Preview: 2012 Ironman 70.3 Shepparton

This weekend's Shepparton 70.3 has very strong men's and women's fields with some the women's field in particular looking stronger than recent years. Arguably the female favourite would have to be Rebekah Keat. Keat has not backed off her training and has recently decided to

Preview: 2012 Ironman 70.3 Shepparton
Two great pro fields this weekend

This weekend’s Shepparton 70.3 has very strong men’s and women’s fields with some the women’s field in particular looking stronger than recent years.

Arguably the female favourite would have to be Rebekah Keat. Keat has not backed off her training and has recently decided to race Ironman Western Australia in December. Her main opposition will come from Lisa Marangon, Sarah Crowley and possibly Jacqueline Slack who recently came 5th at the Xterra World Champs in Hawaii. Slack can race and will be a contender this weekend. She should be one of the quicker swimmers.

Down to race but deciding to rest after arriving in Australia to live last week and saving herself for Canberra 70.3 is Kiwi Anna Cleaver. While speaking with her this week to see if she was racing we took the opportunity to get her thoughts on the field. “I’m sad not to be racing myself, but after all the international travel I have done recently, I decided I would not be able to do this course justice and really need a solid training block. The field is full of great female athletes and I am looking forward to seeing how they perform, particularly as it is an indicator of where they are at in their current training cycle.”

Anna agrees that Lisa and Rebekah are the ones to beat. “Lisa Marangon has had a very consistent year, and I think the upcoming season is going to be a great one for her as she solidifies a year of very good work. I would be looking for Lisa and Bek Keat to lead the swim and probably a large portion of the bike also. Both athletes know the course and have had successes on it previously. If one of them can get away on the swim, it could be key to setting them up for the remainder of the race, particularly given this is a fast flat course.”

After winning the Cairns 70.3 this year and a 4th at Mandurah 70.3 recently if Sarah Crowley can keep the swim leaders in her sight and race a solid bike leg like she did in Mandurah, her run could be enough to create a very real challenge at the pointy end of the field.

Anna also thinks that fellow Kiwi Julia Grant should not be ruled out as a podium contender. “Julia started to show her talent this year racing in the US. She had some excellent 70.3 results but didn’t have the performance she would have liked in Vegas. After a few months of training in the comforts of her home town in NZ, she could be the one to surprise the favourites. She is unlikely to be up the front in the swim, but is a very strong cyclist.”

Of course athletes like Elly Franks, Jodie Scott and Rachel Paxton are ones to watch. If the girls come out of the water in a large enough group, they may be able to work together legally (without drafting) to bridge the gap on the leaders.

So Anna’s prediction is that the leaders will come from the swim/bike on this one, with some of the stronger runners coming through the field for the remaining podium spot.

Other strong contenders are Nicole Ward and Matilda Raynolds. Ward has not tapered for this race and is solely focused on Ironman WA. So one would assume that she will be fatigued going in to this race. Raynolds has one of the biggest engines around and is as tough as nails. She has been on a mission in the last few months and it is all about getting to a goal race weight so that she can have a serious tilt at racing pro. The races she is doing right now are not goal races and are part of the process. Last week Raynolds raced Noosa as did a number of the women racing.

With two recent 70.3 wins in Taiwan and Miami Kiwi Terenzo Bozzone is the men’s favourite. He will not have it all is own way however with Tim Reed, Leon Griffin and Matty White all hoping for a win. After Port Macquarie three weeks ago White and Griffin will be like coiled springs. White had a 4th at Mandurah 70.3 recently but things didn’t go to plan at Port. Griffin was not entirely happy with his 4th after ‘running on fumes’. Griffin headed out of T2 at Port with Tim Berkel and James Bowstead chasing the leader Clayton Fettell. Both Bowstead and Berkel were able to pull away and secure podium spots.

Tim Reed has had a big season and would have to be slightly ahead of White and Griffin in the betting. He has put together some very constant racing and results this year. He won Yeppoon, was second at Mandurah, and raced consistently in the US this year. After Shepparton Canberra 70.3 will be Reed’s last race the year before he rests up.

Joseph Lampe showed a turn of speed at Noosa last weekend finishing 6th overall. He is one of the quickest swim/bikers around and can run a bit as well. He took just over 34mins to run the 10kms at Noosa. Joey has been growing in leaps and bounds under the coaching of Grant Giles at Aeromax Team. Along with Lampe at Shepparton this weekend will be team mate Tim Reed.

Ben Allen could also be at the pointy end. The ex ITU triathlete is a very strong swimmer and has had some very good triathlon and Xterra results this year. Earlier this year at the Huskisson Long Course Allen swum with Pete Jacobs at the front of the field, put in a quick bike and ran 1:11 for the 20kms. At the recent Xterra world champs Allen had bike mechanical issues and dropped way back in the field. He has won two Xterra races this year and been strong in many more.

The rest of the men’s field is full of potential. Luke Whitemore recently traveled to Forster to race the Ultimate Triathlon but copped a penalty that put him out of contention. Jason Shortis needs no introduction. It is good to see Brett Carter racing. Team TBB’s Matt Bailey will be coming in to this race with a lot more of everything Brett Sutton can throw at him. This is another race that Kiwi Will O’Conner is look at for some long course experience. Ex pro cyclist Casey Munroe will hopefully be bringing a bit of training partner Pete Jacobs magic with him. Hopefully Pete has swapped some cycling tips for swimming tips.

For Alex Reithmeier this is a pre Canberra hitout so he will be solid but is not expecting to be at 100%.

Race No.AthleteCityStateCat
1Leon GriffinKangaroo flatVICMPRO
2Monty FrankishIvanhoeVICMPRO
3Luke WhitmoreMontmorencyVICMPRO
4Matt BaileyMelbourneVICMPRO
5Jason ShortisMiamiQLDMPRO
6Lindsey WallBerridaleNSWMPRO
7Ben AllenNorth WollongongNSWMPRO
8Terenzo BozzoneAucklandNZMPRO
9Brett CarterWayvilleSAMPRO
10Mike GeeNedlandsWAMPRO
11Luke GillmerElwoodVICMPRO
12Nicholas HullBrisbaneQLDMPRO
14Joseph LampeLennox HeadNSWMPRO
15Casey MunroMooloolabaQLDMPRO
16Will O’ConnorBigger WatersNZMPRO
17John PolsonSouthportQLDMPRO
18Tim ReedByron BayNSWMPRO
19Alex ReithmeierLoftusNSWMPRO
21Matty WhiteMagillSAMPRO
22Marc WidmerSt. GallenSUIMPRO
30Lisa MarangonMaroubraNSWFPRO
31Nicole WardFreshwaterNSWFPRO
34Sarah CrowleyAuchenflowerQLDFPRO
35Elly FranksSouth YarraVICFPRO
36Julia GrantAshburtonNZFPRO
37Kristy HallettBonbeachVICFPRO
39Rebekah KeatBurleigh headsQLDFPRO
40Wendy McAlpineParkdaleVICFPRO
41Rachael PaxtonEast BallinaNSWFPRO
42Matilda RaynoldsBraidwoodNSWFPRO
43Jodie ScottCheltenhamVICFPRO
44Jacqueline SlackStoke on TrentGBRFPRO