Competitive fields at Lake Stevens and Racine 70.3’s this weekend

The quality of 70.3 racing this year has been great. Of late, we've seen deep fields headlined by Australian stars at races such as Vineman, Muncie and Buffalo Springs. The trend is set to continue tomorrow with a number of big guns going head-to-head at Lake Stevens 70.3 in Washington state,

The quality of 70.3 racing this year has been great. Of late, we’ve seen deep fields headlined by Australian stars at races such as Vineman, Muncie and Buffalo Springs. The trend is set to continue tomorrow with a number of big guns going head-to-head at Lake Stevens 70.3 in Washington state, and Racine 70.3 in Wisconsin.

In Lake Stevens, we’ll see defending champion Chris Legh do battle with the likes of Luke Bell, Paul Matthews and superstar Craig Alexander. Luke Bell, the  2013 Ironman Australia champion,   has won this race no less than three times, so he knows what it takes to win here, instantly making him a favorite. Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander has won both of his two 70.3 races this year in Honu and Kansas, so he comes to Washington in good form. Crowie missed last weekend’s Vineman 70.3 due to an illness his wife picked up, so will be keen to make the most of this start. Look to American Matt Lieto and Kiwi Guy Crawford to try and stop the Australians from sweeping the podium.

Kate Bevilaqua will head the Australian charge in the women’s race against defending champion and winner of last weekend’s Vineman 70.3, Meredith Kessler. Kessler, race favourite, is in hot form this year despite some challenges after crashing out at 70.3 Eagleman some 6 weeks ago. She also took time out to chat to Trizone about her preparation for Lake Stevens. Bevilaqua is also in good shape, having taken second place last weekend at Muncie 70.3. Tenille Hoogland and Melanie McQuaid, both from Canada, will also be ones to watch for podium finishes.

Over in Wisconsin, several other fast Australians will be headlining another stellar field at the Ironman 70.3 Racine race. In the men’s race, Paul Ambrose will be wearing the #1 bib after taking second here in 2012 behind superfish Marko Albert from Estonia. Tim Reed, who joined Ambrose last year on the podium, in third place, is also racing and will be considered a favourite after two very strong second-place performances at Vineman and Buffalo Springs. Ironman Cairns champion Luke McKenzie will be looking to continue his good run of form, as will the experienced Greg Bennett who took the title at Buffalo Springs a few weeks ago. Australian Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt will be right in the mix, along with former Duathlon World Champion Leon Griffen.

New Zealand Olympian turned long course superstar Bevan Docherty will be wearing a huge target on his back after a string of fantastic performances, including his effort last weekend which saw him ride away from the field and run to the title at Vineman 70.3 against a very strong field. Compatriot Callum Milward will also look to challenge for a podium spot. Americans Tim O’Donnell, Matty Reed and Andrew Starykowicz are all in great form, and will be right up front along with fast Russian ITU stars (and brothers) Ivan and Denis Vasiliev.

2010 Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae will be hoping Racine 70.3 will mark a return to form. Carfrae has had a less than stellar start to 2013 with her best performance to date being a fourth place at Rev3 Quassy. Joining Carfrae on the startline will be fellow Australian Kat Baker. Baker, a podium finisher at Wildflower, is relatively new on the pro scene and is still developing her run leg, but will look to make the most of the 90km cycle to be in the mix by T2. These ladies will be facing some tough competition with the likes of Americans Laura Bennett and Amanda Stevens who, along with superfish compatriote Haley Chura, will be out of the water at the front of the field and pushing hard on the bike. Buffalo Springs 70.3 champ Angela Naeth, from Canada, and one of long-course racing’s new superstars Liz Blatchford, GBR, will certainly be in contention.

70.3 Lake Steven’s Startlist

1 Chris Legh AUS
2 Luke Bell AUS
4 Paul Matthews AUS
5 Chris Bagg USA
6 Matt Lieto USA
7 Keith Butsko USA
8 Nathan Killam CAN
9 Damon Barnett USA
10 Allen Gardner USA
11 Daniel Stein AUS
12 Grant Bovee USA
13 Nicholas Thompson USA
14 Andrew Langfield USA
15 Guy Crawford USA
17 Elliot Holtham CAN
18 Dantley Young USA
19 Nathan Birdsall USA
20 Anthony Toth CAN
21 Derek Garcia USA
22 Steven Zawaski USA
23 Dan Litwora USA
24 Rick Floyd USA
25 Gavin Anderson USA
26 Matthew Sheeks USA
27 Jason Watson USA
28 Guilherme Campos BRA
29 Chris Young CAN
?? Craig Alexander AU

35 Meredith Kessler USA
36 Melanie McQuaid CAN
37 Amanda Stevens USA
39 Kate Bevilaqua AUS
40 Caroline Gregory USA
41 Tenille Hoogland CAN
42 Mackenzie Madison USA
43 Jeanni Seymour ZAF
44 Kendra Lee USA
45 Michelle Mighdoll USA
46 Janelle Morrison CAN
47 Sue Huse CAN
48 Erin Green USA
49 Sheila Croft CAN
50 Christine Fletcher CAN

70.3 Racine Startlist:

1 Paul Ambrose AUS
3 Tim O’Donnell USA
4 Greg Bennett AUS
5 Luke McKenzie AUS
6 Andrew Starykowicz USA
7 Callum Millward NZL
8 Tim Reed AUS
9 Matt Reed USA
10 Bryan Rhodes NZL
11 Brad Kahlefeldt AUS
12 Leon Griffin AUS
13 Tyler Butterfield BMU
14 Henry Hagenbuch USA
15 Paul Eicher USA
16 Adam Bohach USA
17 James LaMastra USA
18 Reeven Nathan USA
19 Andres Castillo Latorre COL
20 Sean Sullivan USA
22 Thomas Gerlach USA
23 Martin Jensen DNK
24 David Kahn USA
25 Ivan Vasiliev RUS
26 Chris Boudreaux USA
27 Denis Vasiliev RUS
28 Ryan Rau USA
29 Robbie Wade USA
30 Matthew Pellow AUS
31 Justin Park USA
32 Daniel Bretscher USA
33 Weslie Anderson USA
34 Barrett Brandon USA
35 Yves Moubayed DEU
36 Simon Cochrane NZL
37 Jimi Minnema USA

45 Jessica Jacobs USA
46 Angela Naeth USA
47 Liz Blatchford GBR
48 Jessie Donavan USA
49 Barbara Riveros ESP
50 Amanda Stevens USA
51 Laura Bennett USA
52 Sara Gross CAN
53 Catriona Morrison GBR
54 Christine Anderson USA
55 Morgan Chaffin USA
56 Missy Kuck USA
57 Kim Schwabenbauer USA
58 Liz Baugher USA
59 Beth Walsh USA
60 April Gellatly USA
61 Haley Chura USA
62 Jenna Parker USA
63 Lesley Smith USA
64 Tami Ritchie USA
65 Anna Cleaver USA
66 Ruth Brennan Morrey USA
67 Annie Gervais CAN
68 Jillian Petersen USA
69 Kat Baker AUS
70 Jackie Arendt USA
71 Ashley Clifford USA
72 Lindsay Wohlers USA
73 Mirinda Carfrae AUS