UPDATE: Due to a potentially toxic algal species found in Lake Taupo, the swim will has been cancelled for this weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Taupo – The race will now consist of a 3km run, 90km ride and 21.1km run.

 

Smack bang in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island, lies the beautiful Lake Taupo. This weekend it will provide the hub for the final race of 2017, Ironman 70.3 Taupo.

Text By Rob Sheeley | Images By Talbot Cox, Getty Images and Witsup

 

Meredith Kessler has dominated the race in recent years. However after recently giving birth to her son Madden, 18 starters will get the opportunity to become the new champion.

Laura Siddall comes into Taupo as one of only five athletes in the race who do not hail from the southern antipodes. That said, Siddall bases herself in the land of the long white cloud this time of the year and has more than earned her stripes in Taupo. In this race last year, she kick-started what was to be a great 2017 by finishing an agonisingly close second to Kessler. The Brit was flying home with a wet sail and failed by just eight-seconds in an absolute gem of a race. She has since gone on to win her maiden Ironman event as well as rack up a handful of half-distance victories. Siddall has a genuine penchant for the venue and looms as one of the athletes to beat this weekend.

Amelia Watkinson may spend the bulk of her year training in Asia, but returns home for this race with some solid form on the board. Her most recent outing saw her finish third at the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship in Western Sydney against some classy opposition. Watkinson has graced the podium in Taupo on multiple occasions and could well be in career best form. She will relish the conditions in Taupo and is undoubtedly one of the major players for this race.

(c) Talbot Cox

Ellie Salthouse experienced a frustrating 2017 with injury, but she returned with an exclamation mark by taking out Ironman 70.3 Miami. Salthouse has proven that she is one of the best in the business over the half-distance and will come into the race without the load of a big year, which may be to her advantage. The Aussie tuned up for this with an eighth at the Island House Tri and it would be no surprise to see her win in Taupo.

(c) Getty Images

Jocelyn McCauley is the reigning Ironman New Zealand Champion and comes into this race after a top-10 finish in Kona. She should be running home strongly towards the end of the race and could sneak her way onto the podium.

After an early retirement, followed by the birth of her son Wilbur, Gina Crawford appears on the start list in Taupo. Crawford is highly accomplished and, anywhere near her best, she would be considered one of the favourites for this race. It is great to see her back over the half-distance and she is well worth keeping an eye on.

Another Kiwi, Rebecca Clarke, finished fourth in this race last year and is more than likely to be the first out of the water. She will be hoping that she can stay toward the pointy end of the race for as long as possible.

Aussie Laura Dennis pulled off a quality performance at the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship, finishing sixth. If she can bring that firm to this race she won’t be too far away from them.

Ironman 70.3 Taupo 2017 Start List

30

Siddall

Laura

GBR (UNITED KINGDOM)

31

McCauley

Jocelyn

USA (UNITED STATES)

32

Crawford

Gina

NZL (NEW ZEALAND)

33

Watkinson

Amelia

NZL (NEW ZEALAND)

34

Clarke

Rebecca

NZL (NEW ZEALAND)

35

Wood

Laura

NZL (NEW ZEALAND)

36

Brown

Christen

USA (UNITED STATES)

37

Cross

Christine

USA (UNITED STATES)

38

Dennis

Laura

AUS (AUSTRALIA)

39

Elliot

Rebecca

NZL (NEW ZEALAND)

40

Grant

Julia

NZL (NEW ZEALAND)

41

Kiley

Renee

AUS (AUSTRALIA)

42

Kraal

Indy

NZL (NEW ZEALAND)

43

Pomeroy

Robin

USA (UNITED STATES)

44

Salthouse

Ellie

AUS (AUSTRALIA)

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