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Top Europeans Line Up For Ironman 70.3 Germany

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Faris Al-Sultan will be back to defend his title.
Faris Al-Sultan will be back to defend his title.

A preview of the professional fields at this weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Germany.

With many athletes returning to their home training grounds in preparation for the Ironman World Championships in October, this weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Germany race will feature some of the top European triathletes. The race is also popular among age-group athletes, with more than 3,000 amateurs competing in the half-ironman distance race.

Germany’s own Faris Al-Sultan, the 2005 Ironman World Champion, seeks out races in his home country and is the defending champion from 2008. While Al-Sultan is known for his cycling power, he will be facing off against some of the strongest up and coming cyclists in the sport. Fellow German Sebastian Kienle is a youngster known for smashing bike courses across the country and is looking for a strong showing on this International stage. Another up and comer known for his cycling prowess is German Michael Raelert, the brother of Ironman Arizona Champion Andreas Raelert. Other contenders include Switzerland’s Mathias Hecht and Germany’s Markus Fachbach. Italian Alessandro Degasperi is one of the strongest runners of the group. Degasperi will have to keep the strong cyclists in his sights if he has any chance of running them down on the half-marathon.

With last year’s female champion, Spain’s Virginia Berasategui, opting not to race, the women’s favorite is last year’s runner-up at the Ironman World Championships, Yvonne Van Vlerken of the Netherlands. Last year’s runner up at this race, Germany’s Andrea Brede, will be back to face Van Vlerken. Another top contender will be German Ina Reinders. Also look for several up and coming Germans to shake up the women’s podium.