Why it matters: Europe is set to host two great Ironman events on Sunday, with an impressive line-up of men's and women's professionals battling it out in Swansea, Wales, and an all-female field racing in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.
Setting the pace: These events come as the next step in the 2023 triathlon season. Ironman 70.3 Swansea, which attracted around 2,000 athletes, will follow the path of Alistair Brownlee and Kat Matthews, who won the inaugural edition. The event in Vitoria-Gasteiz, a city with a decade-long triathlon tradition, is set to welcome over 1,500 participants.
What they are saying:
- This is an important competition for the triathlon community, and we are excited about the talented line-up and the opportunity for some thrilling races
By the numbers:
- 17 out of 27 athletes representing the United Kingdom in Swansea's professional line-up
- 2000 athletes expected to participate in the Swansea event
- 1500 athletes expected to participate in the Vitoria-Gasteiz event
- $50,000 prize purse at Vitoria-Gasteiz
Between the transition: Last year's winners, Brownlee and Matthews, have set a high bar for this year's Swansea event. In the professional field, athletes like Joe Skipper, Andrew Horsfall-Turner, Emma Pallant-Browne, and Nikki Bartlett aim to keep the winning tradition. The event at Vitoria-Gasteiz, despite its smaller women’s professional field, promises fierce competition with athletes like Gurutze Frades Larralde and Els Visser in the mix.
Through Time: Joe Skipper is making a return to the Ironman 70.3 race following his DNF at the Dubai event in 2021, and Larralde is looking to replicate her last year's victory at Ironman Cozumel. Emma Pallant-Browne is coming off a strong season start with a second-place finish at Ironman 70.3 Andorra and a victory at Ironman 70.3 Aix-en-Provence, while Nikki Bartlett won Ironman 70.3 Marbella.
The bottom line: These Ironman events highlight the athleticism and competition within the triathlon community, and with a strong line-up of athletes, they promise an exciting weekend of races. These events also offer athletes a chance to earn qualifying slots for the World Championships.