Among the list of long course heavyweights named on the start list is three-time Ironman distance champion, Tim Van Berkel.
Coming off the back of a phenomenal 2019 that saw the Ballina local hit the podium a combined seven times across 70.3 and Ironman distance racing, Van Berkel admits he has his sights set high for 2020.
“The early season goal is Ironman Australia, and I’m hoping to punch my Kona ticket there,” Van Berkel said.
“Then it will be all about the Ironman World Championship.”
“I’m hoping for a podium finish, but [Geelong] is my first race for the season so it’s always an unknown as to where my fitness is actually at!”
“Reedy [Tim Reed] and I went and did a week [at Boali Lodge, Thredbo]…The mountains are great for riding and running and the pool is fantastic and quiet especially at this time of year.”
Van Berkel will have his work cut out for him in Geelong, with a world-class field set to take to the start line on Sunday.
70.3 Champions Josh Amberger and Sam Appleton are among those likely to be in the mix for medal positions come Sunday, with three-time Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander, and 2016 70.3 World Champion Tim Reed also adding to the list of heavyweights set to contend the Australian title.
Melbourne local Grace Thek will lead the charge for the Australian women in Geelong, with the seasoned runner and 70.3 Champion looking to start her year with an Australian Championship title under her belt.
She’ll be joined by 70.3 stalwarts Emily Loughnan and Lauren Dennis, with 2018 U23 Cross Triathlon World Champion Penny Slater also set to make an appearance as she continues to move into the professional long course triathlon scene.
The Aussies will find themselves up against some stiff competition with the Czech Republic’s Radka Kahlefeldt, and New Zealand’s Hannah Wells and Rebecca Clarke all making the trip to Geelong ahead of Sunday’s racing.
Fans of Kahlefeldt and Wells can expect yet another clinic from the international pair, with both athletes in top form following their respective win and second place finish at last weekend’s Challenge Asia Pacific Championships in Wanaka, New Zealand.
Ironman 70.3 Geelong kicks off at 7am on Sunday 23 February, with athletes vying for the Australian Long Course Triathlon Championship title.