With the Ironman World Championships less than a month away, a couple of the top contenders are using the Ironman 70.3 Muskoka triathlon as a tune up event for the big race.
Last year’s Muskoka winner, Australian Craig Alexander, is hoping for a repeat victory on Sunday and will likely look to carry the momentum into Kona to defend his world championship title. On the women’s side, Australian Mirinda Carfrae has dominated the 70.3 distance and is looking for her fifth half-Ironman distance victory of the year. Carfrae is also using Muskoka as a tune up race for Kona and is considered a top contender for the Ironman World Championship title in her first attempt at the Ironman distance.
Alexander’s biggest competition in Muskoka will be fellow Australian Richie Cunningham, who finished second to Alexander at this race last year. Cunningham and Alexander raced neck and neck until Alexander ran away to the victory. Another Australian looking for the victory is Chris Legh. Legh finished fifth at the Timberman Ironman 70.3 in late August thanks to a fast run and will be after the victory. German Maik Twelsiek burst onto the scene with a victory at Ironman Lake Placid, and could pull out a surprise victory in Canada.
While Carfrae has to be considered the favorite on the women’s side, she will face tough competition from Canadians Magali Tisseyre and Lisa Bentley, and American Rebeccah Wassner. Carfrae and Tisseyre faced off on August 1st at Ironman 70.3 Calgary, with Carfrae winning by 10 minutes over Tisseyre. Wassner has been a top contender in many Olympic-distance events this year and will be looking for her first 70.3 victory. As the 2008 runner up, Wassner is the top finisher returning from last year’s event. 11-time Ironman winner Lisa Bentley finished fifth at this race last year, and is always considered a contender when she races.
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