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Pros Racing Saturday In Historic Ironman Vineman

The classic race takes place in the scenic Sonoma County wine country in Northern California.

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While Vineman is the oldest iron-distance event in the continental U.S. (dating back to 1990), this will be the first year it’s branded as an Ironman race. The classic race takes place in the scenic Sonoma County wine country in Northern California, and this year it will feature a $50,000 professional prize purse and 40 age-group qualifying slots for October’s Ironman World Championship.

The course features beautiful wine country scenery set in cool mornings and warm days. The 2.4-mile swim starts from Johnson’s Beach in the Russian River, and the 112-mile bike course is a mix of terrain that takes athletes through multiple grape growing regions with almost 4000 feet of climbing. The two-loop marathon course traverses scenic country roads within Sonoma County.

In the pro race, previous Full Vineman (non-Ironman-branded) champion Max Biessman tops the list with the most experience on this course. But he’ll face tough competition from veteran pro and Aussie Richie Cunningham, who has a slew of Ironman 70.3 titles to his name and was the runner-up at the 2014 Ironman Boulder. Four-time Ironman Louisville champion Chris McDonald of Australia, a very experienced Ironman, will also be vying for a podium spot, as well as Ironman Lake Placid champion and age-group Ironman world champion Kyle Buckingham of South Africa.

In the women’s race, American Sarah Piampiano will be looking for her first Ironman title of 2016 after a stellar 2015 season—she finished the year with a seventh place in Kona and her first Ironman title in Western Australia. While she’s fine in the Kona Points Rankings, she’s likely looking for a little more Ironman experience before the October world championship. She’ll be facing tough competition from Aussie Kate Bevilaqua, a multiple Ironman champion, speedy swimmer and American Amanda Stevens and Brazilian Ariane Monticeli, who burst onto the Ironman scene with a win at the 2015 Ironman South American Championships.

RELATED PHOTOS: 2016 Ironman 70.3 Vineman

Pro men
Max Biessman (USA)
Chris McDonald (AUS)
Richie Cunningham (AUS)
Kyle Buckingham (RSA)
Barrett Brandon (USA)
Thomas Gerlach (USA)
Pedro Gomes (POR)
Guy Crawford (NZL)
Rafael Goncalves (BRA)
Nicholas Granet (FRA)
Andrew Langfield (USA)
Colin Laughery (USA)
Jim Lubinski (USA)
Doug Maclean (USA)
Sergio Quezada Ruiz (MEX)
Jonathan Shearon (USA)
Jesse Vondracek (USA)
Dantley Young (USA)

Pro women
Sarah Piampiano (USA)
Kate Bevilaqua (AUS)
Amanda Stevens (USA)
Ariane Monticeli (BRA)
Katy Cargiulo (USA)
Terry Casey (USA)
Kendra Goffredo (USA)
Monica Juhart (AUS)
Jocelyn McCauley (USA)
Ashley Paulson (USA)
Darbi Roberts (USA)
Jessica Smith (USA)
Kyra Wiens (USA)