It seems I created quite a stir when I listed Macca as the number-two contender to take out Crowie in last week’s toteboard. I meant no disrespect to the man, and after the outpouring of feedback regarding the Aussie, I’m moving him up to the number-one contender on this week’s board. I still like Llanos, and I think he has a solid chance of pulling it off this year, but both Macca and the Spaniard are going to have one hell of a time staying with Crowie. Alexander seems to have even better form than he did last year and I believe if someone is going to beat him, that man will have to run 2:41, if not faster.
Here’s what Macca has going for him:
- He seems to deal with the heat much better than he used to and we’re due for a really hot year on the Big Island.
- He’ll most likely outrun Llanos, so all he has to do is not let the Spaniard get too far away on the bike.
- He’s not returning to Kona to get anything but first. If he won last year, he would’ve retired from Kona. He’s hungry for one more win.
- He’s not peaking too early. While it doesn’t appear he has the same form as Crowie right now, that might not be a bad thing. It’s all about peaking at the right time. He’s done it before, so there’s no reason he can’t do it again.
Here’s what Macca doesn’t have going for him:
- There are a lot of wildcards in this year’s race. Most notably are the three speedsters who are somewhat new to Ironman: Andreas Raelert, Rasmus Henning and Andy Potts. We simply don’t know what these guys are capable off. With three guys like this in the race, I have to believe that one of them will hold it together and give the veterens some trouble.
- Swagger: Macca has always had it, but in the last year Crowie has become the King of long-course racing. To win, Macca will have to believe that last year was just a fluke, and he’s still the man to beat.
- The middle leg: Of the three men at the top of this week’s toteboard (Crowie, Macca, Llanos), Macca likely has the weakest bike leg of the three. Llanos is a world-class cyclist and Crowie continues to improve. Macca will have to be mindful of just how far in front Llanos is as they ride home from Hawi. If Llanos can get a gap of 6-10 minutes, he may be impossible to catch. I suspect Llanos will try for a larger gap off the bike than he had last year.
So, without further adieu, here’s this week’s handicap…go ahead with your comments. And feel free to be mean…I can take it:
- Craig Alexander (AUS) – 3:1
- Chris McCormack (AUS) – 6:1
- Eneko Llanos (ESP) – 7:1
- Rutger Beke (BEL) – 15:1
- Andy Potts (USA) – 15:1
- Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) – 16:1
- Rasmus Henning (DEN) – 18:1
- Normann Stadler (GER) – 20:1
- Andreas Raelert (GER) – 22:1
- Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) – 22:1
First 5 Out: Chris Lieto (USA), Torbjorn Sindballe (DEN), Cam Brown (NZL), Faris Al-Sultan (GER), Eduardo Sturla (ARG)
Who we have our eyes on: Timo Bracht (GER), Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL), Patrick Vernay (NCL)