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Dispatch: The Pros’ Vegas Picks

We polled a selection of top pros–athletes who have confirmed they will not race in Vegas–to learn their number picks for the win.

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In the lead up to this weekend’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas, we polled a selection of top pros–athletes who have confirmed they will not race in Vegas–to learn their number one male and female picks for the win (although some couldn’t resist naming the entire podium). Read on…then take our men’s and women’s polls and let us know what you think!

Chris “Macca” McCormack (AUS)

Men: Jan Frodeno, because he doesn’t have any weakness and he has an amazing run.

Women: Melissa Hauschildt, because she’s simply the best.

RELATED: Macca Talks TriRock Austin And Final Kona Prep

Mary Beth Ellis (USA)

Men: Ritchie Nicholls. He is a Team TBB boy and is on great form. He races with courage and will put everything on the line to win. If he doesn’t win, he will at least give it his best shot and leave everything out on the racecourse. There is a stacked men’s field and I can’t wait to watch the dog fight!

Women: Melissa Hauschildt. She dominated in her last few 70.3 events with massive winning margins and had a stellar race in Hy-Vee last weekend. She seems to be on red-hot form, but there are many talented ladies who will make her work for it. I am looking forward to watching!

RELATED: Bell, Ellis Win Ironman North American Championship

Ben Hoffman (USA)

Men: This year Vegas will be more like an ITU race, and if you miss the swim it will be game over. I pick Jan Frodeno to be the one to stay hidden all day on the swim and bike and then unleash a very quick run to pull away. He should have won Wiesbaden after a T2 snafu held him to second–which may be a boon, keeping him hungry for the win. With little racing lately, he is physically and mentally ready.

Women: Mel Hauschildt. She has timed her year right, and has the hunger to regain her title after a miss last year. With dominating wins at Boulder and Timberman, the only question is if she used a little too much before the big dance. But I think she will find her way to the front on the bike, and we all know she can run with the best out there.

RELATED – Pro Bike: Ben Hoffman’s Specialized Shiv

Mirinda Carfrae (AUS)

Men: Sentimental favorite for the men’s race is my Timmy boy. Others to watch are Jan Frodeno, Bevan Docherty and never count out Crowie.

Women: No one will touch Mel Hauschildt in the form she is in. Others to watch are Annabel Luxford, Lisa Norden if she races [Norden is reported to have a foot injury] and Svenja Bazlen. Now that I think of it there are loads of girls who could take a podium spot–it’s too hard to pick. I’m looking forward to seeing it all shake out.

RELATED – ProFile: Mirinda Carfrae

Dirk Bockel (LUX)

Men: Jan Frodeno, because he is so German. But only if he gets his T2 straight.

Women: Melissa Hauschildt–that running chick–because she is constant and fast.

RELATED – Course Talk: Ironman 70.3 World Championship

Liz Blatchford (GBR)

Men: This is an outsider and definitely a dark horse but Tim Don for the men’s race. I know what Tim is capable of and don’t think we have seen anywhere near what he is capable of yet over the 70.3 distance. I know his training has been really good and he has prepared meticulously specifically for this race.

Women: You can’t go past Mel Hauschildt in the women’s race. She has been nearly unbeaten this year and is in amazing form. She has raced Vegas twice before so knows the course and what conditions to expect. She races with such tenacity, I see her either winning or blowing herself to bits trying!

Andi Boecherer (GER)

1. Craig Alexander. Never count him out for a world championship title. He’s strong in all three disciplines with a killer run.
2. Andy Potts–maybe the most successful 70.3 athlete of all time.
3. Bart Aernouts. He had a killer spring season including a 2:37 marathon at Ironman Nice. If he can close the gap after the swim everything is possible.

1. Mellissa Hauschildt. She is on fire and has found her world champion form from 2011.
2. Svenja Bazlen–an uberbiker made in Germany, with a slight “weakness” on the run.
3. Heather Jackson. She had a super strong spring campaign and may now be peaking in time for worlds.

Rebekah Keat (AUS)

Men: Greg Bennett will be very hard to beat. The boy still has it!
Women: Leanda Cave because she is the toughest chick I know!

Jeff Symonds (CAN)

Men: Brent McMahon. Canadians kick ass, if that is reason enough to pick him. Brent showed earlier this year in St. George that he can target big races and win them. 70.3 is his distance and I think he’ll surprise with some underrated cycling legs on race day. The Vegas course favors shorter athletes.

Women: Heather Wurtele. Not only is she from Canada, she is also from the Okanagan. Heather has been killing the women’s field with kindness with big wins this season at Rev3 Quassy, Panama 70.3, Calgary 70.3 and Coeur D’Alene. She has raced the course the past two seasons so she is familiar with exactly what to expect on race day–and the Vegas course favors taller athletes.

RELATED PHOTOS: 2013 Challenge Penticton

Belinda Granger (AUS)

1. Ritchie Nicholls
2. Jan Frodeno
3. Craig Alexander (A sentimental fave of mine.)

1. Melissa Hauschildt
2. Lisa Norden (A little unsure about this as she has a foot injury.)
3. Heather Jackson4. Annabel Luxford (If the above girls falter she will be there.)

RELATED: Belinda Granger Chats About 10 Years At Challenge Roth

Dylan McNeice (NZL)

Men: Jan Frodeno. He will swim with anyone, bike away from most and is the fastest runner in the field. He is an Olympic Champ, after all!

Women: If Lisa Norden is injured then I will have to go with Melissa Hauschildt. She has a weaker swim, but is more than capable (particularly of late) on the bike and run to make up ground. Her form seems to be spot on heading into Vegas.

RELATED: Dylan McNeice From Challenge Roth

Sarah Piampiano (USA)

Men: Brent McMahon. With his ITU background and proven run speed, I think he will be a strong contender for the win. On a similarly challenging course at St. George in May he ran away with the title and put everyone on alert that he has the ability to race well on hard courses.

Women: Melissa Hauschildt. This was a hard one to call for me! Heather Wurtele has been on fire all season, and with a much-improved run I think she could be a contender. But Melissa has also shown some big improvements in her swim and bike, and with her run I think that makes her the one to beat.

RELATED – ProFile: Sarah Piampiano

TJ Tollakson (USA)

Men: Bevan Docherty

Women: Melissa Hauschildt

RELATED – T.J. Tollakson: The Idea Man

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