What should have been one of the highlights on the Ironman calendar, turned out in a tragedy. A horrific accident on the bike section of IRONMAN Hamburg on Sunday left a motorcycle operator dead and an official race photographer and race participant injured and receiving treatment in hospital. So it meant the event was completely overshadowed by the tragic news. But the race itself – this season’s European Championship for men – did continue and here is how it unfolded...
With a late push and position change in the final hundred meters of the marathon, Kristian Hogenhaug took home 3rd place at the Ironman European Championship in Hamburg. The BMC Pro athlete raced in front of the race all day long after an incredible swim performance, pushing the pace on the bike and giving his all on the run. With a finish time of 7:31:12, Kristian crossed the line just 11 seconds shy of second place. Dennis Chevrot (FRA; 7:26:12) broke the tape with Pieter Heemeryck (BEL; 7:31:01) finishing in 2nd place.
The day in Hamburg couldn’t start any better for Kristian Hogenhaug. As a leading group of 12 athletes was formed during the swim, Kristian managed to match the pace and settled well inside the front bunch. All 12 athletes exited the water following in each other’s footsteps to take on the flat 2 looped bike course.
After losing some time in T1, Kristian first turned up at the front of the race around the 50k mark. From that point on, he tried to push the pace and opened up a gap for a first time. After a few kilometers the Dane realized no damage was done as a big group op 9 athletes, started the second lap all together. Things started to shift in that second lap. Just past the 100k mark, Hogenhaug pushed the pace for a second time, with success. At the turnaround with 35k to go, the BMC athlete had opened up a gap of 34 seconds over a group of 4 athletes including Jan Frodeno. Kristian kept his pace and managed to increase his lead towards T2. A quick transition this time, ensured him to start the closing marathon with an advantage of 2’10.
With a solid 3’50/km pace, Hogenhaug ticked off the first kilometers. At the beginning of the second of four laps, Kristian had to settle for 3rd as he saw Frodeno and Heemereryck pass by. A few minutes later also Chevrot made a move over Hogenhaug, but he wasn’t faced by those actions. Kristian kept managing his pace and knew there was still a lot to play for. Just before the final lap the Danish athlete clawed back and trailed 3rd place by less than 15 seconds. With 12k to go, Hogenhaug made the pass for 3rd again, but couldn’t really shake Heemeryck to secure that position yet. So, together they started the hunt towards Frodeno in 2nd place. With 3k left to run, the difference between 2nd and 4th position, was brought back to 22 seconds. Kristian knew it would all come down to the wire and went all in. In the very last kilometer of the race, he made a pass to claim 3rd place at the Ironman European Championship in Hamburg. Eventually, Hogenhaug finished the race only 11 seconds behind the runner-up position of Heemeryck.
An excellent all-round performance of Kristian Hogenhaug resulted in an incredible finishing time of 7:31:12. After exiting the swim with the lead group, pushing the pace on the bike and not surrendering on the run, Hogenhaug can look back at his race very proudly.
Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier a devastating incident with fatal consequences occurred during the bike leg of the race today. The team would like to express its condolences to family, friends and everyone involved.