Nepean has a different looking men’s field this year with Brendan Sexton having called an early end to the year and Pete Jacobs not having trained since his second at Kona just over a month ago. This doesn’t take anything away from the field however with a few classy Olympic distance elite triathletes turning up to try and take the money. In my mind the race should be between Mitch Robins and Tim Reed with Joey Lampe, Nick Kastelein (3rd at Nepean last year), Cameron Good and Sam Appleton close behind. Joey raced for a solid 4th last weekend at Port and fatigue may steal some speed from him.
Both Robins and Reed have had some good success in Olympic distance racing this year with Mitch winning the Hotlen ITU in Europe and placing fifth at Geneva and Weihai plus he won the Oceania Cup race at Mooloolaba in April. On top of this Mitch has a lot of energy to get rid of after puncturing out of the Port Macquarie 70.3 last weekend.
Tim Reed had a solid year in the USA after sorting out some asthma issues he was having during the swim. He placed 2nd at the Washington 5150, 3rd at the New York 5150, 3rd at Cancun 70.3, 1st at Maitland last month and was 2nd last weekend at the Port Macquarie 70.3. Tim and Mitch swam almost identical times last weekend. The difference this weekend could come down to the fact that Tim completed the race and Mitch didn’t. Run wise Mitch could have the edge but with the bike being an unknown. At the end of the day Tim will have to get a break on the bike and not fatigue on the run.
Lampe also raced in Maitland for a solid third placing recently and is going to make the most of his current form this weekend. Also racing is Scott Lewewllyn (Thanks for the heads up Sam Douglas) who is quick over the sprint distance and a very good up and coming elite triathlete.
Adrian Cominotto is down to race and should be competitive as always. There doesn’t seem to be any of the Chapman brothers racing this year. Nick Kastelein and Sam Appleton are both down to race. These guys are quick if they are in shape. Appleton hasn’t had any ITU races this year. Kastelein has had some mixed results this year with a 14th at Holten ITU one of his better results. He finished just over two minutes behind Mitch Robins in this race. His swim and bike were equal with Mitch.
Cameron Good and training partner Ben Hammond are both racing. Neither have had a lot of training lately. Hammond had an injury and also spent far too long on holiday in southeast Asia. Both are down playing their chances. Birthday boy Good will be one that could push Mitch, Tim and Joey. Another young guy that may bother the front runners is Matt Williams. Williams will most likely have the fastest bike time on Sunday. It will depend on whether he can hold on in the swim and then give himself a buffer off the bike. If he could do this then he will cold put himself in contention. Williams is young and still building and learning.
Also racing at Nepean is Michael Fox. Foxy started his season of recently at Forster coming third in the Pro Tour behind Sam Douglas and Michael Murphy. He was only a minute back and was very happy with his start to the season. Much more advanced than normal. However Tim Reed and Mitch Robins will be a different story.
In the women’s race it will be hard to go past world 70.3 champion Melissa Rollison. Rollison is fresh and fast. Michelle Wu won the Taiwan 70.3 last weekend and will be back to defend her title from last year. She will be slightly fatigued and will struggle against the world champ. Last year Rollison was still learning about triathlon and made a few rookie errors. This year she has requested helium filled balloons be tied to her shoes so she doesn’t run around and around T2 looking for them. She has also promised not to hit the 10km run course at Olympic 200m pace and run out of steam half way around.
Also racing is Matilda Raynolds who raced her first elite race in Noosa two weeks ago. Raynolds raced well for 5th but is realistic about the gap between her and Rollison who won Noosa. The thing about Raynolds is that she is a never say die competitor. She loves to race. Natalie VanCoevorden is also racing. Alex Price tipped us off this morning. Natalie spent a solid winter in Europe training in Vittoria with Jamie Turner and the NSWIS triathlon development squad. She gained some good experience and had some good racing. If she has kept up the pace Natalie will go well this weekend.
Also racing and with the potential to get on the podium is Kirra Seidel from Queensland who was 3rd at this race in 2010. Angie Sharp is a two time Nepean winner and Charlotte McShane (2008 Xterra U20 World Champion and Australian ITU representative) was in the hunt off the bike last year but pulled out on the run leg. Ellie Salthouse (Qld) “Australian ITU representative.