Race Preview: Ferocious Field for Ironman 70.3 Geelong
IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong on February 19th, 2017, is one of the first serious races of the year for most athletes and the world’s top pros are flocking south for this event. Trizone takes you behind the scenes to see what this event is all about.
Ironman 70.3 Geelong Swim
This open water ocean swim is in fairly protected waters thanks to Geelong being nestled in the side of Port Phillip Bay. Thanks to the calm seas, the course starts with an 800m swim straight out to sea. Thankfully the straight is long enough to separate some of the field, and the first turnaround shouldn’t be too congested. You’ll take a sharp right turn and need to keep your sights on the buoys to prevent you swimming out to sea!
The right turn will take you on a 700m straight until the second turn around. After another 300 metre turn, again to your right, you’ll do one last direction change for the 100m swim sprint into the beach and towards the first transition on the Eastern Beach Reserve.
Ironman 70.3 Geelong Bike
Cyclists who train on gruelling hills will love this 90 km course, it’s fairly flat with a few small climbs and elevation difference of only 70m. After T1, it starts to get tricky. “The first part in the gardens is the only technical part of the course,” Tom Rogers told Trizone. Tom should know, he holds the fastest bike time for the course on Strava with a time of 2:06:44 over 89.4km, with an average power of 313W and speed of 42.4 km/hr.
“In the gardens, it’s about trying not to crash as there are people everywhere. Just concentrate on getting through the corners safely,” said Tom.
Once you get out on the main road you can put good power down and get into it. After around 20km there’s a short climb which I just did in my seat so I don’t overwork my legs before the run.
It’s a simple turnaround and you’ll travel back along the main road towards the gardens, where you’ve got to be concentrating. “I always hold up here for a bit as it can be pretty dangerous. The road isn’t great there either and it’s super busy. I slow down a bit and try to get through without crashing,” Tom told Trizone.
Current Queen of the Mountain on Strava: Sarah Crowley
Time: 2:25:02 with an average speed of 37 km/hr, top speed of 60.8km/hr and average wattage estimated to be 229 W.
Current King of the Mountain on Strava: Tom Rogers
Time: 2:06:44 with an average seed of 42.4km/hr, top speed of 65.5km/hr and average wattage 313W with peak power 610W.
Ironman 70.3 Geelong Run
Geelong 70.3 run course is a 2.5 lap course, which means you’ll run past the finish line twice before you actually get to cross it! This can be pretty tough on the mind when you’re tired, but if you know it’s coming, it definitely helps.
You’ll start the 21.1km run at the beachside transition, and head along the beach until the turn around at Rippleside Park after just 3km. This late in the race, it’s unlikely you’ll have to get the elbows out to battle through a congested turnaround, and it’s quite a wide area giving you plenty of room, unlike the turnarounds of the bike course. The course is very beautiful, and while it’s slightly frustrating to have to repeat your journey more than once, it means you’ll enjoy plenty of spectator support along the way.
Geelong 70.3 Course Rating: 07:54
2016 Overall: 05:52
Number of Finishers: 37 of 47
Swim rating: 00:38
Bike rating: 02:56
Run rating: 00:00
Important Info P-1500
70.3 Geelong is a P-1500 race. It has a total prize purse of 25.000 US$.
Who’s tipped to win
This year, the Australians are tipped to dominate the podium in the men’s race with Sam Appleton, Dan Wilson, Josh Amberger and Tim Van Berkel all in with a solid chance to take out the top spot. Stats tell us the odds of winning are
Sam Appleton: 51% (1-1)
Josh Amberger: 20% (4-1)
Dan Wilson: 14% (6-1)
Tim Van Berkel: 6% (17-1)
Mark Bowstead: 5% (20-1)
Jake Montgomery: 2% (43-1)
The women’s field will also likely see Australian women on the podium unless Swiss Caroline Steffen pulls off a strong race. The odds are:
Ellie Salthouse: 23% (3-1)
Annabel Luxford: 22% (4-1)
Caroline Steffen: 21% (4-1)
Sarah Crowley: 13% (7-1)
Radka Kahlefeldt: 12% (8-1)
Barbara Riveros: 8% (11-1)
Who won last year?
Australian Jake Montgomery charged through to win the event last year at just 21 years old. He truly surprised much of the field, finishing in 03:51:48 and setting a record for the fastest bike leg on the course. Jake was hit by a car and sustained a head injury while out for a morning bike ride last year, but is aiming to compete at Geelong 70.3 2017 if his body is up for it! See how Jake is doing this year here.
Last year, Frenchman Cyril Viennot came second in 03:53:14, and Aussie Josh Amberger placed third in 3:54:17. Amberger placed well, but struggled with the race as he hadn’t fully recovered from the 70.3 Dubai only a few short weeks earlier. The race is a few days later this year, which may be handy for athletes who have competed in Dubai and South Africa 70.3 in early 2017.
Geelong 70.3 2016 was dominated by Australians in the women’s field, with Melissa Hauschildt taking out the top spot and setting a course record of 04:14:28. Triathlete to watch Annabel Luxford charged through the field to place second with a time of 04:20:15. Impressive athlete Radka Vodickova from the Czech Republic placed third, finishing in 04:21:49.