The Road to Kona: Frederik Van Lierde

With three podiums, including two wins, in his last three races, Frederik Van Lierde is raring to reclaim the Ironman World Championship title he earned in 2013.

When asked about his goal for 2018, Freddie says “chasing another podium in Hawaii” without hesitation. As the iconic event celebrates its 40th year, the Belgian athlete is marking a significant anniversary of his own: On Oct. 13, he will toe the line for the 10th time. Since his first trip to Kona in 2009 Freddie has finished in the Top 10 four times, on the podium twice, and on top of the world in 2013.

If there’s been a common thread to Freddie’s impressive 2018 season, it’s been his build-up to Kona. After climbing to the top of the all-time win list at Ironman France, and then going two-for-two by winning his very first Alpe d’Huez Triathlon, Freddie spent three weeks at the French National Altitude Training Camp Centre. "Back in Font Romeu with a brand new machine!" he tweeted while showing off the brand-new Cervélo P5X he plans to ride in Hawaii. The hashtag he included: #roadtohawaii.

A few weeks later at Ironman 70.3 Nice, the Cervélo athlete showed his fine form and mental toughness by running from fifth to second place in the final 5 kilometres. With the Ironman World Championship less than four weeks away, “it’s always best to gauge your fitness in races rather than in training," Freddie said afterwards.

Since then, his regimen has been fast and furious: On the trainer (posted on Twitter with the #NoSweatNoGlory hashtag), motor pacing with coach Luc Van Lierde, in the pool, and on it goes — all the way to the Big Island!