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Deep Pro Field Racing Ironman 70.3 California

Several short-course pros will be stepping up to the half-Ironman distance this weekend in Oceanside.

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With the loss of pro prize money in short-course non-drafting races, several short-course pros will be stepping up to the half-Ironman distance this weekend in Oceanside, making the early-season race’s start list even deeper. With former Oceanside winners, Olympians and world champions on the start list, Saturday’s race will be exciting and likely come down to the final miles. Pros will be competing for their share of a $60,000 prize purse.

Pro men’s race

In the men’s race, defending champion and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno will face tough competition from American Andy Potts, who’s won five times in Oceanside. We haven’t seen Frodeno race yet this year, and he did have a bike crash in February, so it’ll be interesting to see if he’s in top form. We could see a stellar race from Potts, who had his top finish in Kona in 2014 with fourth place and a 2:48 marathon. He’s also won in sprint finishes a few times in Oceanside. Four-time Wildflower champ Jesse Thomas, who’s been bested in one of those sprint finishes, will be racing as well, but as we haven’t seen him race yet in 2015, we’re eager to see where his form is.

Outside of Frodeno, Potts and Thomas, there are a number of other men who could contend for the title including Brent McMahon (CAN), who recently set the Ironman Arizona course record in his IM debut, and Kevin Collington (USA), who’s had top 70.3 finishes in deep pro fields. There’s a long list of other podium contenders including Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI), Paul Matthews (AUS), Maik Twelsiek (GER), Leon Griffin (AUS), Matty Reed (USA), Lionel Sanders (CAN), Trevor Wurtele (CAN), Michael Weiss (AUT) and Matt Lieto (USA).

Pro women’s race

The women’s race appears wide open, with defending champion (and course record holder) Heather Wurtele, 2013 Oceanside champ Heather Jackson and the 2012 Oceanside winner and multiple XTERRA world champion Melanie McQuaid all on the start list. Wurtele and Jackson both had strong 2014 seasons, and the race could again become a showdown between the two Heathers.

However, we’re also eager to see how a number of half-Ironman specialists will fare on this course, including Canadians Angela Naeth and Magali Tisseyre (who recently won Ironman 70.3 Monterrey), Brit Emma-Kate Lidbury and American Sarah Piampiano. Ironman athletes Michelle Vesterby of Denmark, who’s had a top-10 Kona finish; American Liz Lyles, who was second at IM Frankfurt last year; and Aussie Carrie Lester, the 2013 Challenge Penticton champion, are all capable of a top finish.

We’re also interested to see how Life Time Tri Series champion Alicia Kaye will do—in a stacked Challenge Dubai field last month, she came in sixth. With the announcement of essentially the discontinuation of non-drafting short-course racing, she’s said that half-iron-distance racing has been changed from something she was dabbling in to her focus for the season. Other short-course stars who could do well are Rebeccah Wassner and Laurel Wassner.

RELATED PHOTOS: 2014 Ironman 70.3 California

Pro men:
Jan Frodeno (GER)
Andy Potts (USA)
Matt Reed (USA)
Jesse Thoma (USA)
Brent McMahon (CAN)
Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI)
Lionel Sanders (CAN)
Paul Matthews (AUS)
Trevor Wurtele (CAN)
Michael Weiss (AUT)
Christian Kemp (AUS)
David Kahn (USA)
Ben Collins (USA)
Andrew Yoder (USA)
Kevin Collington (USA)
Leon Griffin (AUS)
Chris Bagg (USA)
Chris Baird (USA)
Damon Barnett (USA)
Blake Becker (USA)
Frederic Belaubre (FRA)
Chris Berg (AUS)
Karl Bordine (USA)
Dylan Bridges-Oliva (USA)
Keith Butsko (USA)
Nicholas Chase (USA)
Matthew Curbeau (USA)
Scott DeFilippis (USA)
Guillaume Doree (FRA)
Nathan Dressel (USA)
Lewis Elliot (USA)
Matt Franklin (NZL)
Derek Garcia (USA)
Matt Hanson (USA)
Yu Hsiao (USA)
Tyler Jordan (USA)
Stephen Kilshaw (CAN)
Matt Lieto (USA)
Eric Reid (USA)
Taylor Reid (CAN)
Jonathan Shearon (USA)
Reilly Smith (USA)
Sean Sullivan (USA)
Joe Thorne (USA)
Dantley Young (USA)
Maik Twelsiek (GER)

Pro women:
Heather Wurtele (CAN)
Heather Jackson (USA)
Melanie McQuaid (CAN)
Angela Naeth (CAN)
Michelle Vesterby (DEN)
Jennifer Spieldenner (USA)
Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR)
Liz Lyles (USA)
Carrie Lester (AUS)
Rebecca Preston (AUS)
Sarah Piampiano (USA)
Laura Siddall (GBR)
Rebeccah Wassner (USA)
Laurel Wassner (USA)
Alicia Kaye (USA)
Rachel McBride (CAN)
Holly Lawrence (GBR)
Kaitlin Anelauskas (USA)
Lauren Brandon (USA)
Katy Carguilo (USA)
Terry Casey (USA)
Emily Cocks (USA)
Alexandra Gordichuk (CAN)
Christina Jackson (USA)
Sarah Jarvis (GER)
Carly Johann (USA)
Tamara Kozulina (UKR)
Jocelyn McCauley (USA)
Amelia McCracken (USA)
Charlotte Morel (FRA)
Elizabeth Noey (USA)
Brittany Pierce (USA)
Magali Tisseyre (CAN)