2009 Gold Coast Half Ironman champion Clayton Fettell has confirmed he will start this Sunday and attempt to defend his crown, although he admits it will be tough having just recovered from a stress fracture. Determined to wrestle the title from him and claim his first win in this event after two second places, Tim Berkel.
24 year old Fettell from the small country town of Alstonville on the North Coast of NSW is renowned for his strong swim, bike combination and will again employ the same tactics to ensure he gets a good lead out onto the run. â€œLast year I had good lead going into the run, it was about 10 minutes but Tim (Berkel) is a great runner and I knew I’d have to keep it together. I’m sure he’ll be looking to keep a lot closer this year.
â€œThe plan is to attack on the swim and bike then keep my form on the run, there’s a lot of good guys in the field so I’ll have to be on the top of my game,â€ said Fettell. Fettell has been under the guidance of 2009 Australian Institute Coach of the Year Craig Walton, arguably the best swim, biker in the world of triathlon before his retirement in 2007 and Fettell displays the same trade mark that was so successful for Walton in his stellar career.
This race is also a big part of Fettell’s preparation for his assault on the Noosa Triathlon on 31 October when he will come up against his old coach, Walton when he makes a return to the sport.
Berkel will enter Sunday’s race as the favourite following a successful Northern summer season that included his second career win at the Ironman distance (3.8km swim, 180km cycle 42.1km run) at Challenge Copenhagen which catapulted him to 5th place in the world Ironman rankings. After a short layoff to recuperate, Berkel is now into full preparation for the 70.3 World Championships 21.1km run) on October 3.
â€œThis race and the Port Macquarie Half will form part of my preparation for the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater on November 13. â€œIt would be great to start off with a win at the Gold Coast but there are some really good guys racing so I will see how it unfolds,â€ said Berkel.
Since leaving Australian shores to set up camp in Boulder, Colorado in May Tim has produced some impressive performances during the Northern summer season, collecting a second at Providence Rhode Island, third at Boise, Idaho and fourth in New Hampshire. But for now Tim is happy to be heading home to race the Australian season for six months.
â€œI really enjoy being based in Colorado for six months but equally love coming home to race some of my sentimental favourites which include the Gold Coast.â€
Berkel and Fettell will be up againstÂ some tough competition from New Zealand’s James Bowstead, attempting to claim that elusive top spot after finishing 3rd last year. 21 year old Joseph Lampe will also be looking to improve on his 4th place from 2009. Lampe who hails from Lennox Head in NSW has a great swim, run combination but the bike leg let him down last year. Victorian Leon Griffin finished second at Geelong 70.3 earlier in the year but has been quiet since but still one to watch along with Peter Schokman, fourth at Geelong and winner of the Yeppoon Half Ironman last month with a half marathon time of 1:13.
Top Kiwi contenders include Michael Poole who claimed the scalps of Berkel and Bowstead at the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman this year and youngster Callum Millward.
Past champion Paul Amey is keen to test himself five years on from his win in the race and could be the dark horse.
Canberra’s Michelle Wu will head into this weekend’s race a clear favourite with her recent good form at home and overseas. Wu claimed her first title on the Ironman 70.3 circuit in Nagoya, Japan last weekend ahead of fellow Australian Rachael Paxton. Wu, finished second at the Yeppoon Half Ironman earlier this month before jetting overseas, first stop Korea for a few shorter distance races to warm up ahead of her win in Japan. Also racing strongly this year is Nicole Ward who recently placed 5th at Yeppoon and 2nd at the tough Port Douglas long course triathlon. Nicole has a good racing base from earlier this year where she competed at Geelong, New Zealand Ironman, Busselton and Ironman Coeur D’alene amongst other races.
Returning and intent on improving from last years’ third place is Queenslander Sarah Pollett.
Tasmanian Amelia Pearson has also signed up for the event and will use this race as preparation for the upcoming Ironman Western Australia in November.Â
Other contenders will be Rebecca Eveleigh who finished fifth last year and Marion Prylik, always solid performers.
|Bib No.||Name||Gender||City / Suburb||Country|
|2||Tim Berkel||Male||Port Macquarie||Australia|
|3||James Bowstead||Male||Waiuku||New Zealand|
|4||Joseph Lampe||Male||Lennox Head||Australia|
|5||Leon Griffin||Male||Kangaroo Flat||Australia|
|8||Michael Poole||Male||Epsom||New Zealand|
|9||Josh Rix||Male||Glen Iris||Australia|
|11||Callum Millward||Male||North Shore City||New Zealand|
|12||Tim Kitching||Male||Coffs Harbour||Australia|
|15||Mark Bowstead||Male||Glenbrook||New Zealand|
|18||Simon Boyce||Male||Chapel Hill||Australia|
|20||Brett Carter||Male||Palm Beach||Australia|
|21||Jacob Cooney||Male||Peregian Beach||Australia|
|25||Istvan Feher||Male||Wantirna South||Australia|
|27||Brian Fuller||Male||Tweed Heads||Australia|
|29||Anton Hinton-bayre||Male||Red Hill||Australia|
|35||Andrew Mccormack||Male||Chapel Hill||Australia|
|41||Aaron O’Neill||Male||Bondi Junction, Sydney||Australia|
|42||Jarrod Owen||Male||Hyde Park||Australia|
|47||Aaron Roberts||Male||South Brisbane||Australia|
|48||Gavin Scott||Male||North Entrance||Australia|
|49||Dean Stojanovic||Male||Castle Hill||Australia|
|54||Aaron Whittaker||Male||Kelvin Grove||Australia|
|Bib No.||Name||Gender||City / Suburb||Country|