It’s just been confirmed that Alistair Brownlee is on the start list for IRONMAN Austria on June 18th.
But a few days before he admitted the race would come too soon, saying: “After a tough few weeks, my body has struggled to be ready in time for this race. My focus now shifts to a later Ironman which I’ll confirm soon.”
Two IMWC spots on offer in Austria
Two obvious options are Austria and IRONMAN France a week later.
The latter event takes place on many of the same roads that will be used for the first men’s IRONMAN World Championship to be held in Nice this September, for which Brownlee still needs to qualify.
There are three places on offer in Nice and two up for grabs at the Austrian race in Klagenfurt.
And looking at the Austria start list, Brownlee would appear to be the strong favourite if he takes part.
Bib numbers one to three in a 41-strong men’s field are last year’s podium of Ivan Tutukin (KAZ), Michael Weiss (AUT) and Lukasz Wojt (GER), who is invariably at or very near the front in the swim.
Tutukin’s 2:47 marathon saw him land the spoils that day with an overall time of 8:17:21 but of that trio only Weiss at #81 is in the top 100 of the latest PTO world rankings.
France’s Arnaud Guilloux (#53), INEOS Grenadiers pro cyclist Cam Wurf (#41) and Mathias Petersen (#39) are other interesting contenders but Brownlee is the only one in the current top 25 of the standings.
He started his campaign with a sixth-placed finish at the PTO Tour European Open and has since won XTERRA Weston Park. Last year he set the fastest time in an IRONMAN race by a British athlete when winning at Kalmar.