(Penrith, Australia) - Red-hot competition is set to add to the warm temperatures in the Western Sydney region at Sunday’s inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney.
In-form professional triathletes Josh Amberger (AUS) and Anja Beranek (GER) have used strong swim-bike leg combinations to put themselves at the pointy end of recent races. They will be hoping to repeat those tactics successfully at the Sydney International Regatta Centre at this weekend’s IRONMAN 70.3 race.
In Amberger’s case he produced his second consecutive title at IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie, while Beranek rode away from a world class field at the recent IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah before being caught late in the run.
Amberger believes the combination of a fast swim in the Sydney International Regatta Centre course on Penrith Lakes and smooth roads on the bike course could see him start the run with a big target on his back.
“I’d expect to get out of the water with a bit of a lead given it probably won’t be a wetsuit swim, and have someone like Jimmy Seear with me,” Amberger said. “I’m not sure where Joe Gambles is with his fitness, but I definitely want some time on him out of the water. If I ride the way I have been, I expect to be out there on my own again.”
After what he described as a disappointing race at the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii, in October, Gambles has put in a solid six weeks of training to arrive at Sunday’s start line in fine form.
The Tasmanian expects to spend much of the day chasing Amberger but believes a strong run could see him take the win.
“Josh is in great form and is probably the best swimmer in the sport, so I expect to be chasing him out of the swim. I need to keep him within two to three minutes on the bike and then hopefully I can run him down,” Gambles said.
Pre-race favourite and IRONMAN legend Craig Alexander (three-time IRONMAN World Champion and two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion) is battling illness in a bid to be fit enough to race on Sunday.
Women’s favourite Beranek hits Western Sydney in scintillating bike form after laying down a blisteringly fast bike split at the Mandurah event.
The German professional triathlete will be challenged by IRONMAN 70.3 Ballarat champion Melanie McQuaid (CAN), along with the ever-consistent duo of Gina Crawford (NZL) and Lisa Marangon (AUS).
Much like the men’s race, Marangon believes the strong swim-bikers could find themselves with a lead over the faster runners in the field.
“With a non-wetsuit swim it should separate some girls, but there are the fast strong bikers who could thanks to the flat course on the bike, find themselves out in front,” Marangon said.
Marangon is looking forward to racing in front of a hometown crowd and given the expected hot temperatures believes the heat could play a factor in the race.
“I have IRONMAN Western Australia the weekend after this race and with such a strong field my goal is to make the podium,” she said.
The inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney has attracted more than 1,900 participants from 36 countries to Penrith on Sunday 30 November. The course comprises a 1.9km one lap swim in Sydney International Regatta Centre, a two-lap 90km bike taking in breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains on smooth, fast roads and a 21.1km two-lap run course encircling Penrith Lake.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Troy Grant, said: “The IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney is an enormous success in 2014, its inaugural year. More than 1,900 athletes are registered to participate on Sunday, including approximately 100 competitors from overseas and 350 from interstate.”
“The NSW Government is proud to be supporting this fantastic new event for the region until 2016 through our tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, and we wish all athletes the best of luck for the race,” he said.
The official event charity partner, Redkite, are excited to be involved in the inaugural event in Western Sydney.
“We are extremely proud to be the official charity of IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney” said Monique Keighery, Redkite General Manager.
“Every six hours a family in Australia is told the devastating news that their child has cancer. Donations raised by athletes racing for Redkite at the IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney will help ensure we can be there for more families with vital emotional, financial and education support” said Ms Keighery.
Racing will get underway from 6.00am on Sunday, 30 November.
For event information visit www.ironmanwesternsydney.com.
The IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.
Photo credit: Delly Carr | IRONMAN Asia-Pacific