Witsup This Weekend: 70.3 Bahrain | 70.3 Western Sydney | 70.3 Thailand Rob Sheeley November 24, 2017 Race Previews Triathlon fans are spoilt for choice when it comes to half-distance racing this weekend. Two regional championships are set to take place with Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship and Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship attracting the best in the business. On top of that, a good field will head to Phuket to contest Ironman 70.3 Thailand. Text By Laura Siddall and Rob Sheeley | Images By Getty Images, Sue Hutter, Tommy Wafers and Witsup Big Guns Go Toe To Toe In Bahrain Text By Laura Siddall This is possibly the show down everyone was hoping for at the Ironman World 70.3 Championships in Chattanooga as Daniela Ryf goes up against Holly Lawrence. These two have been vocal about wanting to race each other at their best and this could be the fireworks we’ve been waiting for. (c) Tommy Zaferes Throw into that excitement World 70.3 Championship runner up Emma Pallant, and a “runner” she sure is! Let’s see what she can bring in an effort to chase down Ryf and Lawrence who will likely be ahead of her after the bike. Photo: Getty Images Angela Naeth has returned to racing, clocking up a second place at Ironman 70.3 Los Cabos just being passed in the final stages. One to definitely watch is Anne Haug. She comes from ITU background but made her mark over the 70.3 distance in Lanzarote earlier this year. Haug ran a blistering 1.18 on a tough course to take the win and will only get better and better over this distance. She’s a real contender. Sarah Lewis and Jocelyn McCauley are also podium contenders. Lewis has had a fantastic year, culminating with a win at Ironman 70.3 Dublin but has regularly been snapping at the heels of the worlds best over the half distance. McCauley comes off a 9th place in Kona and heads to Bahrain and with a very solid swim and bike and another great run, this could put her in podium contention at the end. Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship 2017 Start List Pro Female Bib No. Last Name First Name Country/State Representing 61 RYF DANIELA AUT 62 PALANT EMMA GBR 63 WUTTI EVA AUT 64 NAETH ANGELA CAN 65 RIESLER DIANA DEU 66 SCHMITT NATASCHA DEU 67 HAUG ANNE DEU 68 MCCAULEY JOCELYN USA 69 LEWIS SARAH GBR 70 SCHULZ JENNY DEU 71 CUMMINGS CHANTAL GBR 74 HALLAM RACHEL GBR 76 THOES SVENJA DEU 77 BELLINGA RAHEL NLD 78 LIE KRISTIN NOR 79 KUMHOFER SIMONE AUT 80 CZESNIK MARIA POL 81 LAWRENCE HOLLY GBR Luxford Looks To Defend Western Sydney Title Text By Laura Siddall Another great line up heads to Western Sydney this weekend. Annabel Luxford will be hoping the illness that she suffered leading into Challenge Shepparton is behind her and that she is back on track with her scintillating form over the 70.3 distance. Luxford will have to fight off the ‘on the up’ form of Mel Hauschildt. The first part of 2017 was hampered by injury for Hauschildt, but she’s been racing herself back into shape and word has it she’s looking like she’s timed it well for Western Sydney and then onto Busselton next week. (c) Getty Images Amelia Watkinson also had a slow start to the year with a few injury and illness issues but she’s been back to her winning ways in Asia and heads to Sydney as a big contender. (c) Witsup Liz Blatchford had a fantastic return to racing at the Noosa Triathlon last month and now steps up to the 70.3 distance to test fitness and form. It’s great to see her back racing and we know she’ll be getting stronger and fitter and it won’t be long before she’s back to her world class best. Lauren Brandon makes the trip to Australia from the USA, and will be leading out the water and for much of the bike (if not all). Brandon needs to have a solid run off the back though to hold off the fast chasers behind her. (c) Sue Hutter Haley Chura will chase Brandon hard out the water, and could be a strong combination with Brandon if they team up on the bike. She’s got a very decent run, but will still have to make it fire on the day to hold off the women coming from behind in the swim. Anna Eberhardt will be hoping her winning streak on Australian soil (having won Challenge Shepparton) continues to put her in contention in Western Sydney. She’ll face much stronger competition this weekend though, so will need to be on her game in the swim to reduce the deficit and give herself a chance to close the gap with her fast run. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan is also someone definitely in contention for the podium and if not the win. Sheedy-Ryan recently finished second at the Noosa Triathlon and could do as well or better here. She’s an extremely talented athlete and will certainly be mixing it up at the front throughout the race, and then looking to unleash her run to claim the title. Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship 2017 Start List Pro Female Bib No. Last Name First Name Country/State Representing 41 LUXFORD ANNABEL AUS 42 HAUSCHILDT MELISSA AUS 43 JOYCE RACHEL GBR 44 WATKINSON AMELIA NZL 45 BLATCHFORD LIZ AUS 46 BRANDON LAUREN USA 47 CHURA HALEY USA 48 HUFE MAREEN DEU 49 LESTER SARAH AUS 50 EBERHARDT ANNA HUN 51 THISTLETON JACQUELINE AUS 52 LENDWAY HEATHER USA 53 BROWN CHRISTEN USA 54 CHAPMAN SHANNON AUS 55 CLARKE REBECCA NZL 56 CROSS CHRISTINE USA 57 DENNIS LAURA AUS 58 GILFILLAN COURTNEY AUS 59 MEO PIP NZL 60 SHEEDY‐RYAN FELICITY AUS 61 ŠVADLENKOVÁ PAVLINA CZE Plenty Of Chances In Phuket Text By Rob Sheeley Ironman 70.3 Thailand takes place in the beautiful destination city of Phuket. In 2017, the race will feature a new course with the warm conditions sure to test all athletes. The race was originally set to be the half-distance debut for the all-conquering short-course and off-road athlete, Flora Duffy. Unfortunately the weight of a heavy 2017 has taken its toll and Duffy will skip the race to recover for 2018. Last year’s champion Amelia Watkinson, also appears on the start list but will not race as she is also engaged at the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Western Sydney, Australia. Nonetheless, a field boasting plenty of experience a quality recent form with quite a few on the start list capable of gracing the podium. Dimity-Lee Duke finished second in Thailand last year behind Watkinson. The Aussie races regularly in Asia and this is virtually a local race for her. Expect Duke to be right in the firing line. Eimear Mullan made a return from a long injury absence with a recent victory at Ironman 70.3 Xiamen against solid opposition. Mullan is as classy as they come and looks to be returning to some of her best form. It would be no surprise to see the Irish speedster rack up consecutive victories. Switzerland’s Imogen Simmonds was second by a mere 12-seconds to Mullan in Xiamen. That sort of form should sit her in terrific stead for this race. Anna Eberhardt has had a sensational 2017. The Hungarian stormed home to claim Challenge Shepparton two weeks ago. She has also won races at Ironman 70.3 Taiwan and Challenge Nakhon Nayok. A win is here is well within her capability. Eberhart also appears on the start list at the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Western Sydney. Parys Edwards made the podium in this race in 2016 and will be looking to go even better this year. Kate Bevilaqua Crawford is experienced and regularly produces quality results in Asia. She has the ability to find a step on the dais in Taiwan. Ironman 70.3 Thailand 2017 Start List RACE BIB NUMBER NAME 31 Amelia Watkinson 32 Flora Duffy 33 Dimity Lee Duke 34 Parys Edwards 35 Kate Bevilaqua Crawford 37 Robin Pomeroy 39 Sylvia Gehnboek 41 Eimear Mullan 42 Annelise Jefferies 43 Magda Nieuwoudt 44 Imogen Simmonds 45 Manami Lijima 46 Laurel Wassner 47 Isabelle Moulin Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.