Witsup This Weekend: IM Barcelona | IM Taiwan | 70.3 Rio De Janeiro Rob Sheeley September 29, 2017 Race Previews Long course fans are set to be pleased this weekend with two full-distance races taking place along with one half-distance. The speedy Barcelona course will host a huge field while only the brave tackle the sultry conditions of Taiwan, both over the Ironman journey. The most recent olympic city, Rio De Janeiro provides the setting for the only half-distance event this weekend and boasts a start list dominated by locals. Witsup is also very lucky to have experienced Dutch professional triathlete Mirjam Weerd writing for us this week. She possesses a vast knowledge of the sport and the athletes and is an invaluable asset to our coverage. Text By Mirjam Weerd and Rob Sheeley | Images By Getty Images and Witsup Big Field In Barcelona Text By Mirjam Weerd Ironman Barcelona welcomes 28 women at Sunday’s race. That is, if everyone on the start list shows up and races. There are three big favorites as we go into the race: brand-new European Champion ETU Yvonne van Vlerken from the Netherlands, German Daniela Sammler and Austrian Lisa Huetthaler. The recently crowned ETU European Champion Yvonne van Vlerken is set to start as one of the big favorites. She won the event in 2015 in 8.46.44. This year she posted another sub-nine at Challenge Almere, came in fourth at Challenge Roth and got her share of podiums at Challenge and Ironman 70.3 races. Van Vlerken’s swim has improved which leaves her closer at the front of the race starting the bike. From there she will be chasing another sub-nine hour result to add to her resume. (c) Getty Images She’ll most likely be chasing German Daniela Sammler. Just two months ago she won the inaugural Ironman Hamburg. This year she was not chasing points for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. She built up her season carefully and posted solid results. In Barcelona Saemmler too will be chasing the nine hour barrier. A good result at this weekend’s Ironman may mean the start of Kona qualification 2018. But the ever-nice and modest German athlete will decide that later in the new season as she wants to stay flexible and make sure to be strong in Hawaii if and when she qualifies. Austrian Lisa Huetthaler will return to the full distance racing after two and a half year. So far she has had a few strong wins at the 70.3 circuit. (c) Getty Images It will be interesting to see what Katja Konchak brings to Barcelona. As a strong swimmer and runner she had a very good season in 2016 with a second place at the European Championship in Frankfurt. This year started of with a sixth in South Africa. She can definitely put herself in the mix for a podium. (c) Getty Images Another contender for the top spots is Kimberly Morrison form the UK. So far she hasn’t done any full distance racing this year. But she placed third at Ironman 70.3 Jonkoping and Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire. She was also second earlier this year at the 70.3 Buenos Aires. Her bike strength will most likely get her into a good position. French triathlete Camille Deligny and Challenge Almere-Amsterdam winner of 2016 comes straight out of Ironman Italy. Her ninth place at the first time Ironman race was unfortunately a reflection of her current fitness. After a bike crash earlier this year while training in Tenerife she suffered a serious concussion. But she’s back in the game and is aiming for a top-five result building on her race from last weekend. The ‘local’ competition comes from Spanish athletes Judith Corachan Vaquera, Merce Tusell Quevedo and Helga Herrero Gomez. As for Austrian Bianca Steurer who took a fourth place at Ironman Austria this summer, it’s unsure if she will be at the startline. She started at Ironman Italy last weekend but crashed with the bike. Ironman Barcelona 2017 Start List 71 Yvonne van Vlerken 72 Lisa Huetthaler 74 Kate Comber 75 Pamela Tastets 76 Daniela Sammler 77 Bianca Steurer 78 Katja Konchak 79 Judith Corachan Vaquera 80 Kimberly Morrison 81 Ekaterina Alekseeva 82 Jenny Nilsson 83 Julie Stephan 84 Palmira Alvarez 85 Merce Tusell 86 Kari Lingsom 87 Helena Herrero Gomez 88 Rachel Hallam 89 Ewa Bugdol 90 Sara Svensk 91 Camille Deligny 92 Franziska Bossow 93 Jessica Ahlund 94 Annabel Diawuoh 95 Olga Kowalska 96 Carolin Lehrieder 97 Manon Genet 98 Kamila Polak 99 Lilia Baranovska Taiwan Set To Sizzle Text By Rob Sheeley Ironman Taiwan is sure to be a test of character and resilience for all athletes. Warm temperatures and high humidity add another factor to the task of the full distance racing. A competitive field of nine women will face the starter on the weekend. Danielle Mack returns as defending champion and has to be considered as one of the main chances again in 2017. Mack was third at Ironman Boulder in June and has won multiple full-distance titles. Shiao-Yu Li was second to Mack in 2016 and will relish racing in her home country. She is never too far from the podium and will be buoyed by the parochial fans cheering her on. She also finished fourth in this race two years ago and will know the course well. Aussie Kate Bevilaqua is no stranger to the conditions and finished fifth at Challenge Taiwan in April, a race which is also over the full-distance. Bevilaqua has appeared on multiple half-distance podiums this year and should be pushing for the same here. Kathryn Haesner has tasted success in Taiwan before, finishing third twice at their Challenge event. Last weekend she finished well to land a podium at Challenge Iskandar Puteri. Expect to see the charismatic Kiwi with the extra aerodynamic hair cut competing hard for a step on the dais this weekend. (c) Getty Images Brooke Brown comes into the race after a fourth at Ironman UK. The contrast in conditions will be extreme in Taiwan but she gives the indication she is ready to put herself right in the mix here. South African Annah Watkinson has produced multiple full-distance podium efforts in the past. She managed a seventh at the Ironman South American Championship, which is good form for a race like this one. Ironman Taiwan 2017 Start List 1 Danielle Mack FPRO USA 2 Shiao-Yu Li FPRO TWN 3 Kate Bevilaqua FPRO AUS 4 Monica Juhart FPRO AUS 5 Laurel Wassner FPRO USA 6 Annah Watkinson FPRO ZAF 7 Kathryn Haesner FPRO NZL 8 Brooke Brown FPRO CAN 9 Charlotte Morel FPRO FRA Locals Set To Dominate In Rio Text By Rob Sheeley The 2017 Ironman 70.3 Rio de Janeiro features a strong local flavour. Seven athletes will line up in the Olympic city with six hailing from the host nation and plenty ready to take the title. Romina Palacio finished second last year and is always close to the podium. She will be hoping to go one better on the weekend. Carolina Furriela is a two-time place-getter at the race. The Argentinian finished third last year and was second back in 2015. She will be looking to make it a full set this weekend with only the win missing from her resume. Mariana Andrade knows what it takes to win the race having taken the title in 2015. The brilliant Brazilian was seventh last year and will be itching to regain her crown in 2017. Luiza Cravo is competitive in any field she races in and will aim to improve on the fifth she produced in the same race race last year. Ironman 70.3 Rio De Janeiro 2017 Start List 31 LUIZA CRAVO ELITE F BRA 32 CAROLINA FURRIELA ELITE F BRA 33 NAYARA LUNIERE ELITE F BRA 34 MARIANA BORGES DE ANDRADE ELITE F BRA 35 BEATRIZ NERES ELITE F BRA 36 ROMINA PALACIO ELITE F ARG 38 PAMELLA OLIVEIRA ELITE F BRA 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.