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Thu 8th Dec 2016
Ironman 70.3 Euro Champs preview
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Tuesday 6th August 2013

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This Sunday sees arguably the highlight of the European Ironman 70.3 season, with the Sparkassen Finanzgruppe IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship in Germany. A P-1500 points ranking for Pro athletes and $75,000 in prize money have delivered, as you would expect, a top quality professional field.

For Age Group athletes, Wiesbaden is one of the few 70.3 events offering qualifying spots for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in October – offering 30 qualifying slots in addition to the 50 places available for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas.

The bike course in Wiesbaden is a challenging one, with approaching 1500m of climbing across the 90km, followed by a four lap spectator friendly run. With the announcement earlier this year that the Ironman 70.3 World Championships will rotate annually from 2014 (starting in Mont Tremblant, Canada next year), it is widely assumed that Wiesbaden will get to host the championships sooner rather than later.

Men’s Pro field.

The 54 strong start list includes Fraser Cartmell, Harry Springall, Ritchie Nicholls and James Third among the British contingent. Ritchie would have to be the pick of that grouping based on 2013 form, with wins at 70.3 UK and Alpe d’Huez Long course, along with second at 70.3 Norway in what has been a consistently strong season. He has been especially swift on the run this year – and he will have to be, if a podium position is what he is seeking this coming weekend given the depth and quality of competition scheduled to race.

Twice Ironman 70.3 World Champion Michael Raelert also won this event in 2010 and 2012 and he returns again having won in Berlin over the distance by a clear margin. He’s not yet cracked the full Ironman distance to the degree his potential would suggest – seventh in Frankfurt – but he remains a force at 70.3 with no apparent weaknesses and would be my pick to win again.

The pace should be fierce from the start, with swimmers of the calibre of Josh Amberger (AUS), Ivan Vasiliev (RUS), Martin Jensen (DEN), Sylvain Sudrie (FRA) plus many more who will expect to be in that company. They will want to push the pace early and break up the field, safe in the knowledge that the likes of current 70.3 World Champ Sebatian Kienle (GER) and Bart Aernouts (BEL) will be just two of those who have proven history that they can bike and run down any swim weakness to secure victory.

The ‘ITU’ factor could be significant, and it will be interesting to see how 2008 Olympic Champion Jan Frodeno performs on home turf in this format along with the returning to action Peter Robertson (AUS) and another former ITU World Champion, Ivan Rana (ESP).

All said and done, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a repeat one-two from 2012 of Raelert and Aernouts on the top two steps of the podium. As for third…?!

Full Men’s Pro start list

Women’s Pro field.

Cat Morrison leads a strong British trio that includes Tamsin Lewis and Susie Hignett. Morrison has made a superb return to racing in 2013 after so much time out with injury, while Tamsin had perhaps her best ever performance a couple of weeks ago at Alpe d’Huez, and came oh so close to a first Ironman 70.3 title in Italy recently.

The form athlete in the European 70.3 season has been Austria’s Lisa Hütthaler with wins in Mallorca, Austria and Norway – though fair to say that there is significant motivation to beat her among many of the other Pro ladies given her much discussed history.

Germany’s Svenja Bazlen proved at Ironman 70.3 St. George earlier in the season that she is well capable of dominating a tough bike course, so with home advantage too, definitely one to watch.

Canadian Angela Naeth is on the list, and you would imagine that she isn’t going to make the journey across the Atlantic just to make up the numbers either. Once best known for the number of second place finishes she racked up, Naeth is a regular on the top step of many podiums in recent years.

[UPDATE] Australian Annabel Luxford – who won the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship event in Auckland in January – also races, and with that pedigree behind her, is another strong contender to add into the ‘podium potential’ mix.

Full Women’s Pro start list

2012 Results (Race report)

Pos Men Women
1st Michael Raelert (GER) 4:03:58 Anja Beranek (GER) 4:36:09
2nd Bart Aernouts (BEL) 4:06:28 Virginia Berasetegui (ESP) 4:40:30
3rd Boris Stein (GER) 4:07:51 Julia Gajer (GER) 4:40:39
4th Toumy Degham (FRA) 4:08:12 Jodie Swallow (GBR) 4:42:26
5th Ivan Vasiliev (RUS) 4:08:36 Lucy Gossage (GBR) 4:44:09

2011 Results (Race report)

Pos Men Women
1st Andreas Böcherer (GER) 4:08:36 Karin Thürig (SUI) 4:45:47
2nd Filip Ospaly (CZE) 4:10:19 Eva Wutti (AUT) 4:50:54
3rd Martin Krnavek (CZE) 4:15:02 Natascha Badmann (SUI) 4:51:39
4th Mathias Hecht (SUI) 4:17:01 Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 4:52:27
5th Dmity Rosryagaev (RUS) 4:22:06 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:52:28

2010 Results (Race report)

Pos Men Women
1st Michael Raelert (GER) 4:03:47 Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 4:41:52
2nd Sebastian Kienle (GER) 4:05:55 Desiree Ficker (USA) 4:42:15
3rd Björn Andersson (SWE) 4:09:09 Kristin Möller (GER) 4:43:10
4th Felix Schumann (GER) 4:09:22 Nicole Hofer (SUI) 4:44:27
5th Boris Stein (GER) 4:10:35 Julia Wagner (GER) 4:45:16

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