By Tim Reed
It’s fantastic to see such a strong pro field racing the 70.3, a reflection of what a small raise in prize money can do. There are some first class international competitors toeing the line. Sadly the Ironman pro field reflects what a major cut to the prize money pool can do. Triathlon fans should be very grateful that Crowie honourably supports triathlon in Australia or, of the two professional races, the Ironman could be a 70.3 side show.
I can’t see the swim splitting the field up too much apart from the human tree remover, Joe Lampe, swimming away to a small lead. From there the race could go many different ways as there are so many guys that could win on their day with it all depending on early season form. The new 12 metre drafting gap could really allow some splits of the pro field as I’m sure strong cyclists like Brian Rhodes, Josh Rix, Joe Gambles and Matty White won’t want to leave anyone too fresh for the run.
It would be foolish to bet on who is going to win however I think the top 6 should include Leon Griffin, Joe Gambles, Matty White, Tim Berkel, Christian Kemp and the legendary Cam Brown.
Joe is a big name in the U.S with several 70.3 and an Ironman title to his name. Matty White firmly believes oxygen is cheating spending a lot of time training on his altitude machine and then fighting fires (again not much oxygen) while at work. Over the last year his cycling has gone to the next level and I think that’s where he will look to do his damage. If Leon is injury free and has been training well I would list him as the most talented guy in the field. Kempy has what it takes to knock off the big names and I’ve been really impressed with Tim Berkel’s form in training. Berkey will have the crowd and speed to win should he keep his head in the race and not stop on each lap to express his undying love to his fiancÃ©, Belinda.
Cameron Brown’s speed over the half ironman distance length is not as consistent as his Ironman racing these days but he could still easily teach the younger guys a lesson. It will be surreal to race against Cameron as following his domination of IM NZ and Macca’s domination of IM Australia was what got me really keen to do triathlons in the first place.
I’ve been back training full time for the last 3 weeks with Aeromax Team and have enjoyed seeing some big improvements. I’m simply looking at spending some quality time ‘in the box’, seeing how my fitness is coming along and hopefully being in the mix.