Both reigning IRONMAN world champions kicked off their seasons with amazing performances. Ryf, 28, won after a tough battle with her countrywoman Caroline Steffen, while Frodeno, 34, dominated the men’s field from the get-go.

Frodeno strong all day

Although the swim course had to be shortened to 1200 meters due to strong winds and waves, only four athletes were able to follow Frodeno’s speed. Australian Josh Amberger tried to stay close to the front on the bike as well, but on the second half of the course, the leader eventually sailed away. Frodeno’s aerodynamic setup looked great in the strong headwinds, and he led Amberger by three minutes when he reached T2.

Once on the run, Frodeno was off. He paced himself to the fastest run split after managing the best bike split, too. Amberger celebrated second place while two other pro athletes fought hard for third place. Bart Aernouts (BEL) outsprinted Terenzo Bozzone from New Zealand on the final 50 meters after they had been running shoulder to shoulder for more than 20 kilometers.

Ryf dominates, Steffen fights

In women’s race, Caroline Steffen had to wait for the final sprint to show her cards as well. After Ryf had put some time on her on the second half of a tough bike ride in the winds of Dubai, she jumped off the bike 2:46 behind last year’s Triple Crown champion.

Ryf was already on the run to another sensational victory when Steffen heard the news that Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN) had started to close the gap. Lehtonen started the run in fourth place, caught up with American Jocelyn McCauley after 7.5 kilometers, and then focused on Steffen. Thanks to the best run split of the day, Lehtonen showed up right behind Steffen after 19 kilometers. It looked like the Finnish would make the pass, but the strong fighter from Switzerland battled Lehtonen down in the final meters.

Top 5 Pro Men

1 Frodeno, Jan DEU 0:16:00 2:02:33 1:13:49 3:34:48
2 Amberger, Josh AUS 0:16:02 2:05:21 1:17:33 3:41:42
3 Aernouts, Bart BEL 0:18:55 2:07:04 1:15:06 3:43:58
4 Bozzone, Terenzo NZL 0:21:37 2:04:28 1:15:28 3:44:01
5 Kovacic, Jaroslav SVN 0:16:15 2:07:54 1:17:31 3:44:35

Top 5 Pro Women

1 Ryf, Daniela CHE 0:20:09 2:17:21 1:20:52 4:01:09
2 Steffen, Caroline CHE 0:20:25 2:19:55 1:21:56 4:05:01
3 Lehtonen, Kaisa FIN 0:21:38 2:21:59 1:18:35 4:05:03
4 McCauley, Jocelyn USA 0:21:55 2:19:42 1:24:12 4:09:27
5 Forrest, Andrea AUS 0:21:51 2:21:55 1:24:06 4:10:51