Germany's top triathlete Jan Frodeno left the long-distance classic in Roth, Franconia, as the leader in the final marathon.

The three-time Ironman World Champion, who made his comeback in Middle Franconia after injuring his Achilles tendon, had to drop out after a few kilometers on Sunday with a pained face.

"Everything was fine, but the pain was too great," said Frodeno on Bayerischer Rundfunk.

Even while cycling, he felt a slight tugging.

"It's kind of bitter.

I actually had a really good day."

Before his task, the 40-year-old had led the field.

Cheered on by tens of thousands on the edge of the Main-Danube Canal, Frodeno was the first to get out of the water after swimming 3.86 kilometers.

Even after 180.2 kilometers on the bike, the man from Cologne was in the lead.

But at kilometer three in the final marathon he let the Dane Magnus Ditlev, who had been in second place up to that point, pass him.

"It's just such a blatant back and forth in the pear," reported Frodeno.

On a scale of one to ten, the veteran classified the pain in the Achilles tendon as a six.

"But in my head it's an eleven." Frodeno was not able to take part in the World Championships in St. George in the US state of Utah at the beginning of May.

A tear in the Achilles tendon had stopped the German.