There are a lot of big names lining up for this weekend’s pro race with the men’s race particularly hard to pick. In the women’s race is is hard to go past Carrie Lester if she is in good form followed by Sam Warriner then Jo Lawn and Lisa Marangon with Nicole Ward not far behind. Belinda Granger has withdrawn from the race because of illness. Anyone who follows Belinda on facebook and Twitter will be well aware of this. It almost sounded like man flu though!
Belinda thinks this race will be a dual between Warriner and Lawn. “I think it will be between Jo Lawn who won the race here earlier in the year or Sam Warriner (they both raced Kona so will depend if they have fully recovered). Carrie Lester and Lisa Marangon are also racing so will a good women’s race”.
Jo Lawn says she is very relaxed going in to the race this weekend. “I loved the race and Port Macquarie in May. Winning helped but I definitely wanted to come back again.” After winning the Tauranga hlf in January Jo won the Port 70.3 in May and then went on to win a week later in Busselton. Lawn also won the Korea 70.3 in July but the seven time Ironman New Zealand winner did not have the best race in Hawaii last month after grabbing the final slot to get a start at the Ironman World Champs.
Warriner is only the third triathlete in history to win an ITU world cup series and an Ironman after she won IMNZ earlier this year in her first attempt. In July Sam was 5th at the Frankfurter Sparkasse Ironman finishing only 6 minutes behind winner Caroline Steffen. After a big 2010 Carrie Lester has been off the radar in 2011. Lester won her debut Ironman in Port Macquarie in 2010, she also won Yeppoon half Ironman and Huskisson long course. This year Lester was 3rd at Challenge Cairns and will be a tough competitor if she is on form.
Lisa Marangon finished second behind Kiwi Michelle Bremer at Forster three weeks ago in the inaugral Ulitmate Triathlon (2km/120km/20km) after being stung by a bee towards the end of the bike and struggling to work out what to do due to her allergy to bees. She pulled herself together and ran hard for a solid 2nd. If Lisa’s form is right for this race she could upset the field. Lisa picks up her new Trek Speed Concept today (Friday) so she is looking forward to putting in a really strong bike leg on the 2012 bike.
Nicole Ward also had a hit out at Forster and the bike was the main difference for her. Other women such as Jacinta Worland and Kiwi Elaine Brent shouldn’t be too far off the pace although Brent did struggle with the distances in the Ultimate Triathlon in Forster with her run being a bit off the pace. Brent has only recently stepped up to long course and made the move to pro. Her run is usually her strength so we look forward to seeing what she can do this weekend.
The men’s race is a real unknown. Matty White announced his withdrawal today after tearing his calf while having a final hit out before heading off to Port. Luke McKenzie and Luke Bell will be tough to beat with McKenzie’s recovery from his 9th place at Kona last month being key to his performance. McKenzie is fast over the 70.3 distance.. Last year he won Busselton 70.3 edging out Tim Reed and Tim Berkel in 3:47. This year Berkel won Busso in 3:51. McKenzie’s pace could get him over the line.
In May this year Berkel was second at the Port 70.3 behind one of the fastest over this distance, Joe Gambles. In front of his home crowd he will want to go one better. He backed up from this second place to win Busselton 70.3 a week later. Berkel also won Challenge Copenhagen this year, was 3rd at Challenge Cairns, 2nd at Racine 70.3, 8th at the 70.3 world champs in Las Vegas, 3rd at Augusta 70.3 and 4th at Rev3 South Carolina. He will be tough to beat.
Other Port Macquarie locals racing are the 2010 SiS Port half winner Mitch Robins and Adam Holborow. Holborow raced in Forster three weeks ago but had to pull out on the run. He put in a very fast 120kms on the bike. Holborow is looking to step up this season after being self coached up until now. Robins had a great ITU season with a win in Holten, a win at Mooloolaba and 5th at Geneva and Weihai. He is busting to get out in front of his home crowd again.
Tim Reed has put the finishing touches on his preparation after having a really good recent two weeks of training and is feeling very good about his chances. Reed’s bike/run is good and with the run speed he will have built this year over in the USA on the 5150 circuit he could be dangerous. Tim was 5th here at Port in May, backed up a week later for 3rd in Busselton, 2nd at Washington, 3rd at Cancun 70.3 and recently won the Maitland triathlon. Reed has some unfinished business after becoming very ill in the week before Hy-Vee and missing out on a potentially large payday. In the race at Hy-Vee Greg Bennett won and pocketed $151,000 USD. Tim struggled with getting his asthma under control during the swim earlier this year but has that sorted now.
Speaking of Hy-Vee Joshua Amberger will be out in front from the start this weekend with maybe the exception of Clayton Fettell. Amberger walked away with $20,000 after taking out the swim leg at Hy-Vee and almost got the first bike preme. 2010 Yeppoon winner Pete Schokman is back racing after some time off. Schokman’s plan is to go hard in the swim and then have a good hit out in the run. His 1:11 for the half marathon in Yeppoon last year shows that he can mix it with the top guys. Schokman has spent the last year racing ITU Conti and Asian cup races but has made the decision to focus on non-drafting now.
Luke Bell has been in top form this year taking out the Lake Stevens 70.3 in August, 3rd at Kansas 70.3, 3rd at Ironman Texas and many other top results. Looking through all of this above maybe Bell is the man to take this race. But there is one more person that may get in his way. Paul Ambrose. Ambrose is one of the top 70.3 pro triathletes. This year he has not had as many podiums and wins as 2010. Ambrose is one of the hardest working guys around and with training partners like Macca he has to be getting better and better. He won Racine 70.3, was 2nd at Rhode Island 70.3, 4th at Boise 70.3 and was 2nd at Syracuse 70.3.
You can’t say everyone in the field is a potential winner but there are a few other guys racing that can push the field. Joey Lampe will be up there out of the water and will be solid on the bike. The big young guy will be slightly off the pace on the run but not for long. He is gaining experience and speed very quickly. Chris Kemp is possibly the fastest runner in the field and was third here at Port in May in the 70.3. Kemp had a mixed USA season but did post one of the 21.1km runs of the year with a 1:12 at Vineman outrunning some of the classiest 70.3 pros around in the process.
Kiwi James Bowstead was supposed to race but is looking a long shot. “I have been diagnosed as having ITB friction syndrome. I will hit it with everything I can this week, icing, massage, roller, stretching etc & hope come this weekend I can race the Port Mac half ironman in Australia”. (Friday Nov 4 – James has let us know he will be racing but hasn’t tested his ITB. Sunday will be his first run)
Chris Dmitrieff had a solid second behin Nathan ‘Struggla’ Stewart at Forster three weeks ago. Chris can run and has been training well and uninjured this year.
Stephen Hackett had a progressively good season in the USA. He raced a few 5150s and a 4th at Syracuse 70.3.
Of course this weekend is not all about the pro’s with many of Australia’s best age groupers descending on Port Macquarie to try and grab an Australian 70.3 title.
|1||Luke MCKENZIE||Male Open||30||Male|
|2||Luke BELL||Male Open||32||Male|
|3||Tim BERKEL||Male Open||27||Male|
|4||Paul AMBROSE||Male Open||27||Male|
|6||James BOWSTEAD||Male Open||24||Male|
|7||Tim REED||Male Open||26||Male|
|8||Adam HOLBOROW||Male Open||24||Male|
|9||Jemani FRANCIS||Male Open||27||Male|
|10||Chris DMITRIEFF||Male Open||33||Male|
|11||Stephen HACKETT||Male Open||29||Male|
|12||Chris KEMP||Male Open||31||Male|
|13||Joseph LAMPE||Male Open||22||Male|
|14||Peter SCHOKMAN||Male Open||30||Male|
|15||Joshua AMBERGER||Male Open||21||Male|
|21||Joanna LAWN||Female Open||37||Female|
|23||Nicole WARD||Female Open||35||Female|
|24||Carrie LESTER||Female Open||30||Female|
|25||Lisa MARANGON||Female Open||30||Female|
|26||Jodie SCOTT||Female Open||33||Female|
|27||Jacinta WORLAND||Female Open||38||Female|
|28||Sarah CROWLEY||Female Open||28||Female|
|29||Elaine BRENT||Female Open||26||Female|
Men’s results from May 2011 Port 70.3
Women’s results from May 2011 Port 70.3