The SunSmart IRONMNAN 70.3 Mandurah will feature one of the best fields ever assembled on Australian soil.
The men’s race will be a battle royal with one of the triathlons greatest ever athletes in Craig Alexander, and the fastest man ever over the IRONMAN 70.3 distance, and two time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Michael Raelert (GER) on the start line.
In the women’s race two-time world champion Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) is back in an attempt to hold onto her title, while a raft of world class athletes will be nipping at her heels.
“I am really looking forward to racing in Mandurah. I didn’t run as fast in Kona as I’d hoped but as a result, I feel like I have recovered much quicker,” Alexander said.
There are few athletes on the planet that can match Raelert’s top-end speed and after a lengthy break from racing due to a knee injury in 2013, then a bike crash earlier this year, he is slowly getting back to the level that saw him win back to back IRONMAN 70.3 World titles in 2009 and 2010. His last two races have been wins, at September’s IRONMAN 70.3 Reugen and then last week’s IRONMAN 70.3 Miami.
“I’m so happy to race in Australia, and I’m thrilled to race Ironman 70.3 Mandurah. This is what I really need to improve, racing the best on a very fast and absolutely demanding course,” Raelert said.
The withdrawal of defending champion Terenzo Bozzone due to illness means a new champion will be crowned at IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah which doubles as the Australian Pro Championship.
Joining Alexander and Raelert in the battle for a spot on the podium will be Tim Reed (AUS) who is fresh off a seventh at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship and wins at IRONMAN 70.3 Buffalo Springs and IRONMAN 70.3 Vineman; two-time Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt, who finished second at IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie; multiple IRONMAN 70.3 champion Luke Bell (AUS) and Tyler Butterfield (BMU) who was third at IRONMAN France.
Hauschildt’s bid for a third straight title will not be easy with two-time podium finisher at the IRONMAN World Championship Rachel Joyce (GBR) and current IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Champion Caroline Steffen on the start line.
Hauschildt finished seventh at last weekend’s Subaru Noosa Triathlon and has recovered from the torn pectoral muscle that forced her out of the defence of her IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in mid-September and from her planned debut at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii. The Queenslander is chasing her third straight title at Mandurah, but will be tested by the world class field.
“I’ve only just started swimming again and don’t want to push it after almost seven weeks out of the water so I guess we’ll see how my form is on race day,” she said.
One of those tests is sure to come from Joyce. After a third place at the IRONMAN World Championship, she plans to use that fitness at Mandurah.
“This will be my third time to WA and it is one of my favourite parts of Australia, so it is great to have an opportunity to race here. I also like racing in the heat so hope Mandurah will deliver a warm day and some wind too,” she said.
Steffen also enters the race in great form after a third place at the Subaru Noosa Triathlon.
“I have recovered well after the Olympic distance Noosa Tri and I was very pleased with my third place. It looks like it’s going to be an epic race, a lot of strong swimmers and bikers on the start list.”
But these three giants of the sport will not have it their own way with at least five women with a legitimate claim on a podium spot.
Joining Hauschildt, Joyce and Steffen on the field of battle will be by Radka Vodickova (CZE) who has notched up three IRONMAN 70.3 wins already this season and former short course star Annabel Luxford (AUS).
Race day on Sunday 9 November will also include over 1500 age group athletes chasing their own personal bests.