Whilst three of the original big names in the female field are not racing this weekend there will still be some very competitive racing amongst the women who will be chasing a bigger carrot than they would normally have. A first place will secure approximately AUD$7,600 in prize money with payments down to 10th place. This is based on a $5000 Euro first place payment.
Michelle Wu and Belinda Granger have had a couple of close finishes over the last two years in 70.3 races but Ange Castle, Tamsyn Hayes and Radka Vodickova would be thinking that they will be banking $7600 on Sunday night. That is not to take away anything from the other women racing.
Belinda is coming to Batemans Bay to win and will be looking at the the field and thinking she has what it takes to win. The smiling Ange Castle has also been getting faster over the distance since she announced herself with second place at Ironman Australia. Tamsyn Hayes raced Challenge Wanaka this January and after doubting she would get to the line. Whilst she missed the podium there was good signs.
The women will be chasing Radka Vodickova from the start and this should produce a competitive race as these women will have a sniff of some of the good prize money on offer.
The men’s race will see a few very fast swim/bikers looking to break the field apart and make sure the the race for the cash on the run is down to a small handful of guys.
Pete Jacobs, Sam Appleton, Josh Amberger (training less and faster), Clayton Fettell, Brad Kahlefeldt, Michael Fox and Sam Douglas will make up the front swim pack. If Amberger, Fettell and Appleton put the hammer down they should form the lead pack. Jacobs should be content to swim at his own pace and would not be too concerned to giveaway 20seconds to these guys. It will be interesting to see how the swim unfolds. We could possibly see Jaroslav Kovacic aomngst the swim leaders and he should be able to hang on in the bike. Up there also should be big Sam Betten. We haven’t seen a lot of Sam last year and it will be great to get a gauge as to where he is at the moment.
We expect to see Amberger and Fettell work together to try and tear the legs off the rest off the field and make sure they have enough of a buffer when they hit the run.
David Mainwaring, Alex Reithmeier and John Polson will be chasing these guys and will need to work together to pick the tail enders off on the bike and make their way forward. Mainwaring’s run is slowly moving forward. There is still plenty of work to do to get his run to where it should really be.
Polson is training well at the moment and is in the middle of a big block as he heads towards his short term goal at the USA Pro Champs in Utah in May. Sunday will give him a good indicator of where he is at and offer the chance for some fine tuning going forward.
We are looking forward to seeing the fireman/coach/father and great South Australian Matty White racing. White could be chasing the two front packs but he should have enough guys around him to get some cooperation happening and work his way up the field.
Sam Douglas started well at Husky recently but realised a third of the way in to the bike that saving himself for another day was the smart thing to do. Douglas is young and a long future in long course is what he is working towards.
Michael Fox was also a front swim pack contender in Husky but found the pace with Appleton, Jacobs and Reed fairly hectic on the bike.He will be looking to improve on that this weekend.
The $40,000 man from Bintan hasn’t been seen down this way for a while. Courtney Ogden’s win in Indonesia last year was a highlight. It couldn”t have gone to a nicer bloke. He had a very good plan and road towards Bintan and on the day pulled it off. This field is going to be a lot tougher.
The unofficial head of the New Zealand non-government funded long course triathlon academy, Callum Millward, will be hoping to build on his great form last year. A third at Boulder and Muncie 70.3 and one of the fastest bike splits at the 70.3 world champs (in not one of his best races) shows that Millward is someone the field needs to keep a very close eye on. Now living in Mooloolaba some solid and consistent training should see him in a better place at the start of 2014.
The field is too large to do justice to everyone in the preview so apologies guys and girls. In saying that we will keep updating tonight and tomorrow.