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Defending Champions Return To Ironman Australia

Australia's Paul Ambrose and New Zealand's Michelle Bremer will return to Port Macquarie to defend their titles.

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Australia’s Paul Ambrose and New Zealand’s Michelle Bremer will return to Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia to defend their Ironman Australia titles this Sunday, May 1.

Read the preview from Ironman below:

Ambrose won his first Ironman Australia title in 2012, but was unable to defend it the following year. This time, he’s focussed all his energies on racing well as defending champion. “I wanted to go back in 2013 to defend my title, but problems with my race schedule meant it didn’t work out. This year everything has pointed to me to Ironman Australia,” he said.

Bremer enjoyed a career year in 2015 following her Ironman Australia win with a third at Ironman Cairns just over a month later.

“I can’t wait to race again at Port Macquarie. Last year was an incredible experience and I feel honored to be able to come back as defending champion this year,” Bremer said. “This race feels like my home away from home race (I’m originally from NZ and now living in Penrith, Sydney), so to back up with another win would be amazing.”

Ambrose will resume pleasantries with the 2014 champion and last year’s runner-up Luke Bell. Last year, the pair waged an enormous battle on the run with Ambrose digging deep to hold off the fast-finishing Bell.

Joining them on the start line will be fellow Aussies; 70.3 specialist Tim Reed who is fresh of a third at Ironman 70.3 California, two-time Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt and Ironman rookie Josh Amberger.

RELATED: Tim Reed’s Secrets To Sustained Success

Amberger, who was rarely off the Ironman 70.3 podium last year, has continued his good form this year with a second to world champion Jan Frodeno at Ironman 70.3 Dubai, second at Ironman 70.3 Geelong and second at Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya.

“I had a great run of training from December 2015 to the end of January 2016, which I capped off with podiums in Dubai and Geelong. A lot of the injuries that stopped me from reaching my potential in 2015 had cleared up and with these results and good feeling in training, I thought it was the right time to try Ironman,” Amberger said.

In the women’s race, Bremer’s main threats could come from fellow Kiwi Gina Crawford and American Beth Gerdes.

Crawford and Bremer both raced at Ironman New Zealand in March finishing eighth and sixth respectively, while Gerdes enjoyed a breakout year in 2015 winning her first Ironman in Switzerland and finishing 15th in her first trip to the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

“The lead up has been going well, I took some positives and some areas to work on away from Ironman New Zealand,” Bremer said “Since then it’s been a mix and recovery and some solid miles over the past couple of weeks, but I feel generally well and on track to race again at Ironman Australia.”

Race weekend will see more than 2,400 age-group athletes chasing their own personal bests.

RELATED VIDEO: Beth Gerdes Shares The Journey To 2015 Kona

See the pro start list below:

Men
1 Paul Ambrose (AUS)
2 Luke Bell (AUS)
3 Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS)
4 David Dellow (AUS)
5 Clayton Fettell (AUS)
6 Tim Reed (AUS)
7 Dougal Allan (NZL)
8 Casey Munro (AUS)
9 Josh Amberger (AUS)
10 Levi Maxwell (AUS)
11 Simon Billeau (FRA)
12 Allister Caird (AUS)
13 Simon Cochrane (NZL)
14 Mitch Dean (AUS)
15 Michael Fox (AUS)
16 Adam Gordon (AUS)
17 Jarmo Hast (FIN)
18 Darren Jenkins (AUS)
19 Jim Lubinski (USA)
20 Samuel Murphy (AUS)
21 Caleb Noble (AUS)
22 Matt Randall (NZL)
23 Leigh Stabryla (AUS)
24 Lindsey Wall (AUS)

Women
31 Michelle Bremer (NZL)
32 Gina Crawford (NZL)
33 Beth Gerdes (USA)
34 Melanie Burke (NZL)
35 Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS)
36 Amy Javens (USA)
37 Lisa Marangon (AUS)
38 Tamsyn Hayes (NZL)
39 Kristy Hallett (AUS)
40 Wendy McAlpine (AUS)
41 Ali Fitch (AUS)
42 Lauren Parker (AUS)
43 Jessica Richards (AUS)