Defending Champions Return To Ironman Coeur d’Alene

American Ben Hoffman and Canadian Heather Wurtele will attempt to defend their titles against a tough pro list.

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At this Sunday’s Ironman Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho, American Ben Hoffman and Canadian Heather Wurtele will attempt to defend their titles against a tough pro list, while competing for valuable KPR (Kona Pro Rankings) points and a $75,000 prize purse. More than 2,300 athletes will also be competing for 50 qualifying slots to the 2014 Ironman World Championship.

The Course

Set in the small town of Coeur d’Alene, the two-loop, 2.4-mile swim is in the beautiful, glacier-fed Lake Coeur d’Alene in water temperatures in the 60s F. The two-loop 112-mile bike takes two loops starting from along the lakeshore to the rolling hills west of the lake through rural northern Idaho (and features no turns for an 80-mile stretch!). The 26.2-mile run takes place on the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene, and features one steep climb and great crowd support. The moderately difficult course and small-town feel make it a favorite among U.S. Ironman competitors, causing it to sell out year after year.

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The Pro Race

In the men’s race, American Ben Hoffman will be defending his Coeur d’Alene title. The multiple Ironman champion (including the notorious 2012 Ironman St. George) followed up a 15th-place finish at Ironman Hawaii in October with a few Ironman 70.3 podiums. His biggest competition will come from 2010 Ironman CDA champion and fellow American Andy Potts, who has multiple Ironman and Ironman 70.3 titles to his credit and has already bested Hoffman at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans this year. Both men are currently within the top 50 men of the KPR and will be using CDA to complete their requirement of racing one full Ironman in the qualifying year in order to race in Kona this October. Other competitors vying for the podium include Ukraine’s Viktor Zyemtsev, American Matthew Russell and Germany’s Maik Twelsiek.

In the women’s race, Canada’s Heather Wurtele, a four-time Ironman champion and top-10 Kona finisher, will also be returning to defend her title. She’s already racked up three 70.3 wins this year (Oceanside, Eagleman and Monterrey) and holds the Coeur d’Alene course record. American Kelly Williamson, who won her first full Ironman last month in Texas, will be Wurtele’s toughest competition, especially on the run. Williamson currently sits in 34th (just barely in the top 35 women), and Wurtele sits in 38th and will need this full Ironman finish (and valuable KPR points) to qualify. Also making a run at the podium is 2013 Ironman Lake Placid champ and American Jennie Hansen.

RELATED PHOTOS: 2013 Ironman Coeur d’Alene

Pro Men:
Ben Hoffman (USA)
Andy Potts (USA)
Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR)
Matthew Russell (USA)
Maik Twelsiek (GER)
Pedro Gomes (POR)
Nathan Birdsall (USA)
Rick Floyd (USA)
Derek Garcia (USA)
Thomas Gerlach (USA)
Chris Bagg (USA)
Matt Hanson (USA)
Brent McBurney (USA)
Dantley Young (USA)
Patrick Wheeler (USA)

Pro Women:
Heather Wurtele (CAN)
Kelly Williamson (USA)
Stephanie Jones (USA)
Cathleen Knutson (USA)
Kara LaPoint (USA)
Lindsay Ludlow (USA)
Olesya Prystayko (UKR)
Jessica Smith (USA)
Jennie Hansen (USA)
Ali Black (USA)

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