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

About The Author

Rob Sheeley is the Race Editor for WITSUP

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