Ironman champion Pete Jacobs and multiple Ironman 70.3 winner Michelle Wu will enter the inaugural URBAN Hotel Group Ironman 70.3 Cairns race as slight favourites following their performances in the Coral Coast 5150 Triathlon last weekend and there general capabilities when at race fitness.
Jacobs used the event as a solid hit out, leading from start to finish and increasing his lead at every changeover to record a slick time (1:47:49) over the Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run).
He has now got his racing season back on track after withdrawing from the Ironman in Melbourne with a bio-mechanical injury.
“My shoulder was pulling forward, which was twisting my hip and putting pressure on a different part of my foot. It took another 5 or 6 weeks to figure out that to fix the issue I had to straighten my hips, but it was still there. Straighten my chest, but it was still there, and then we finally found out that the foot injury was coming from my shoulder,” Jacobs explained with Breakfast with the pros on Monday morning.
“I’m feeling really fit. I’ve been injury free for the last 8 weeks and my build-up has been great, so I should be in really good shape for next weekend.
Jacobs has one more big training session to do before his taper but will take on the Quicksilver Reef Swim, Green Island to defend his 3km title from last year.
“I think I might also jump in The Cairns Post fun run on Friday, just as a last little tempo run and give that a go and see what else I can win,” added Jacobs.
Jacobs will be up against some tough competition on Sunday with the in-form Tim Berkel expected to be feature in the leading group, after a second in his hometown Ironman at Port Macquarie recently.
Another of our top pros and winner of five Ironman titles, Luke McKenzie has withdrawn from the Ironman and will instead race the 70.3. McKenzie has had some back issues since Ironman Melbourne and running a marathon is out of the question at this stage. It will be great to see how Luke goes over the shorter distance and hopefully his back does not cause him issues.
Victorian Josh Rix will be in the mix; he had a solid race in Melbourne and will be sure to keep the front runners honest. Rix is racing much stronger this season compared to last and has got some good speed right now. He raced Ironman Melbourne in March and finished 11th overall in 8:22.
These guys may be surprised to find Sam Appleton right on their heels and pushing them all the way. Appleton is an ex ITU triathlete and can swim. Appleton finished just under three minutes behind Jacobs in February at the Huskisson Long Course after taking a year out from the sport. He ran a 1:10 for the 20kms. He then went on to win the Batemans Bay Ultimate in fine form ahead of Ollie Whistler.
It will be great to see Adam Gordon, John Polson, Matt Bailey, Luke Gillmer, Casey Munroe, Jon Woods, Pete Schokman, Rob Harris racing. These guys are all capable of making this race a real crowd pleaser. Schokman raced in Noumea last weekend for a third and can run very fast and can swim on a good day. In 2010 Schokman won Yeppoon half ironman with a 1:11 half marathon. He has struggled with knee and diet issues over the last few months. Adam Gordon is talking things up for this weekend. He raced in the Singapore 70.3 a couple of months ago and then went on to finish 4th in the Batemans Bay Ultimate triathlon a couple of weeks later.
Jon Polson won Noumea Olympic Distance triathlon last weekend and will be pumped for a big race this weekend.
Michelle Wu may not have claimed line honours in the Coral Coast 5150 Triathlon, going off in a different wave start she recorded the fastest time by a massive 6 minutes on race winner Michelle Mitchell.
“I was mainly using this event as a hit out to the 70.3 next weekend, coming from Canberra I wanted to acclimatize and get myself ready for next weekend,” said Wu.
There will be some stiff opposition from seven time Ironman New Zealand champion Joanna Lawn who recently finished fourth in Melbourne. Lawn produced some great wins last year over the 70.3 distance with Port Macquarie, Busselton and Korea.
Lawn had originally planned to do the Ironman but has switched to this race instead. Ali Fitch has also opted out of the Ironman to the shorter distance. Ali Fitch has the fitness for the 70.3 and we will see whether she has the speed to match Lawn, Wu and Raynolds.
Others to watch out for will be the ever improving Matilda Raynolds who won last weekend’s Noumea Olympic distance triathlon. Raynolds is getting back to her best after focusing on training and getting the recipe right.
Sarah Crowley is also someone to watch and will be pushing the leaders. She recently placed 2nd at Byron Bay and won this years Hell of the West. The ex ITU triathlete had some good finishes in the Oceania and Asian cup races in 2009 / 2010. Crowley could surprise a few.
Not there to make up the numbers is Jacinta Worland who will be putting in a strong all round performance. She is backing herself to be there at the pointy end.
Sunday, 3 June @6:45am
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