The Olympic champion came from behind on the 21.1-mile run, chasing down Magnus Ditlev of Denmark to add one final victory to what many are calling the most accomplished triathlon season ever. In addition to his gold medal at the Tokyo Summer Games in July, Blummenfelt also won the WTS World Championship this year. And two weeks ago he set a new world record time for the Ironman distance.
Blummenfelt’s win at the iconic motorsports venue netted him the $15,000 winner’s purse. It came just 13 days after he shocked the triathlon world by setting a new world record time at Ironman Cozumel in his first-ever attempt at a full-distance Ironman.
The CLASH Daytona event, formerly known as Challenge Daytona, hosted more than 2500 competitors from around the world for the three-day festival in Florida. It featured a 2 km swim, 80 km bike, and an 18 km run.
American Ben Kanute was first out of the water, with Blummenfelt close behind in a large chase group about 20 seconds back. From there, Blummenfelt powered through the 90-mile ride on his Trinity Advanced Pro bike. Riding with his Giant Rivet TT helmet and CADEX WheelSystem, the 27-year-old Norwegian stayed near the front of the pack to the second transition and entered the run about 2 minutes behind Ditlev.
“I’ve seen that both here last year and in Miami I think he [Ditlev] was riding really strong but then fading in the last half of the run,” Blummenfelt told tri247.com after his win. “I kind of had that in mind. I didn’t want to risk going [all] out myself if he was going to do that. Trying to stay a little bit controlled on the bike as well, having the run in mind.”
The strategy paid off. Once he hit the run, Blummenfelt started to eat into Ditlev’s lead. Halfway through, it was down to 57 seconds. Running four laps of the speedway, Blummenfelt made the catch near the end of lap three.
“I thought I could just kind of pass without him trying to stay on my feet,” Blummenfelt said. “But then I saw in the shadow that he was trying, I just tried to kind of cut that elastic band as fast as possible and open up the gap.”
Leaving the Dane behind, Blummenfelt kept the jets on, running away to win with a time of 3:08:31. Ditlev held on for second, 1:37 back. Rudy Von Berg took the final podium spot, 2:58 off Blummenfelt’s winning time.