And for the women, Spain’s Sara Perez Sala, who crashed out midway through the bike section 12 months ago when holding a lead of over a minute, makes a welcome return.
Luis jets in from Abu Dhabi
Long, for whom it will be a first race under new coach Dan Plews, had already announced he would be defending his title but the organisers have just named the top five lining up in both races at the Homestead Miami Speedway.
French star Vincent Luis makes the journey from Abu Dhabi, where he’s racing the opening WTCS event of the season this week, as he looks to add to his late-season 2022 wins which included victory at CLASH Daytona.
And he will be joined by Denmark’s Daniel Bækkegård and British long-distance specialist Joe Skipper, who has already qualified for the IRONMAN World Championships this year thanks to his impressive IRONMAN Arizina success last November.
Perez Sala out for redemption
On the women’s side there’s no Ashleigh Gentle, with the Aussie’s win 12 months ago a precursor to what was to come as she dominated the middle-distance landscape.
But Brazil’s Pamella Oliveira, runner-up in 2022, returns as she bids to go one better.
As does Perez Sala, who swiftly put last year’s crash behind her by winning Challenge Mogan-Gran Canaria and then The Championship, where she had the likes of Gentle, Emma Pallant-Browne and Fenella Langridge behind her.
They’ll be joined by Americans Jackie Hering and Haley Chura, ranked #16 and #37 respectively in the new PTO standings, with rising British star Lucy Byram – winner of Challenge Wales and IRONMAN 70.3 Venice-Jesolo, the one other name announced.