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The Ironman 70.3 European Championship takes place this Sunday in Wiesbaden, Germany. Athletes will be using this opportunity to pick up last-minute points to compete at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Lake Las Vegas on Sept. 11th and for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona on Oct. 8th.
Last year’s winner for the men, Michael Raelert, will not make the start due to a hip injury that has plagued him throughout 2011. Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand is one of the pros hoping to gain enough points for an entrance into Kona. He has battled an Achilles injury since placing fifth at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans. As of July 31st when the Kona Points were released, Bozzone sat in 51st place, but this race does not guarantee he will make the cut off. Only fifty registration spots are up for grabs and 40 have already been offered. So it’s a fight for those last 10 places, provided that all 40 are accepted.
Marko Albert of Estonia also finds himself right on the edge in 52nd place and is on the starting list for Sunday. Other athletes on the line-up list are Filip Ospaly of the Czech Republic and Australia’s Richie Cunningham, a staple at the Rev3 and Ironman 70.3 races. He is currently in 75th place.
On the women’s side, Sophie De Groote of Belgium is a strong contender. She placed second at Ironman 70.3 Antwerp. Dutch triathlete Yvonne Van Vlerken is also on the starting list. She is a two-time winner of Challenge Roth and in 2008 set a then world-record for the iron distance. She has already secured her spot to Kona.