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Tough Pro Field Headed To Final 70.3 World Championship In Vegas

Henderson, Nev., will play host to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship this weekend for the third and final time.

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Henderson, Nev., will play host to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship this weekend for the third and final time. Ironman announced earlier this year that starting next year the race will rotate around the world, with Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Canada, hosting the 2014 event.

Approximately 80 professionals and 2,100 age-groupers representing 53 countries will take on a 1.2-mile swim in Lake Las Vegas, a 56-mile bike ride through the Lake Mead Recreational Park and a 13.1-mile run through the streets of Henderson. As always, the Henderson heat—temperatures have been in the triple digits all week—and tough hilly course will present the biggest challenges for all of the athletes.

Preview the pro race below and check back for more from Henderson.

Men’s Preview

Although 2012 70.3 world champion Sebastian Kienle (GER) will definitely be on the radar of all of his competitors this year, it’s hard to call him the favorite. Kienle has struggled with an injury throughout the year and had to keep his running mileage low early in the season. He’ll also face a tougher field than last year. Along with the usual suspects, several Olympians are making the jump up to the 70.3 distance.

Two-time 70.3 world champion (and three-time Ironman world champion) Craig Alexander (AUS) is the sentimental favorite for triathlon fans around the world. At age 40, Crowie has made it clear that he’s not sure how many more world championship runs he will be making in his career. With the birth of a new daughter early in 2013, Alexander has kept a relatively low profile throughout the heart of the 2013, only choosing to race in a handful of races including Ironman Melbourne (where he placed third), Ironman 70.3 Hawaii (first), Ironman 70.3 Kansas (first) and Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens (first). Alexander raced last year’s Vegas and Kona competitions with a back injury that he kept quiet, and he still managed to finish in the runner-up spot at this race. If he’s healthy, he may be tough to beat.

Editor-at-large Holly Bennett polled several top pro triathletes who aren’t racing in Vegas and asked them who they thought would win this race, and several chose Jan Frodeno of Germany. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist was well in contention at the Ironman 70.3 European Championship in Wiesbaden, Germany, before he got into T2 and no one could find his transition bag. After a 90-second delay, Frodeno ran his way to second position thanks to a 1:08:52 half-marathon. Though not a win, Frodeno looked nearly untouchable in the race. The man who did win that race, Ritchie Nicholls (GBR), was another favorite among the pros. He had an equally fast run to beat out the tough field.

Other former ITU stars to watch for include New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty (who also finished third at this race last year), Canada’s Brent McMahon (the 70.3 St. George winner), Will Clarke (GBR), Tim Don (GBR), Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS), Ivan Vasiliev (RUS) and Ivan Rana (ESP).

The two American favorites to do well in Kona this year will also be competing in Vegas. Andy Potts, the 2007 70.3 world champion, and Tim O’Donnell have both made their races on the Big Island the priority, but showed last year that they’re capable of doing well at both races with top-five finishes in Vegas and top-10 finishes in Kona.

Finally, 2008 70.3 world champion Terenzo Bozzone (NZL), Rev3 Quassy winner Joe Gambles (AUS), Ironman Australia and Mont-Tremblant winner Luke Bell (AUS) and former short-course star Greg Bennett (AUS) will all be looking for a spot on the podium.

See the complete start list below:
1 Sebastian Kienle DEU
2 Bevan Docherty NZL
3 Andy Potts USA
4 Craig Alexander AUS
5 Brent Mcmahon CAN
6 Terenzo Bozzone NZL
7 Joe Gambles AUS
8 Timothy Reed AUS
9 Bart Aernouts BEL
10 Ritchie Nicholls GBR
11 Josh Amberger AUS
12 Greg Bennett AUS
14 Christian Kemp AUS
15 Leon Griffin AUS
16 Kevin Collington USA
17 Tim Don GBR
18 Jordan Jones USA
19 Luke Bell AUS
20 Timothy Odonnell USA
22 Oscar Galindez ARG
23 Callum Millward NZL
24 Samuel Betten AUS
25 Ruedi Wild CHE
26 Samuel Appleton AUS
27 Paul Matthews AUS
28 Will Clarke GBR
30 Matt Reed USA
31 Igor Amorelli BRA
32 Luke Mckenzie AUS
33 James Hadley GBR
34 John Polson AUS
35 David Kahn USA
36 Ryan Rau USA
38 Joseph Lampe AUS
39 Jan Van Berkel CHE
40 Brad Kahlefeldt AUS
41 Robert Wade IRL
42 Andreas Dreitz DEU
43 Boris Stein DEU
44 Ivan Vasiliev RUS
45 Felipe Van De Wyngard CHL
47 Tyler Butterfield BMU
48 Jan Frodeno DEU
49 Bertrand Billard FRA
50 Guy Crawford NZL
51 Alberto Casadei ITA
53 Christopher Baird USA
54 Alex Reithmeier AUT
55 Mark Bowstead NZL
56 Ivan Rana ITA

RELATED PHOTOS: Ironman 70.3 Las Vegas Bike Course

Women’s Preview

Like Kienle, 2012 70.3 world champion Leanda Cave (GBR) has had a tough year of injuries. Cave struggled with illness and injuries in 2012 and then came back to win both the 70.3 and Ironman world titles, so don’t count her out. Cave is one of the most well-rounded athletes in the sport and is capable of winning again if she can show up to the start line healthy.

Though Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) raced last year, she was not in her top form due to injury and didn’t meet the hype following her stellar 2011 70.3 world championship performance. Hauschildt structured her season in a unique way, choosing to compete early, take a break and then return to competing over the past couple of months. She dominated 70.3 Boulder and 70.3 Timberman, showing the run form that gave her the title two years ago.

One major question mark in the women’s race is 2012 Olympic silver medalist Lisa Norden. It would be easy to call her the favorite, except for the fact that a foot injury has derailed her season and even forced her to withdraw from the Hy-Vee 5150 Elite Cup only one week ago. Norden has the advantage of having Alexander as her coach and mentor, but how her foot feels on the run will be the determining factor in her result on Sunday.

Despite an amazing season in which she has shown tremendous improvement on the run, Canadian Heather Wurtele has remained somewhat under the radar heading into this Vegas race. Wurtele finished on the podium at 70.3 California, 70.3 St. George and won 70.3 Panama, Rev3 Quassy and Ironman Coeur d’Alene. She’s capable of out-biking most of the women on the start list, but she’ll have to keep the damage out of the 1.2-mile swim to a minimum to be in contention in the early miles of the bike.

The same will be the case for American Heather Jackson, who finished third in this race last year. She had an amazing start to 2013 with wins at Escape from Alcatraz, 70.3 California and the Wildflower Long Course Triathlon, before finishing second at 70.3 Boise and 70.3 Vineman. This is her “A” race for the season, and she’ll be looking for the win that has eluded her the last three years.

Other athletes to watch for include 2012 second-place finisher Kelly Williamson (USA), recent 70.3 Racine winner Angela Naeth (CAN), 70.3 Auckland winner Annabel Luxford (AUS), 2012 London Olympian Laura Bennett (USA), 2010 70.3 world champion Jodie Swallow (GBR) and 70.3 St. George runner-up Svenja Bazlen (GER).

See the complete start list below:

60 Leanda Cave GBR
61 Heather Wurtele CAN
62 Kelly Williamson USA
63 Annabel Luxford AUS
64 Melissa Hauschildt AUS
65 Heather Jackson USA
66 Lisa Huetthaler AUT
67 Catriona Morrison GBR
68 Margaret Shapiro USA
70 Emma-kate Lidbury GBR
71 Sarah Crowley AUS
72 Joanna Lawn NZL
75 Amy Marsh USA
77 Melanie Mcquaid CAN
78 Angela Naeth CAN
79 Tenille Hoogland CAN
80 Laura Bennett USA
81 Amber Ferreira USA
82 Mandy Mclane USA
84 Rebecca Hoschke AUS
86 Svenja Bazlen DEU
87 Daniela Ryf CHE
88 Magali Tisseyre CAN
89 Ashley Clifford USA
90 Miranda Tomenson CAN
91 Jeanni Seymour ZAF
92 Kate Bevilaqua AUS
93 Heather Leiggi USA
94 Sonja Tajsich DEU
95 Molly Roohi USA
96 Jennie Hansen USA
97 Leslie Lamacchia USA
98 Bree Wee USA
99 Uli Bromme USA
100 Lisa Norden SWE

RELATED PHOTOS: 2012 Ironman 70.3 World Championship

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