Five-time world champion Craig Alexander will be aiming to keep his perfect record intact at IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong.
Alexander, with three IRONMANÂ® and two IRONMANÂ® 70.3Â® world titles to his credit, is four from four in Geelong after winning in 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015.
The race, on Sunday 7 February, doubles as the Australian Long Course Championship and comprises a 1.9km swim at Eastern Beach, 90km two-lap bike course and 21km two-lap run along the waterfront.
â€œI am really excited to be coming back to Geelong,â€ said Alexander. â€œIt has been a happy hunting ground for me and it’s always nice to come back to a place where you have had success, it brings confidence.
â€œThere are a few races I have won four times, IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka and IRONMAN 70.3 St. Croix, so to get five in Geelong would be great.â€
Two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Melissa Hauschildt will go head-to-head with Melbourne-based Annabel Luxford, who finished 2015 in sparkling form winning IRONMAN 70.3 races at Western Sydney and Ballarat.
â€œI can’t wait to get back racing. I was training really hard on the bike all last year waiting for an answer with my rib injury’â€ said Hauschildt who missed much of the year after suffering a rib injury from a massage. â€œI thought it was going to really pay off and I’d be able to see the improvements I’d made on the bike but that time never came, I didn’t get to race. It’s now almost a year since I’ve raced so I’m really looking forward to getting back out there.â€
Luxford and Hauschildt will be joined by IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie champion Radka Vodickova (CZE), Dutch star Yvonne Van Vlerken (third at IRONMAN Western Australia and second at Ballarat), and Andrea Forrest (with IRONMAN 70.3 podiums at Port Macquarie and Western Sydney).
Former IRONMAN World Champion Pete Jacobs leads a huge field of men trying to break Alexander’s stranglehold on the Geelong title. Other fancied starters include Victorian Leon Griffin (a multiple IRONMAN 70.3 Champion), Josh Amberger (second at IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai) and France’s Cyril Viennot who finished sixth at last year’s IRONMAN World Championship,
Also expected to feature will be David Dellow (fourth at IRONMAN Western Australia), German Per Bittner (second at Ballarat), New Zealand’s Callum Millward (IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder winner) and Australian Jake Montgomery (second at IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney).
At an age when most athletes are contemplating retirement, Alexander is still racing strongly.
â€œLast year it was a great race between Sam Appleton and me, and the year before I had a good battle with Tim Reed. I do enjoy racing the young guys it keeps me feeling young (maybe only in my head). It’s great to see so much Aussie talent coming through and developing into world class racers,â€ he said.