Josh Amberger and Radka Vodickova face a cavalcade of Australia’s best when they defend their titles at IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie on Sunday.
As he strives for his third win on the trot, Amberger will need to hold off one of the world’s best IRONMAN 70.3 athletes, compatriot Tim Reed.
Coming off a year that has seen him claim three IRONMAN 70.3 titles including the Asia-Pacific Championship, Reed is keen to kick-start his summer season with a strong showing at a race he knows well. He cut his teeth on the Port Macquarie course three times as an age grouper, then twice as a professional.
“I’ve finished second twice. So I’m really looking forward to trying to nail down a win in a town I’m so familiar with and fond of,” he said.
Amberger is chasing his third consecutive Port Macquarie title, with his previous two wins coming off the back of a strong swim-bike combination.
Reed expects this year to be no different.
“The last four years the race has been won by the lead swimmer,” Reed said.
“Josh tends to hit some form come this time of year and will be very hungry to defend his title.
“Clayton Fettell, who is the only guy who can swim alongside Josh, is also starting to return to some form and between the two of them their margin out of the swim could be held onto the run.”
Fellow Australians David Dellow and Casey Munro will also be in the mix.
On the women’s side Vodickova, who arrived in Port Macquarie after watching fiancÃ© Brad Kahlefeldt make his debut at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii last weekend, will need to contend with a group of women who know this course.
Lisa Marangon, the 2013 champion, will set the standard on the bike while reigning IRONMAN Australia champion Michelle Bremer (New Zealand) will also be a threat, as will Jess Fleming who was third at behind the Kiwi.
Vodickova is fresh off a third place at IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast and is excited about defending her title.
“I can’t believe it is already one year since I raced in Port. I really like the race, the bike course is so exciting, which means the 90km passes by quickly. No time to get bored,” she said.
IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.
Mainwaring is out.