UNDER THE RADAR, KYLE SMITH IS FIT, HEALTHY AND HUNGRY TO CAUSE AN UPSET AT THE IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Local athlete guided by ‘GOAT’ to take on the world’s best at the Ironman World Championships in Utah this week
24 year-old Kiwi, Kyle Smith, from Taupo, with support from Winger Suzuki, is ready to cause an upset as he focusses on becoming the world’s best at the delayed 2021 IRONMAN World Championship in St George next week.
Despite this being only his second ironman distance event, Smith has already proven himself a contender having placed second at IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote earlier this year.
To add further weight to his preparation, Kyle has been gaining vital experience and insight from his training partner, the reigning Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno.
Jan is regarded by many as ‘the Greatest Of All Time’ (GOAT) having notched up three Ironman World Championship titles and two-time Ironman 70.3 World Championship titles.
Despite the opportunity to focus on shorter distance and Commonwealth Games qualifications, it was whilst training with Frodeno that Smith made the decision to focus on longer Ironman distance racing.
“Yeah, that was a difficult decision, but I made that decision to stay here [Girona, Spain] focusing on long course racing and training with Jan,” said Smith
Already in St George preparing for the race next week, Smith reflects on his expectations for his first senior World Champs race, saying:
“With Javier [Gómez Noya] and Jan [Frodeno] out of the race, there’s obviously a lot of firepower that will be missing from that front group.“I think the training I’ve been doing, and every moment of experience drawn from Jan, puts me in a really solid position.
“It’s always going to be a hard race to win – I mean we are talking the best in the world who are going to be there – but I’m 100% backing myself to be up there at the front.
“One advantage I have is that I’m definitely more of an unknown entity. I love the underdog mentality. It’s how I’ve always been.”
Taupo’s Kyle Smith has seen a rapid rise through the sporting ranks, considering at the start of 2021 he was still funding his love of the sport as a bricklayer.
Having been preparing to make the leap as a pro triathlete since 2019, he’s growing in confidence and turning heads around the world with his results including a third place finish at Ironman New Zealand and a second at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote last year. Smith says:
“I think it was actually a good thing getting second in Lanzie – might have been the best thing actually.
“It really annoyed me getting pushed into second having led for so much of the race. I’ve learnt a lot and come back really hungry from it.”
Kyle will be competing at the delayed 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN World Championship in St. George, Utah, USA, on Saturday May 7, 2022. If successful, Kyle will be the first New Zealand men’s winner of the title since it’s inception back in 1978.
Kyle is supported by Canyon bikes, Ryzon, Winger Hamilton, Clif, HUUB, Teamline, Pro Create, Parcours Wheels, and Floe Bottle. Follow Kyle at @kylesmithnzl on Instagram