This Sunday’s inaugural Challenge Melbourne is going to provide challenges to most of the athletes as well as the event organisers Super Sprint Events. The 40+C temperatures predicted (104+F) are going to test everyone racing. Hyrdation and sodium replacement is going to be the most important aspect of everyone’s race this weekend. Especially those racing iron distance races over the following couple of months.
Read this interview with SuperSprint’s CEO David Hansen after the launch of Challenge Melbourne
The pro fields are solid with some world class performers taking to the course.
2013 Asia Pacific 70.3 champ Christian Kemp has withdrawn from the race. This will open things up a bit and a couple of the pros who may have been just off the podium will now have their tails up.
Tim Berkel, Clayton Fettell, Michael Fox, Casey Munro and trying to confirm if Bryan Rhodes is also racing as per the official start list. Berkel had a solid race in Auckland two weeks ago. The gap between Berkel and Kemp was two minutes with only a bike time difference separating them on paper. Both swam and ran the same times.
With out the big fields this weekend we could see more of a differential on the bike and no big packs should see a change in the run splits at the end of the day. Berkel has form in Challenge events with two wins at Challenge Copenhagen. At Challenge Forster before Xmas Tim was taken out by a rogue car but was lucky to come away with minor cuts and bruises. We saw Tim put in some very good runs in 2013 with his Cairns marathon time being one of if not the quickest in Australia and this was in the heat. The heat this weekend could favour Tim.
It will be good to see Clayton Fettell racing again. After a solid season in 2013 which saw him race at Kona for the first time Clayton has spent the start of this season training in Lennox Heads with Aeromax Team under coach Grant Giles. Gilesy has added some more fire power to his team with Brad Khalefeldt and Peter Robertson joining Clayton, Tim Berkel and Joey Lampe amongst others.
This weekend we will all be look at Clayton to see if he uses his powerful swim / bike combo to put enough distance between himself and the faster runners in Berkel and Kemp but will still need to keep an eye on Casey Munro who has come along in leaps and bounds since moving away from professional cycling and back in to the sport he did at an elite level as a junior. It is often reported that Clayton will be up against faster runners and this often shows on the results page. Don’t think for a minute though that he can’t run as fast as these guys. Speak to the team he trains with and they all say he has the speed. It is only a matter of time before he tweaks the recipe and starts to win big races. Clayton’s effort at Ironman Melbourne last year was applauded by some of the best in the game with Craig Alexander remarking on his bike leg being outstanding for a young guy over this distance. Clayton out swum the field and then rode with the leaders for and did not shirk his share of the hard work.
Casey Munro is another name that should be in the mix this weekend. With a junior elite triathlon career in his early days before heading over to Europe to cycle professionally Casey is now back racing triathlon. We saw him step up last year and start to produce the results he promised as a youngster.
Michael Fox had some good results earlier in 2013 before just slipping off the pace on the bike later in the year. We saw a return to his bike form at the end of the year. With school Xmas holidays at his disposal Fox should have been able to put together a solid training block with the HPT team in Cronulla.
Former Australian Olympic rower turned professional triathlete Todd Skipworth will be looking to have a great race in front of many friends, family and sponsors. Skipworth has shown that he is a natural at triathlon and we are sure the big engine developed while rowing at international level has a big hand in his performances. These elite rowers have an ability to turn themselves inside out more than any other sportsman and women. They can hurt themselves!
Local Josh Rix will be looking to have a solid start to the year. He had a quieter year in 12013 after a very busy 2012. A fourth at Ironman Wisconsen was a stand out result and shows that Josh is building in to a very good long course triathlete. in 2012 Josh raced a lot and had some consistent results with a 3rd at Cairns 70.3. amongst many other solid results.
More to come along with a look at the women’s field.
1 Tim VAN BERKEL
2 Christian KEMP (out)
3 Clayton FETTELL
4 Joseph LAMPE (out)
5 Michael FOX
6 Casey MUNRO
7 Nathan BARRY
8 Bryan RHODES
9 Brad WAUER
10 Roger WITZ BARNES
11 Todd SKIPWORTH
12 Josh RIX
13 Tim GREEN
14 Lachlan KERIN
16 Tom RODGERS
17 Benjamin WILLIAMS
41 Caroline STEFFEN
42 Annabel LUXFORD
44 Rebecca HOSCHKE
45 Madeleine OLDFIELD
46 Jodie SCOTT
47 Julia GRANT
48 Wendy MCALPINE
49 Hannah LAWRENCE