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2014 Ironman World Championship Press Conference Highlights

With the top competitors sitting so close to each other, there are always a few interesting exchanges.

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Twelve top professionals gathered in Kona today ahead of Saturday’s Ironman World Championship to chat with the media. With the top competitors sitting so close to each other, there are always a few interesting exchanges. Check out the highlights below and check out our complete Kona coverage page.

Mirinda Carfrae (AUS)

On the strength of the women’s field.
“I expect nothing less. This is the world championships. This is the most coveted race in triathlon I believe, outside of the Olympics. I expect to be racing against the best in the world and I’m prepared for it.”

On choosing to race Challenge Roth in July.
“For the first five years I raced here I basically followed the same formula. I learned in 2010 that you really can’t stick to the same formula after a win. That kind of goes out the window a bit with extra obligations and a bit more travel. When I won last year I sat down and realized I needed a mental break – not break, but I needed to change what I’d been doing in the past. I knew it would be different regardless of what I tried to make it look like, so I decided to put Challenge Roth in the middle of the year there. It is a bucket list race I’ve wanted to do for many years. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I set about preparing for Roth mid-year. I was pleasantly surprised by the result there, to say the least. Since then it’s been full speed ahead for Kona. Kona is always in the back of your mind; it has to be if you want to be successful here on the island. Business as usual the second half of the year.”

RELATED – Mirinda Carfrae: I Can Get Better On Swim, Bike And Run

Frederik Van Lierde (BEL)

On spending the year as a world champion.
“It’s been a fantastic year so far. It was a pleasure to race as a world champion, arrive at some venues as a world champion and I enjoy it a lot. It was a great year.”

RELATED – Frederik Van Lierde: You Have To Be Strong To The End

Luke McKenzie (AUS)

On coming off of a tough year of racing.
“I’ve had a really frustrating year race-wise, I’ve had some sub-par results. I know I have a really good result in me. I think that’s what makes me hungry about coming back here and racing on Saturday. I know I’ve got good form and I love this race. I know how to prepare for it. I’ve been coming back here for eight years now. I’ve done my time here and I’m hungry to put a day together like I did last year.”

RELATED – Tri House Hangout: Lucke McKenzie

Craig Alexander (AUS)

On racing at 41 years old.
“It feels good to be back. I thought last year was my last year. When I said it was. I thought I’d be in Australia doing school drop-offs and starting a coaching business or something like that. I changed my mind. I like to race. I liked the opportunity to spend another summer in the Northern Hemisphere. I’m excited to be back and I’m excited to race.”

Sebastian Kienle

On the recent windy conditions.
“Predicting the weather and the winds is just like trying to predict the pro race. Everyone tries. Sometimes it will be very different than predicted. If you believe the predictions it will be a little better, which by better I mean a little worse for everyone else. It’s always nice to see white water out there and wind out on the highway. Of course it would change the race. It’s like no other race. Sometimes you need to go close to eight hours to win. Other days you win the race in 8:30. That’s not because the athletes were worse that year. It depends so much on the conditions, and of course wind favors my strengths.”

RELATED – Kona Pro Bike: Sebastian Kienle’s Scott Plasma 5

Rachel Joyce (GBR)

“It’s hard to predict. This year’s race won’t be like last year’s race. If we have a chop like this we won’t have a group of 12 women coming out all together. I don’t really use last year’s race as a template. The idea will be to ride faster and run quicker. It’s not rocket science, that’s what I’ll have to do.”

RELATED – Tri House Hangout: Rachel Joyce

Daniela Ryf (SUI)

On being in Kona for the first time.
“The last two and a half months have been really exciting. Two and a half months ago I did my first ironman two and a half months ago and now I’m here, so it’s actually pretty crazy. I don’t’ feel like I’ve raced that much to be honest the last four weeks. I’ve just trained. I feel really fit and everything has gone very well. I’ve been in Cozumel the last four weeks and I’m really excited just to race. I like racing hard. I’m here to go out there and have fun and push hard on the bike if I can.”

“I don’t know how fast I’m going to run. I certainly know I have to go hard on the bike to have a chance to win. I’m going to give it a lot on the bike and we’ll see what happens on the run. I’m interested to see how I compete against them.”

Caroline Steffen (SUI)

On the changes over the last year.
“Compared to last season I’ve had some massive changes. That all happened pretty much after Hawaii last year. I feel really good. I’m in a really happy place at the moment, which is totally different than last year. I’m really happy to have Chris McCormack as my coach. I’m happy with my training environment. I’ve been training in Australia. To be home more means a lot to me as well. I’ve definitely improved my run and my swim as well. I’ve had a great year so far without any niggles or injuries or sickness and I feel strong. Back in November I pretty much lost everything I had, sponsors and coach. It was just me and nothing else. It was pretty depressing actually. I’m really happy to be back here and I’m in a happy place.”

Tim O’Donnell (USA)

On the pressure to get an American on top of the podium.
One of the stipulations that Mark [Allen] put down for working with him was that I have to put in a more impressive performance than he did 25 years ago, so that set the bar high. I was here at the press conference back in 2011 and I felt a little pressure on my shoulders and I ended up DNFing and now sitting up here thinking I belong. I have a much different view now. I know there are a lot of Americans out there rooting for me and Meredith and the other Americans. It’s all positive for me now. It’s energy I can use and know I have the support out there. I feel a a little more in place where I am now.

RELATED: 3 Ways Mark Allen Has Changed Tim O’Donnell’s Training

Meredith Kessler (USA)

On the pressure to get an American on top of the podium.

First of all, I’m privileged to be sitting up here with these ladies and no matter what country they’re from. I’m not quite sure I’m worthy of that with my experience in Kona here over the years… I think there’s 13 of us U.S. gals racing and there are so many others who could be up here speaking to you all, so it would be great to crack that U.S. code and we’ve done everything we can to prepare for Saturday. I’m just delighted to be here to showcase it the best we can.

RELATED – Tri House Hangout: Meredith Kessler

Pete Jacobs (AUS)

On having a tough couple of years since his 2012 win.
I’m following the same plan as every other year. Get injured or be sick early in the year and then come back and start training well in August. That’s worked well four out of the past five years. That’s my mindset, that generally what I do here works and it’s a good course for me. I’ve been really relaxed. It’s nice not to be the defending champion and be down at the other side of the table. It’s a little less pressure. I’m really relaxed and am freshening up. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and doing what I do well.

Liz Blatchford (AUS)

On what it’s going to take to win.
This is probably the strongest field ever… The entire top 10 from last year plus girls like Daniela, Leanda, Mary Beth Ellis. A bunch of girls that last year were injured or weren’t even here. What’s it going to takte to beat Rinny? I don’t know. That’s the biggest question. I feel stronger on the bike and hopefully that will convert to a solid marathon.

RELATED – Tri House Hangout: Liz Blatchford