distance world in Utah. Are they all right…or wrong? !

big picture

Before we delve into the options, Helle Frederiksen gets ready for the competition:

“We seem to have two different groups of athletes who will contribute to the overall dynamics of the race. You have the fastest swimmers who have comprehensives in all three disciplines (Alistair Brownlee, Kristian Blummenfelt, Daniel Bækkegård, etc.) 5-star capability. Then you have a large group of “non-swimmers” who are cyclists of the highest standard in the sport (Wurf, Sanders, Long, Kienle, Høgenhaug, etc.), who will likely form a chasing group and mutual benefit.

“The question will be; how will the fastest swimmers try to keep the pace on the bike to stay ahead? How early can these chasers get there (if they do)? Will they break the front line? Can they run like they are on the lead? Is that the podium?

“It should be an exciting game with a lot of potential for big packs on the run.”

Gustav for doubles

Norwegian Has taken the sport by storm and currently holds World Triathlon and Olympic (Kristian Blummenfelt), and IRONMAN 70.3 (Gustav Iden) champions.From the point of view of the three of us, this would be Gustav Eden Grab the spoils on Saturday.

Belinda cited that dominant 70.3-point win at St. George last year:

“Gustav has already shown us what he can do on this course. There is no doubt that the terrain suits him. He is light but powerful, he climbs like an animal. He is such a well-rounded athlete, You just know he’s hungry for victory and his first world title at that distance. It’s hard to beat for sure.”

Craig is equally clear about his favorites:

“My pick for the guys is Gustav Eden. He was my favorite before all the withdrawals, nothing has changed. I just think he’s so stable and has been for a while The best athlete in the long run.”

Gustav Iden IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship 2021 Completed
Gustav Iden wins the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St. George, Utah
(Getty Images for Iron Man).

The theme continues from Helle, and while she does highlight a potential caveat, she completes Iden’s three perfect points:

“The pitch is right for him, the environment is familiar to him and he showed his quality last year, holding on to a 70.3 world title at St George’s. Gustave has shown that he is not afraid to get a head start in the game, leading from the front , and the same is true in bicycle racing.

“All sources told me he was in very good shape and had a long period of training. He spent a lot of time at the altitude before the game, so St George’s altitude was like sea level to him.

“The only thing against him is that this is only his second full distance IRONMAN, so lack of experience in long distance races may catch up to him. Depending on his usual training volume, his ability to read his body and what he has against St. George’s Familiarity, I bet Gustav.”

All Blu-ray (e) one or two?

Not universal, but both Helle and Craig believe the confidence the Iden-Blummenfelt duo flaunts on the track will be backed up on race day – Olympic gold medalist Christian Blumenfeldt Had to accept silver this time. For the city of Bergen, this will be a considerable reward.

Heller’s take:

“I do believe Christian and Gustav will take advantage of each other, especially on the bikes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to get away on their bikes, but I also don’t think either of them has to win.

“Physiologically, Christian is one of the most gifted athletes, but his real strength may be in his ability to take pain. He showed in Cozumel the distance he could do, training, testing and his The team behind him is enough to make him believe in his abilities.

“It was very special to race for the first time at IRONMAN in his way; he raced intelligently and maturely and put together a quick and complete race. Kristian has the full package and reminds me a lot of Alistair Brownlee, and Kristian is probably more Robust. I’m sure Christian will show up all day and be my second choice. If it comes down to who suffers the most, between Gustav and Christian, my money will go to Christian.”

Christian Blumenfeldt Tokyo 2020 Triathlon
Kristian Blummenfelt wins the triathlon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Craig Alexander, while clear about his weekend favorites, admitted that trying to complete his podium selection wasn’t an easy one:

“The depth of the men’s race is great. I feel like it’s going to be the most competitive world championship we’ve seen in a while, with the race going deep into the marathon.

“I think Ali Brownlee (probably the best pure swim/cyclist/runner we’ve ever seen), Lionel Sanders (can’t possibly be as good as this guy and not a competitor), Kristian Blummenfelt (the most dominant of all distances) strong athlete) for the past two years), Sam Long (confident, in-form athlete rising rapidly), Daniel Bækkegård (70.3 WC medalist), Sebastian Kienle (former IM world champion and all-time great athlete at the distance), David Bækkegård (70.3 WC medalist) McNamee (the first 2 podium finishers at the World Championships) and Patrik Nilsson (IM European Champion) will both be vying for the last two podium spots after Gustav.

“Honestly, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if any of those athletes I just mentioned, or one or two others, were on the podium.”

yo yo yo…

Sanlong Last year’s 70.3 World Championships silver medal, and Belinda repeats it here:

“He always amazes me. You look at him and he defies logic. He’s just that big and kind of stupid and shouldn’t be running that fast. But he’s wholehearted, loves the sport, loves racing.

“The latest crash slowed him down a bit, but as long as he can get this out of his memory bank and not dwell on it, he’ll be fine. I have no doubt that once the gun goes off on Saturday, he’ll be fine. Will go all out and have zero excuses.

“The best thing about Sammy is that he loves to play and play hard! He thrives on attention and he’s going to get a lot out of this event.”

ST. GEORGE, UTAH - SEPTEMBER 18: Men's Pro Championship 1st place Gustav Iden of Norway, 2nd place Sam Long of the United States (left) and 3rd place Daniel Daniel of Switzerland Beckgaard (right) poses during the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships September 18, 2021 in St. George, Utah.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty for IRONMAN

A fairytale ending for Sebastian Kienle?

Is there a player more popular than a podium finisher in his final season at the World Championships? Sebastian KinlerCraig mentioned his potential above – but Belinda prays that the final podium spot will be his:

“Okay, so it’s probably more of an ‘I hope’ than a real option. Sebi has been my favourite for years. He’s always been one of the greatest men we’ve ever seen in our sport. He put his heart on his sleeve and gave his all without any excuse.

“The road to this starting line is a bit bumpy, but as we know there won’t be much for him, so he’ll count that. I just want to see Sebi on the podium!”

2018 IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Photo James Mitchell

Don’t forget the double Olympic champion

It was a tough call, but Helle picked Britain’s Alistair Brownlee to beat Sam Long for the podium:

“There are strong arguments to support the claim that Alistair may be the greatest triathlete of all time. He is a great racer, fierce, extremely competitive and will never be left out. With The upcoming Sub-7 attempt, full distance has been in high focus, leading me to believe that Alistair will be in top shape heading into the starting line, and the IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside is proof that form is just around the corner.

“This all goes to show that Alistair has yet to prove himself to be a consistent IRONMAN performer. The question mark remains whether Alistair will be able to run enough training to maintain form, strength and speed later in the run. Alistair has Full kit, and he’s definitely going to play with a goal on his back. Winning this game will complete his resume. Ali will be there all day, and it seems ridiculous to bet against him, but I’m sure he’ll end up in third.”

Grab your popcorn, now it won’t be too long.

Bottom Line – Expert Picks

gold silver bronze
Heller Frederickson Gustav Eden Christian Blumenfeldt Alistair Brownlee
Craig Alexander Gustav Eden Christian Blumenfeldt Lionel Sanders
Belinda Granger Gustav Eden Sanlong Sebastian Kinler

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