Kona’s New King -- Kienle
SRAM-Supported Pro Men Sweep Podium with Kienle, Hoffman and Frodeno
Germany’s Sebastian Kienle already has had an incredible career as a pro triathlete, but he was missing that one crowning jewel – victory at Kona.
On Saturday, he placed that jewel – a traditional Hawaiian Laurel wreath – on his head and was proclaimed King of Kona, the Ironman ® World Champion. The victory made him one of a short and illustrious list of athletes to win a world championship at both the half and full Ironman® distances. Kienle was joined on the podium by fellow SRAM-supported pros Ben Hoffman of the United States and Jan Frodeno of Germany. It marked the first time SRAM athletes would sweep the men’s pro podium at Kona. The three top male finishers, along with women’s pro winner Mirinda Carfrae of Australia all trusted their world championship race to SRAM Red 22 components and Zipp wheels.
Kienle started the day with a strong swim, leaving him only a couple of minutes down to the leaders. His deficit was not an unfamiliar position. The magic happened on his bike. Kienle rides a Scott Plasma5, outfitted with SRAM RED 22. Having 22 usable gears out on the bike course in Kona is critical. The course has over 5,000 feet of climbing and some of the most notorious winds known to the sport. Kienle opted for a 55-42 front chainring combo paired with an 11-26 cassette in the rear. This allowed him to stay in his big ring most of the entire bike leg. Hitting speeds of upwards of 60 mph as well as climbs with gradients of over 15 percent. With the full range of Zipp wheels at his disposal, he chose Zipp’s 808 Firestrike Carbon Clinchers front and rear.
Kienle went on to ride a 4:20:46 bike split, only a couple of minutes slower than Normann Stadler’s 2006 bike course record (set on Zipp wheels) in some of the strongest winds that Kona has seen in a number of years. Kienle closed out the day with one of the day’s faster marathons, leaving him with almost a 5 minute margin over second place and plenty of time to hold his German flag proudly over the finish line.
All photos by BrakeThrough Media