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Top Names To Tackle Ironman European Championships

Unquestionably the best professional Ironman race outside of the Ironman World Championship this season will take place this Sunday.

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Unquestionably the best professional Ironman race outside of the Ironman World Championship this season will take place this Sunday, July 5, in Frankfurt, Germany. The bragging rights for the two athletes crowned Ironman European champs will be huge, but there are also important season implicationsguaranteed Kona spots, KPR points and prize moneyfor several pros on the start list.

There are no less than a handful of male athletes who could claim the win on Sunday, with several current and former Kona podium finishers on the start list. Reigning Ironman world champion Sebastian Kienle (GER) will be racing this distance for the first time since his big Kona win, and will look to defend his European crown in his home country. 2013 Ironman world champion Fredrik Van Lierde (BEL) finished second to Kienle at this race last year and then went on to have a disappointing race in Kona, but he’s coming off of an impressive victory at the Ironman African Championships back in March and is showing the form that earned him the world title two years ago. Perhaps the athlete that many will be most excited to watch is 2008 Olympic gold medalist and 2014 Kona third-place finisher Jan Frodeno (GER). Frodeno has competed in two Ironman events (this race last year and Kona) and, despite several setbacks in both races, managed to finish third each time. Other top Ironman veterans making the start include Eneko Llanos (ESP), Andreas Raelert (GER), Bas Diederen (NED), Andi Bocherer (GER), Marko Albert (EST) and Tyler Butterfield (BER).

The big story in the women’s race is the battle between Swiss starsand Bahrain Endurance 13 teammatesCaroline Steffen and Daniela Ryf. Steffen will be looking to again prove her ability to dominate at the distance after struggling in Kona last year and in Melbourne this year. Triathlon fans will be excited to see how Ryf can perform on this big stage. The former ITU star has been nearly flawless in her transition to long course, with an Ironman 70.3 World Championship title and Kona runner-up honors to her name. A dominant win in Frankfurt could solidify her status as a pre-race favorite for the Ironman World Championship title. Other contenders on the start list include Julia Gajer (GER), Tine Deckers (BEL), Kristin Moeller (GER), Michelle Vesterby (DEN) and Sonja Tajsich (GER).

RELATED PHOTOS: 2014 Ironman European Championships

See the professional start lists below:

Men
1 Sebastian Kienle (GER)
2 Frederik Van Lierde (BEL)
3 Jan Frodeno (GER)
4 Eneko Llanos (ESP)
5 Andreas Raelert (GER)
6 Bas Diederen (NED)
7 Andy Boecherer (GER)
8 Miquel Blanchart Tinto (ESP)
9 Carlos Lopez (ESP)
10 Michael Ruenz (GER)
13 Marko Albert (EST)
14 Simon Billeau (FRA)
15 Thomas Bosch (GER)
16 Tyler Butterfield (BER)
17 Emanuele Ciotti (ITA)
18 Martijn Dekker (NED)
19 Martin Droell (GER)
20 Thomas Kaiser (GER)
21 Lachlan Kerin (AUS)
22 Maxim Kriat (RUS)
23 Ludovic Le Guellec (FRA)
24 Wouter Monchy (BEL)
25 Young Hwan Oh (KOR)
26 Gilian Oriet (SUI)
27 Mark Oude Bennink (NED)
29 Lukas Polan (CZE)
30 Mario Radevic (GER)
31 Evgenii Rulevskii (RUS)
32 Evert Scheltinga (NED)
33 Andreas Thissen (GER)
34 David Dellow (AUS)
35 Marek Nemcik (SVK)
37 Alfred Rahm (GER)
39 Frederic Limousin (FRA)
40 Ivan Jezko (SVK)
41 Anton Blokhin (URK)
42 Juha Laitinen (FIN)
43 David Jilek (CZE)
44 Fabio Carvalho (BRA)
45 Mathias Nagel (GER)
46 Maksim Kalinin (RUS)
47 Lewis Elliot (USA)

Women
51 Caroline Steffen (SUI)
52 Daniela Ryf (SUI)
53 Julia Gajer (GER)
54 Tine Deckers (BEL)
55 Kristin Moeller (GER)
56 Michelle Vesterby (DEN)
57 Ruth Brennan-Morrey (USA)
58 Katharina Grohmann (GER)
59 Helena Herrero Gomez (ESP)
60 Tine Holst (DEN)
61 Annett Kamenz (GER)
64 Nicole Woysch (GER)
66 Sonja Tajsich (GER)
67 Astrid Ganzow (GER)