Helle becomes world champion on home soil
Odense, Denmark proved to be the perfect setting for Helle Frederiksen to make her dream come true as she claimed the 2018 ITU Long Distance World Championship. In front of a packed King’s Garden in Odense, Helle pleased home crowds with a thrilling display of strength and endurance to overcome strong opposition and be crowned World Champion.
“This is a dream come true. I cannot believe it, and I think it will take some time for it to settle in,” said Helle.
Competing for the ITU Long Distance World Championships which consists of a 3km swim, 120km bike, and 30km run, Frederiksen always had her eyes set on Gold.
“Very few professionals get an opportunity to become a World Champion on home soil. This was my chance, and I wanted to take it. I’ve prepared meticulously for this race. Turned every stone, found my training rhythm and it was on me to execute.”
Helle put on an exceptional display of speed and strength, always positioning herself at the front of the race. Helle led the competition after the 3km swim, forcing the pace in the water, a pace that only 3 other athletes could follow; Annabel Luxford (AUS), Camilla Pedersen (DEN) and Barbara Riveros (CHI).
After the swim-to-bike transition, the leading four established themselves as a formidable front group and extended their lead on the competition during the 120km bike leg, with Frederiksen proving to be the aggressor.
“It was a hard race. A true race. The bike required some tactics. Annabel and I were clearly the strongest on the bike, but we couldn’t shake Camilla and Barbara. I was getting a little frustrated at times as Barbara is known to be one of the fastest runners in the sport and I felt we were just dragging her around, fearing she would run away with the win, so I really wanted to enter the bike-to-run transition with a gap on Barbara,” explained Helle.
The leading four entered the bike-to-run transition together, despite best efforts to break away by Helle and Annabel. The race was now to be decided by a 30km, 4-loop run taking place in downtown Odense.
“It came down to a running race, and I said to myself before the start that I would back myself no matter the situation,” continued Helle. “Entering T2 with Chilean Barbara Riveros and Australian Annabel Luxford I knew I needed to take ownership if I wanted to win. It was important for me to break the elastic early on, so I made sure I put in a very early surge in pace. This got me a gap quite quickly and running in first, at a World Championships on home ground, was a position I was not prepared to give up without a battle.”
Despite the best efforts of the competition, Helle was simply too strong and conditioned. A storming race-best 1.56.27 run time for the 30km run brought Helle into the King’s Garden finish line full of emotion and to the joy of the home Danish crowd.
My emotions say it all. I wanted this victory, my team and I prepared for winning this race. We turned every stone. We knew it would require my best and I am so proud that I was prepared to deliver it. I felt strong all day and could not have wished for a better outcome.
After a short break, Helle’s focus will turn towards the 2018 IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
“I will enjoy this result and allow the body to recover before putting all my focus on the 2018 IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Denmark is yet to have a female on the podium in Kona and a result like today gives me confidence that I can realistically compete for the podium in Kona this year,” said Helle.