Men's Race Preview
Kevin Mackinnon looks at the stacked men's field competing on Saturday
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
While it should come as no surprise at a world championship to see a competitive field, the men's race this weekend can best be described as stacked. With a mix of 70.3 vets and some "newbies" who have stepped up from short course racing, we're looking forward to an incredible race here in Clearwater.
Ironman California 70.3 champ Matty Reed should be one of the first out of the water on Saturday, but he's likely to have some company - England's Stuart Hayes should come out of the water near the front, as should another fast-swimming Brit, Philip Graves. New Zealand's Kieran Doe and Australian Luke Bell are contenders for the lead swim pack, too.
On the bike things promise to get really crazy. Graves, who is one of England's best time trial riders, is likely to try and use those impressive time trial skills to pull away from the rest of the field. Bjorn Anderson loves to hammer off the front in the bike, too, so he will probably join in that fast moving dash at the front. Through the bike ride we'll all be looking for Oscar Galindez to make his annual charge through the field. Some other fast riders to keep an eye on include Reinaldo Colucci, who flew through the opening stages of the Ford Ironman World Championship last month and American Timothy O'Donnell, who is coming of a win down under at the World Long Course Championship.
As the run begins we'll see how the all-round contenders have faired through the first two legs of the race and start the run. Athletes like defending champion Terenzo Bozzone (pictured), Luke Bell, Richie Cunningham, Greg Bennett, Joe Gambles and Brent McMahon are all reasonable pre-race favorites and could certainly run their way to the win here in Clearwater on Saturday.
Women's race Preview
Kevin Mackinnon looks at the fast women's race expected at the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Saturday's women's race promises to be an interesting one because it features some of the best athletes in Ironman 70.3 racing history set to compete. Trying to name a clear favorite for the 2009 Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 is simply impossible, but here's a go at trying to predict what might happen.
There's a group of very strong swimmers in this year's race that include Julie Dibens (fresh off her third straight XTERRA World Title), defending women's champion Joanna Zeiger (pictured), Leanda Cave, Lucie Zelenkova and former Olympian Laura Bennett.
Dibens is probably the strongest cyclist from that group (and, were it not for the participation of Olympic medalist and World Time Trial champion Karin Thuerig, it would be easy to call Dibens the strongest women's cyclist in the race!), so the question will be whether or not she's able to pull away from the rest of the lead swim group.
Former world champion (in both short course and Ironman), Michellie Jones, could be the woman leading the chase group out of the water, possibly accompanied by Samantha Warriner and Sarah Groff.
Other athletes we're likely to see gaining ground during the bike are last year's runner-up Mary Beth Ellis, Thuerig, Ironman 70.3 Boise champ Magali Tisseyre and recent ITU long course world champion Jodi Swallow. Look for Rebecah Wassner to also be part of that chase group, too – she's been picked as a “dark horse” by many here in Clearwater.
The run here should be very interesting. Even if someone is able to open a sizable gap on the rest of the field starting the half-marathon run, they'll have their work cut out for them if they're going to hold on for the win here in Clearwater on Saturday because there are simply so many women who could run their way to the title.
Which is why it's likely to be a great race to watch!