Laura Philipp now stands on the brink of triathlon immortality as she prepares for next month’s IRONMAN World Championship in St George.
The 34-year-old German star will start as one of the favourites for glory in Utah on May 7 after an impressive reappearance in winning IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai.
It is astonishing to think that Laura has only been involved in triathlons for less than a decade – she was 25 when she was first bitten by the bug. But while her rise to the top has in some ways been meteoric, in others it has been brilliantly considered.
One man very impressed by the way she has come through to prominence is two-time IRONMAN World Champion Chris McCormack. The Aussie great is suitably keen on her chances of prevailing in Utah.
Macca on Laura Philipp
Writing in an IRONMAN World Championship preview for the TRI247 newsletter, he said: “She’s had a steady progression to Ironman, she has the experience to win, she was fourth in Kona in 2019. She’s German, so they have a rich history in long-course racing. I always picked her as a semi-heir apparent, between her and Lucy (Charles-Barclay), because I just saw her momentum and her lack of impatience to refine her craft.
“A lot of people get impatient at trying to get better. She hasn’t, and I think she’s one of the main beneficiaries of the pandemic, where she’s been able to go back without the pressure of racing and focus on what she needs to do refine those skills.”
Now comes the biggest test of all for Philipp, but also the biggest opportunity. With likely pre-race favourite Charles-Barclay ruled out by injury and Swiss superstar Daniela Ryf apparently struggling for form, the women’s event is more open than ever.
Laura a major contender
McCormack for one believes that the chance is there for Laura to be a major player next month.
“I thought her Dubai performance was magnificent: the way she raced coming off a big Ironman block of work with a small taper. Between her and Kat (Matthews), I think they’re the two I’m most eager to see.”