Vineman 70.3 is being held this weekend in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco with a cracker field of Male and female professional athletes competing for the $50,000 pro prize purse.
2011 Male champion Andy Potts is not returning to defend his crown, however last years 2nd, 3rd and 4th place getters Paul Matthews, Joe Gambles and Graham O’Grady are returning for a shot at the title. Towards the pointy end of the field I think we’ll be seeing Greg Bennett, Callum Millward, Luke McKenzie and no doubt Clayton Fettell, with his killer swim, bike and super improved run. Clayto has won 2 x 70.3 events in North America this summer, he marches to the beat of his own drum and he is moving fast! All the above guys have a real shot at winning this race, with their own racing styles this is going to be great to watch.
Australia is really well represented by Christian Kemp, Josh Rix, and Ollie Whistler, who should also be towards the front keeping the pace high. Kemp has a killer run and has been swimming and riding at the front but he has struggled to join the three together recently. It is only a matter of time.
In the women’s race, 2011 champ Mel Hauschildt is on the start list and would usually be the hot favourite over this distance, however after a stress fracture in her tibia recently and 2 months of very limited running, there is a question mark about her run performance. She was 2nd last weekend to Laura Bennett at the Boulder 5i50, but the 21km run this weekend will certainly be testing for her.
Mel will definitely be kept on her toes by Meredith Kessler, Amy Marsh, Heather Jackson, Joanna Lawn and Rebekah Keat. No doubt Keat will be fiery after her disappointing DNF in Cairns in June. With a handful of talented US girls racing on home soil, this is shaping up to be a great battle.