Docherty, Kessler Look To Defend At 70.3 Vineman

One of the most popular 70.3 races on the circuit will take place in Sonoma County this weekend.

Photo: Rocky Arroyo

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One of the most popular 70.3 races on the circuit will take place in Sonoma County this weekend. In addition to 2,300 age groupers, some of the sport’s best professionals will be making the start at the 24th running of Ironman 70.3 Vineman. Some elites are in search of a good mid-season test of fitness, while others are working hard to garner any last-minute points they can toward qualification for the championship races.

The Course
The 70.3-mile course is a favorite among triathletes—it sells out quickly every year —with a calm swim and breathtaking views on the bike. The 1.2-mile swim kicks off at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville in waters known for being shallow enough to stand up in certain areas. The 56-mile bike ride takes athletes on a point-to-point bike ride past hundreds of vineyards. Athletes then transition at Windsor High School before taking on an out-and-back run course through residential streets to the famed La Crema Winery. After 13.1 miles of running, athletes end back at Windsor High School.

The Men’s Race
Two-time Olympic medalist Bevan Docherty (NZL) comes in as the defending champion, but a title defense won’t come easy with last year’s second-place finisher, and recent Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs winner, Tim Reed (AUS) also on the start list. Former ITU athlete Tim Don (GBR) has been steadily improving at the 70.3 distance and will be tough to beat if he’s in contention on the run. Chasing points toward 70.3 world championship qualification will be four-time Wildflower Long Course Triathlon winner Jesse Thomas. Also look for Paul Matthews (AUS), Matt Reed (USA), Jordan Rapp (USA) and Callum Millward (NZL) to make a run at the podium.

Men’s Start List
1 Bevan Docherty
2 Tim Reed
3 Tim Don
4 Luke Bell
5 Paul Matthews
6 Matt Reed
7 Jesse Thomas
9 Jordan Rapp
10 Tim Berkel
11 Callum Millward
12 Ian Mikelson
13 Andrew Bauer
14 Owen Cummins
15 Lachlan Kerin
16 Yu Hsiao
17 Keith Butsko
19 Nicholas Chase
20 Jason Smith
21 Damon Barnett
22 Karl Schultz
23 Nathan Dressel
24 Travis Hawkins

RELATED PHOTOS: 2013 Ironman 70.3 Vineman

The Women’s Race
The story line of the women’s race will be the battle between 2012 and 2013 winner Meredith Kessler (USA) and 2011 winner Melissa Hauschildt (AUS). Hauschildt is the reigning two-time Ironman 70.3 world champion, while Kessler is the reigning two-time Ironman 70.3 U.S. champion. With both planning to race in Mont-Tremblant in September, this race serves as an early preview of that battle. Though it’d be surprising not to see Kessler and Haushildt go one-two (or vice versa), there are a handful of women who will be competing for a podium spot and could pull out a surprise victory on Sunday. Look for Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR), Sara Gross (CAN), Laura Bennett (USA), Melanie McQuaid (CAN) and Rachel McBride (CAN) to all be competitive.

Women’s Start List
25 Meredith Kessler
26 Mel Hauschildt
28 Emma-Kate Lidbury
29 Emily Cocks
30 Laura Bennett
31 Sara Gross
33 Rachel McBride
34 Melanie McQuaid
35 Valentina Carvallo
38 Michelle Mighdoll
39 Caroline Gregory
40 Adrienne Smith
41 Erika Erickson
42 Anna Russell
43 Kara LaPoint
44 Elizabeth Noey
45 Brittany Whitelock
46 Kelsey Withrow
47 Christina Jackson
48 Laura Siddall
49 Trish Deim
50 Hana Sykorova
51 Sarah Graves

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