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Weekend Preview: Ironman Lanzarote, Ironman Texas and much more….
It’s a big weekend on the WTC Ironman circuit this weekend – with the series rolling into Europe and one of the biggest US races in town. When you add to the mix Ironman Florida 70.3, Ironman Austria – and on the domestic scene the Marazion Middle – there’s lots of build up to cover.
Here is your weekly round up of who is racing where!
Starting in Europe we have the iconic Ironman Lanzarote race – and it is a pretty hard race to call due to comebacks, withdrawals, and talented debutants toeing the line.
Representing the British Isles we have Stephen Bayliss, Daniel Halksworth, Oliver Simon, Philip Graves and Bryan McCrystal. Halksworth is in magnificent form, having made an immediate impact by taking a top-10 at Abu Dhabi and second place at Challenge Fuerteventura. He is a great swimmer having represented Jersey at national level and this has begun to translate to top tier triathlons. However, it is his first outing at this distance and by his own admission, he is racing long sooner than in the plan. Whilst he may lead at some point and will be most likely at the front on the bike, it may be that the run will be a voyage of discovery rather than a podium slot. If I’m wrong, and he is top-3, then we have a very special talent on our hands.
Halksworth’s TeamTBB stable mate, Stephen Bayliss has had a mixed start to the year and has been aiming for races later in the year such as Challenge Henley – but he is no doubt up for beating Halksworth and should also figure.
Let’s not forget all about Graves in the mix and he too is a super swimmer and biker and is also likely to be in the mix. He can be a bit unpredictable on the run (Graves DNF here in 2010) but as the former winner of Ironman UK, he is very talented. Graves admitted to me that this is not his A race and he would be happy putting in a solid performance as part of his preparations for Ironman Austria and Ironman New York. Bryan McCrystal will be making his debut at the distance also. Nico Munoz Ward has withdrawn injured.
I believe the overall winner is unlikely to be British, and is most likely to be the former winner (and tipped by Graves) Bert Jammaer. Bayliss and Halksworth, competing for points and pride, may have it within them to join him on the podium with a bit of luck.
In the ladies race we welcome back Bella Bayliss to long distance racing. She took a year out for family reasons but has returned as competitive as ever. The 14-times Ironman winner has won here before – and I think she will win here again.
There are plenty of top British age-groupers here, including Matt Molloy and Russ Cox who will have eyes on age group wins.
Another big race on the calendar, featuring Britain’s fastest Ironman. The race has been downgraded to P-2000, but that has been enough to attract the top pro’s.
Paul Amey, the current British record, has had an indifferent start to the season (DNF at Panama, 7th at San Juan and DNS at Texas) but that was revealed to be down to sickness that was picked up at the San Juan race. Refreshed and fit, Amey is a match for anyone – but will he be capable of hitting his best form with this kind of disruption? I think it’s unlikely, especially against the likes of Rasmus Henning. To compound matters, he also tweeted he has only been solidly training for a month. I think his talent will only see him so far and Henning will continue to extend his form. Amey should still put in a good final position though.
Irishman Robbie Wade will also be here and is a talent. He is based in America and has been working on his swim. The Team Emerald Racing star will be looking to do well.
Toby Radcliffe has withdrawn from the race.
In the ladies race, Corinne Abraham will be looking for a top spot in order to start her bid for Kona qualification. Against a tough field in Galveston she did well and with her injury nightmare last year looking to be behind her, it’s hopefully time she can start climbing the race placings and racking up points.
Ironman Florida 70.3
Rachel Joyce has withdrawn from the race and is instead focussing on a top performance at Ironman Kansas 70.3 instead.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for age groupers Laura Trimble and Sarah Crewe, who have Kona in the bag and will be gunning for Las Vegas.
Ironman Austria 70.3
Eimear Mullan will be starting here and will be looking to build on her great result at Tristar Mallorca. However, Austria offers P-750 and a hefty prize purse and as such has attracted the likes of Caroline Steffen who will be the strong favourite. I’m an optmist however and like how Mullan has been building her tri career so I pick her for a tight podium finish – which she’ll do by combining a strong bike and gutsy run.
There’s also UK action at the Marazion Middle distance race. As ever, the results will be here next week.