Witsup This Weekend: IM Maastricht | 70.3 Boulder | 70.3 Otepaa | 70.3 Gdynia | 70.3 Philippines Rob Sheeley August 4, 2017 Race Previews A myriad of racing is set to take place all over the planet this weekend. The main focus is on Europe with Ironman Maastricht accompanied by half-distance races in both Poland and Estonia. In the U.S we see a capacity field tackle a 70.3 race in one of the world’s most popular training regions. Half-distance racing also gets underway in Cebu via Ironman 70.3 Philippines. Text By Rob Sheeley | Images By Getty Images and Witsup (c) Getty Images Many Chances At Maastricht The Dutch province of Limburg will provide the venue for Ironman Maastricht this weekend. Celine Schaerer appears on the start list and would normally be the short-priced favourite in this field of seven. However, with a victory at Ironman Switzerland last weekend sealing her place in Kona, it is unlikely that she will appear in the Netherlands on Saturday. Saleta Castro looms as the one to beat in this race and it appears to be a golden opportunity for the Itzu Tri team member to break through for a win. The two-time Spanish Long-Distance Champion finished fifth at Ironman Lanzarote earlier this year in a solid field. Castro finished second in this race last year, which included the fastest run-split and gets her chance to shine this weekend. With podium positions wide open, the most prominent athlete pushing for a place will be the experienced Taiwanese athlete Shiao-Yu Li who is never far away from the front of most races she contests. The local hopes will rest solely on the shoulders of Rahel Bellinga with her competition to come from Canada’s Brooke Brown, Brit Kate Comber and Germany’s Annabel Diawouh. Ironman Maastricht 2017 Start List 61 Saleta Castro ESP 63 Rahel Bellinga NED 64 Brooke Brown CAN 66 Kate Comber GBR 67 Annabel Diawuoh DEU 70 Shiao-Yu Li TWN 71 Celine Schaerer CHE Seymour Seeks Another Win In Boulder One of the world’s most popular triathlon training bases transforms into a reding hub for Ironman 70.3 Boulder. A capacity field, overflowing with talent is listed to face the starter which should provide some exciting racing. Jeanni Seymour is one of the hottest properties in half-distance racing at the moment. The recent Challenge Iceland winner has been on the podium at her last 10 outings and is showing no signs of that changing. She is clearly the one that they have to beat here as she rolls towards the 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga this September. Alicia Kaye is a class competitor who has some very handy results in 2017. A second at Ironman 70.3 Pucon and fourth at Ironman Texas are features of her year to date, along with a recent win at the Escape series in Philadelphia. Kaye looks to be one of the top prospects this weekend. Leanda Cave is a dour-time World Champion and has to be respected in any event she contests. Cave has already racked up one half-distance title in 2017 and will be prominent from the opening stroke of the swim. (C) Delly Carr Jocelyn McCauley currently teeters on the precipice of Kona qualification despite having a very successful year. She will be chasing vital points here to try and optimise her chances of grabbing one of the last available slots. McCauley is armed with a lethal run and will be finishing this race off very strongly. Angela Naeth has been cursed with injuries for an extended period but is as good as anyone when she is at her best. Don’t be surprised if she comes heavily into calculations in Boulder. Rachel Joyce appears on the start list but raced Ironman Canada last week. It is uncertain as to whether she will take her place in this race but, she would be one of the top hopes if she did. Kirsty Jahn returns from a stress fracture which has severely hampered her 2017 plans. She will be fresh and ready to fire in this race. A host of other top-class athletes have the talent to be thereabouts on race day. These include, Lesley Smith, Kelly Williamson and Danielle Mack in what can only be described as a stacked field. Ironman 70.3 Boulder 2017 Start List 51 Seymour Jeanni WPRO ZAF (South Africa) 52 Kaye Alicia WPRO USA (United States of America) 53 Cave Leanda WPRO GBR (United Kingdom) 54 Joyce Rachel WPRO GBR (United Kingdom) 55 Smith Lesley WPRO USA (United States of America) 56 Evans Katy WPRO USA (United States of America) 57 Mack Danielle WPRO USA (United States of America) 58 Naeth Angela WPRO CAN (Canada) 59 Williamson Kelly WPRO USA (United States of America) 60 McCauley Jocelyn WPRO USA (United States of America) 62 Bromme Uli WPRO USA (United States of America) 63 Van der Merwe Natasha WPRO USA (United States of America) 64 Jahn Kirsty WPRO CAN (Canada) 65 Alvarez Palmira WPRO MEX (Mexico) 66 Brown Christen WPRO USA (United States of America) 67 Ramsey Lenny WPRO NLD (Netherlands) 68 Buster Anna WPRO RUS (Russian Federation) 69 Pfitzinger Annika WPRO NZL (New Zealand) 70 Capone Lauren WPRO USA (United States of America) 71 Perr Adelaide WPRO USA (United States of America) 72 Cargiulo Katy WPRO USA (United States of America) 73 Meo Pip WPRO NZL (New Zealand) 74 Casey Terry WPRO USA (United States of America) 75 Madison Mackenzie WPRO USA (United States of America) 76 Goodell Kimberly WPRO USA (United States of America) 77 Linnell Allison WPRO USA (United States of America) 78 Hill Alycia WPRO USA (United States of America) 79 Serpico Madi WPRO CAN (Canada) (c) Getty Images Otepaa Glory Awaits An Open Field The Valga County in Estonia is the location for this weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Gdynia. With 12 athletes listed to contest the race, it shapes up as a good battle on paper. Last year’s winner Verena Walter heads the list and the challenge Taiwan winner will need to be at her best to pull off a repeat performance against some experienced competition. Challenge Rimini winner Anja Beranek is world-class and will be buiding towards Kona where she finished fourth last year. Expect her to be big on the bike and run home strongly. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman) Helle Frederikson is another who is in the top echelon of the sport when it comes to achievements. She recently finished second at the Ironman 70.3 European Championship in Elsinore. A victory here looks like something she is more than capable of pulling off. Alice Hector comes into the race in good form. She has finished fourth at both Challenge Lisbon and Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh. Hector also won the Ocean Lava Half Ironman event and has the arsenal required to be right in this battle. Denmark’s Maja Stage Nielsen was third at the European Middle Distance Championship and is armed with a lightning run leg. Look for her to be storming home late in the race. Ironman 70.3 Otepaa 2017 Start List 21 Walter Verena 22 Beranek Anja 23 Stage Nielsen Maja 24 Watkinson Annah 25 Frederiksen Helle 26 Hector Alice 27 Wassner Laurel 28 Valentine Nicole 29 Sanjana Francesca 30 Mullan Eimear 31 Parubocha Kateryna 32 Thoren Annie Plenty Of Eyes On The Prize In Poland The Baltic Coast of Poland will play host to Ironman 70.3 Gdynia this weekend. The even has attracted some very consistent European half-distance athletes and should be a quality affair. Ewa Bugdol finished second at Challenge Prague last weekend behind Lucy Charles and Yvonne Van Vlerken. Bugdol is the reigning European Long Distance Champion and last weekend’s effort appears to be the sort of form that will see her right in this race. Lisa Roberts recently finished third at Challenge Roth and backed it up with a third at the gruelling Alpe d’Huez triathlon last week. Few in the sport possess a run like Roberts and, if she has recovered well, she could well take the title here. Tine Holst appears on the start list, however she did race at Ironman Switzerland last weekend, finishing second. It would be a surprise to see her back up for this race. Maria Czesnik has already grabbed a couple of podiums this year and has been knocking on the door of a victory. She will be staking her claims for a step on the podium again in Poland. Corinne Abraham appears to have secured her place in Kona for 2017. She is more than capable of being at the pointy end of this race. Ewa Komander was second at this race last year and third in 2015. She will return with pleasant memories, hoping to replicate those results. Lisa Huetthaler has already won two 70.3 events in 2017 while both Mareen Hufe and Carolin Lehrieder also loom as some sort of chance in this race. Ironman 70.3 Gdynia 2017 Start List Eimear Mullan IRL Lisa Huetthaler AUT Renee Kiley AUS Joanna Soltysiak POL Tine Holst DNK Anna Wiese POL Ewa Komander POL Ewa Bugdol POL Lisa Roberts USA Maria Czesnik POL Carolin Lehrieder DEU Corinne Abraham GBR Mareen Hufe DEU Jenny Schulz DEU (c) Getty Images Watkinson Returns To Cebu Cebu is the destination for this weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Philippines. The race has attracted plenty of experienced athletes who relish the Asian conditions with a number of them possessing the ability to take the event out. Swiss legend Caroline Steffen has had a mortgage on this race in recent years, however with her announcement this week that she is expecting her first child in December, the door is open for a new champion to be crowned. Amelia Watkinson was dominant on the Asian circuit in 2016 with Cebu being one of the few races she didn’t win. She has since joined the BMC-Etixx team and has been racing successfully in Europe. This is her chance to turn the tables on last year’s result. Dimity-Lee Duke is never far away in any Asian race she contests. She was fifth in this race last year as well as third in 2015 and fourth in 2014. She also recently finished fourth at the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns. Duke is Kona-bound this October and will be more than competitive here. Kirralee Seidel produced a memorable summer in Australia with a string of podiums, often behind Annabel Luxford. Expect her to be in the firing line early with a solid swim/bike combination. Seidel is a definite podium contender this weekend. Anna Eberhardt has notched up two half-distance victories this year and is another who would have to be considered some sort of chance. Kim Kilgroe will carry the hopes of the host nation into the race. She finished 10thlast year and could be pushing for a higher positioning 2017. Another to keep an eye on is rookie profession Jacquie Thistleton. She has already shown signs in her early races that she is capable of competing with some quality opposition and is also likely to improve as she gains more experience. Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2017 Start List 53 DIMITY LEE DUKE AUS (Australia) 54 ANNA EBERHARDT HUN (Hungary) 56 MONICA JUHART AUS (Australia) 57 KIM KILGROE PHL (Philippines) 58 KERRY MULHOLLAND AUS (Australia) 59 KIRRA SEIDEL AUS (Australia) 60 ALISE SELSMARK AUS (Australia) 61 AMELIA WATKINSON NZL (New Zealand) 62 JACQUELINE THISTLETON AUS (Australia) 63 GURUTZE FRADES ESP (Spain) 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.