Over its six year history the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns has become known as the IRONMAN in paradise and a ‘must-do’ on the IRONMAN circuit. An integral part of the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival, the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns returns on Sunday 11 June 2017.
Heading up the strong pro women’s field are USA’s Sarah Piampiano and Danish athlete Tine Holst making their Tropical North Queensland debuts and local Sarah Crowley keen to improve on her third place in 2016.
Fresh from two podium finishes at IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Rosa and Peru, Piampiano is keen to make use of her strong earlier season form and go one step further and take home the coveted IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship.
“I feel great about my preparation for Cairns. My build from the beginning of the season has gone very smoothly and I feel like I am coming into the right fitness at the right time. I feel really strong and ready to go. This will be my first time racing in Cairns, so I’ve not had the opportunity to experience the course first hand, though I will be arriving ten days early to be able to train on the course and learn its nuances.”
“I have heard amazing things about the course, the crowds and how the event is put on. I’ve raced in Melbourne and multiple times in Western Australia, but never in Queensland and so many people have told me that Ironman Cairns is one of their favourite Ironman races on the circuit. So I am really excited to experience it for myself.”
“Next to the World Championships in Kona this is my biggest and most important race of the year. All my training and races I have done thus far this season have been with this race in mind and building towards the Asia Pacific Champs, so this is a big one for me. I’ve heard such great things about the area that I cannot wait to race there,” Piampiano said.
For Brisbane based Sarah Crowley, the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns is her home race and she is keen to unleash her new swim leg to put herself in the mix from the gun.
“I started working with Cam Watt from TriSutto at the start of last year and we set some goals for my swim. We saw some progress late last year, winning the IRONMAN 70.3 Middle East Bahrain but after IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong we decided to stop racing for the lead up to IRONMAN Cairns and go away and get even stronger at swimming and also shed some kilos.”
“In the lead up for this race, I have raced the Jewel Gold Coast Luke Harrop Memorial and the Noumea International Olympic Triathlon purely to test my swim among world class swimmers. It is remarkable the impact the swim improvement has had on my racing and I am very excited to utilise it at IRONMAN Cairns. I have always been in the mix on the bike and run but coming out of the water at the front of the field is a game changer.”
If local knowledge counts for anything, Crowley is in good shape to make 2017 her year.
“I have raced either the 70.3 or IM at Cairns every year since 2012 when I won the 70.3 title. I received a boomerang with a note that has been willing me back. So I have a lot of experience on this course, all versions of it. The event has mixed weather and the heat and humidity cannot be underestimated on the run, nor can the winds or the potential for afternoon rain on the bike. Conditions are always tough which makes for a good battle.”
“I am just loving triathlon at the moment and am really just keen to race. I certainly have my mojo back at the level I had when I was racing ITU pre 2010. I am loving being back in real shape and I would be super satisfied if I could just accurately execute the plan Cam gives me for the race,” Crowley said.
Denmark’s Tine Holst has been rebuilding after withdrawing from her defence of IRONMAN Lanzarote with the flu. Rested up and back in training, she is ready to give it everything on debut in Cairns.
“It’s my first time racing Cairns and I’m looking so much forward to this race. I have heard it is called IRONMAN in paradise and a must do IRONMAN, so I’m really happy to finally make it to Cairns.”
“Championship races always have a great line up, so I am hoping for a brilliant race day where everything falls perfectly together and my good training build will show off on race day.”