Australia is well represented at this years Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Texas. World champions Chris McCormack and Michellie Jones will be hoping to put in strong performances, as will Richie Cunningham and Pip Taylor.
The winner of this weekend’s inaugural Ironman 70.3 Pro Championship will definitely earn their title (and share of the $75,000 prize purse) – the incredibly competitive field includes at least four Ironman world champions, Olympic silver and bronze medalists and last year’s runner-up from the Ford Ironman World Championship.
Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas, formerly known as Ironman 70.3 Lone Star, will take place this Sunday, April 25, 2010 on historic Galveston Island, along the Texas gulf coast.
The men’s race promises to be a re-match between the 2007 and 2008 Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Champions Andy Potts and Terenzo Bozzone. Last weekend Potts beat Bozzone at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, but the two will have some stiff competition on Sunday, ensuring this won’t be a two-man race. Last year’s runner-up at the Ford Ironman World Championship, Chris Lieto, arrives as one of the pre-race favorites, as does Australian Richie Cunningham, the two-time defending champion and is widely considered one of the world’s premier 70.3 athletes.
The women’s race promises to be every bit as competitive. Included in the field for Sunday’s race is 2008 Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Champion Joanna Zeiger, but the American will face a number of the world’s premier 70.3 athletes. Michellie Jones, the 2006 Ford Ironman World Champion, has more than 160 wins over a variety of distances and was a silver medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games triathlon. Switzerland’s Karin Thurig is a two-time bronze medalist cyclist at the Olympics, but she’s also racked up a number of Ironman titles, too, including wins at Ironman France, Ironman Switzerland, Ironman Lanzarote and Ironman 70.3 Monaco. England’s Leanda Cave, the two-time defending champion of Ironman 70.3 Florida and 2007 ITU Long Distance world champion routinely leads races out of the water and stays at the front for much of the day. Rounding out the list of pre-race favorites is Australian Pip Taylor, last year’s winner of the Vineman 70.3.
In addition to the competitive pro field, a strong age group field will also compete. Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center, situated among 242 lush, tropical acres, will play host to athletes from around the world. The saltwater swim will be in the protected waters of the Offats Bayou, while the bike course will lead athletes on a flat and scenic ride along the coastline. Athletes will also see a flat run course that meanders through tropical gardens and towering glass pyramids. A total of 50 slots for the 2010 Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 will be awarded to top age group and pro finishers.
Here’s a list of pros registered for Sunday’s race:
Yvonne Van Vlerken
Juan Carlos Ramirez