Defending Subaru Noosa Triathlon champion Aaron Royle is hell-bent on claiming his second straight title after his debut victory on the Sunshine Coast.
The commonwealth Games representative is the pre-race favourite, a position solidified after his win at last weekend’s Nepean Triathlon over many of the same athletes he’ll face on Sunday.
Meanwhile the 2013 women’s runner-up Ashleigh Gentle, buoyed by recent wins at Nepean and Beijing, will enter the race as an un-backable favourite following the withdrawal of defending champion Emma Moffatt who has failed to overcome a calf strain.
A win in Noosa would be the perfect finish to Royle’s year, a year that saw him make his first Commonwealth Games team and earn a bronze medal to his overflowing trophy cabinet.
“I feel like my form is as good this year as last year. I came off a bigger year than normal. But once I got back from North America I’ve concentrated on some non-drafting training on the time trial bike and I’m in good form,” Royle said.
Royle will take on his Commonwealth teammates Ryan Bailie and Dan Wilson who was second in the recent IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast last month.
In-form Brad Kahlefeldt, second at the recent IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie, will be gunning for his first Noosa title, while 2012 winner Peter Kerr will be in with a chance after a fourth place at the Nepean Triathlon.
Gentle becomes the red hot favourite in the women’s race over two-time IRONMAN 70.3 world champion Melissa Hauschildt, who was third last year.
“I am really happy with my win in Nepean and I am certainly hoping to come away from Noosa with a positive result,” Gentle said. “To win at Noosa means a great deal, it’s an iconic event that is cherished by many Australian triathletes, especially us Queenslanders.”
There are also some outstanding endurance triathletes in the field including Czech Republic star Radka Vodickova, a wire to wire winner at IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie, IRONMAN Asia Pacific champion Caroline Steffen and reigning back to back IRONMAN Cairns champion, Australian Liz Blatchford.