All eyes will be on Cairns this weekend, with 21 professional athletes set to contend the 2020 Ironman Asia-Pacific Championships.
In what is shaping up to be the sole Ironman event of the 2020 season, athletes will be going full gas over the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run in search of the 2020 Asia-Pacific Championship title.
One athlete that won’t be leaving anything in the tank is Brisbane’s Sarah Crowley. After a solid 2nd place performance at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast earlier this month, Crowley has her sights firmly set on one better in Cairns, to reclaim the title she last won in 2017.
However, she’ll face a world class women’s field, featuring a strong international contingent as well as several home-grown talents.
New Zealand’s Amelia Watkinson will be looking to supplement her 70.3 win in Mooloolaba with a full distance victory in Cairns this week. While the Netherland’s Els Visser and the USA’s Beth McKenzie will no doubt be pushing the pace throughout the gruelling Cairns course if their form in Mooloolaba was anything to go by.
Queensland talents Meredith Hill and Laura Dennis will also be ones to watch, with both athletes proving they have the legs to go the distance over recent years.
The Men’s field is shaping up to be a highly competitive affair, with a plethora of past Ironman Asia Pacific Champions converging in Cairns to challenge the title once again.
Tim Reed and 2016 Champion Tim Van Berkel will be lining up in Cairns contest their first race of the season since Ironman 70.3 Geelong, after spending time in South Australian quarantine in order to make the trip up to Cairns.
Reed is set to continue his hunt for an elusive Ironman Cairns and Asia-Pacific Champion podium finish this weekend, with his best result an 8th place finish in 2018. While Van Berkel will be looking to repeat the magic of his 2016 win when he lines up this weekend.
2017 Asia-Pacific Champion Josh Amberger, and relative long course newcomers Max Neumann and Steven McKenna will all be looking to continue their good form off the back of strong performances at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast, that saw them land top 4 finishes.
Meanwhile, back in Brisbane Australia’s elite triathletes will change gears from the fast and furious Mixed Relay racing to Moreton Bay’s non-drafting standard distance race.
An in-form Jaz Hedgeland will be searching for her 3rd podium finish in as many weeks when she tackles Moreton Bay’s 1.5km swim, 40km ride and 10km run.
Carrying the confidence boost of her recent success into Moreton Bay, Hedgeland will be one to keep an eye on as the race progresses.
However a podium finish won’t be an easy feat, with the 25-year old coming up against a quality field, including sister Kira Hedgeland, 2018 Commonwealth Games representative Gillian Backhouse and rising U23 star Ellie Hoitink.
Bond University’s Maighan Brown will also be one to keep an eye on after she produced a solid performance at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast earlier this month.
Off the back of stellar results over the past month, Ryan Fisher and Luke Willian will both be on the hunt for yet another strong performance in Redcliffe this weekend.
With the Brisbane-based pair experienced at racing standard distance at the World Triathlon level to some success including a top 10 finish in Yokohama for Willian, Moreton Bay is shaping up as a fiery affair.
Long course regulars Dean Cane and Sam Betten will bring a different dynamic to the table, with the pair likely to draw on their experience at both long course and standard distance in their search for a podium finish.
While rising talents Brandon Copeland, Kye Wylde and Lorcan Redmond will also all take to the starting line on Sunday.
2020 Ironman Cairns Asia-Pacific Championships
Photo Credit: Bec Ohlwein