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Both the United States’ Andy Potts and Great Britain’s Leanda Cave will be back in San Francisco on Sunday, June 14 in an attempt to make it three in a row at the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon.
The top spot on the podium went to Potts and Cave in both 2007 and 2008. The last athletes other than Potts and Cave to win were Americans Becky Lavelle and Matty Reed in 2006. Winning the 2009 title won’t be easy, as both Potts and Cave will receive some tough competition from a stellar pro field. While the pros are aware of the other top athletes lining up on the ferry on Sunday, most are likely more concerned about what twists the tough and unusual course will throw at them this year.
Potts will face a tough pro field made up of veteran athletes. Of the 22 male professionals racing, only four will be navigating the Escape from Alcatraz course for the first time. The race’s unique distance attracts a mixed field of professionals, with many of the sport’s top swimmers choosing to take advantage of the longer-than-usual 1.5-mile swim. Short-course specialists David Thompson (USA), Victor Plata (USA), Joe Umphenour (USA) and Brian Fleischmann will all compete for the top spot. Australia’s Bryan Rhodes and France’s Benjamin Sanson are also super swimmers and could contend for the lead out of the water, if not the overall win.
While the women’s field is not as deep as the men’s, it will likely be a closer competition with three previous winners boarding the ferry. American Becky Lavelle has raced here every year since her 2006 victory and has come up short. Last year, Lavelle tried to chase down Cave but came up 15 seconds short and had to settle for second place. Australian Michellie Jones will be the wildcard of the race. Jones has won this race seven times (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004) and will be back after sitting out last year due to an injury. Other tough competitors will be Americans Mary Beth Ellis, Jasmine Oeinck and Gina Kehr. The race could be wide open as Cave raced last weekend on a tough Rev3 course in Middlebury, Conn.
While the pro line-up is impressive, much of the attention at the race goes to the age-groupers, as there will be more than 2,000 of them racing across San Francisco Bay.