With Crowie Out, Ironman Australia Field Wide Open

Four-time defending champ Patrick Vernay, top elite Pete Jacobs focus on finishing first at this weekend’s Ironman Australia in Port Macquarie.

Nothing changes in Pete Jacobs’ mind ahead of the Ironman Australia triathlon even though Craig Alexander’s shock withdrawal changes everything.

Alexander, the two-time Hawaiian Ironman champion, has pulled out of Sunday’s race at Port Macquarie on the NSW north coast because of a chest infection.

The Australian star was the main drawcard and the overwhelming favourite to win there for the first time.

His absence will make for a more open elite men’s race.

New Caledonian Patrick Vernay, the four-time defending champion, becomes the new favorite.

Jacobs’ breakthrough performance at Hawaii last October means he is one of the best Australian hopes but he said Alexander’s non-start would have little affect on how he attacks the race.

“Certainly he was the main guy to watch, it makes it a little bit easier, I guess,” says Jacobs.

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