Jelle Geens will move up in distance next weekend to chase qualification to next year’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, as he lines up at IRONMAN 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship Langkawi in Malaysia .
The 30-year-old Olympian, who is currently ranked World Triathlon #7, last raced a middle-distance event in 2021, where he finished third behind Lionel Sanders and Vincent Luis at IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells.
Now, after finishing his season with 23rd at the WTCS Finals in Pontevedra, Geens will make the long trip to Malaysia in pursuit of one of the three slots up for grabs at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo next December.
Tough test in Malaysia
With a number of athletes putting the finishing touches on their end-of-season plans following championship races in Lahti, Nice and Pontevedra, there will be a strong contingent of quality middle-distance athletes on the start line in Malaysia.
Geens will go head-to-head against Britain’s James Teagle, who finished a fantastic seventh at the IRONMAN World Championship last month, plus Portugal’s Filipe Azvedo and Frenchman Antony Costes, both of whom will also be chasing a spot in Taupo.
From the Asia Pacific region, Aussie duo Josh Amberger and Tim Van Berkel have both enjoyed strong seasons, with Amberger finishing fifth at the World Triathlon Long Distance Championships and Van Berkel picking up two podiums at IRONMAN Australia and IRONMAN Cairns.
Additionally, Mike Phillips of New Zealand will also hope to rediscover his early season form racing closer to home, after two consecutive DNF’s at the PTO Tour Asian Open and IRONMAN World Championship. After four consecutive podiums to start the year, the former engineer will be eager to tick off his slot at a home world championship.
Whether he secures qualification at the first time of asking or not, Geens won’t end his late-season move up to middle distance in Malaysia – he is also down to compete two weeks later at Challenge Vieux-Boucau on October 21.