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2014 Ironman Melbourne Set For Sunday

  • By Liz Hichens
  • Published Mar 20, 2014
  • Updated Mar 21, 2014 at 1:07 PM UTC
Alexander won this race in 2012. Photo: Simon Grimmett

As the first championship level Ironman of the 2014 Kona Pro Ranking season, the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne always boasts an impressive field and this year is no exception. The event is one of three P-4000 designated races, meaning that it is second in points and prize purse ($125,000) only to the Ironman World Championship.

Three-time Ironman world champion Craig Alexander (AUS) highlights the field. Alexander has competed in all three of the Ironman Melbourne races, winning the first in 2012 and finishing third in 2013. For the first time, Alexander is not competing as a way to validate a start at the Ironman World Championship. “To be honest there’s not any desire to validate for Kona,” he said earlier this month. “I’ve maintained I’m looking for ways to prolong my career and maintain my ability to race at a high level. I’m at the point in my career where I only want to do one Ironman a year.”

With last year’s winner Ekeno Llanos (ESP) choosing not to defend, runner-up Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) will wear the No. 1 bib. Vanhoenacker has been battling injuries and failed to qualify for the 2013 Ironman World Championship. He’ll be looking for strong points to help him get back to Kona. Also racing is 2013 Kona runner-up Luke McKenzie (AUS). The veteran has always been strong at the Ironman distance, but his Kona finish has put him on the radar as someone who could win any race he enters. Unlike the athletes previously mentioned, New Zealand’s Cameron Brown will be racing on tired legs. The 41-year-old competed at Ironman New Zealand only a few weeks ago, but he did the same back-to-back Ironman combo in 2012 (though New Zealand was turned into a half due to weather) and gave Crowie a run for his money and ultimately finished second.

These main contenders will face a deep pro lineup, with more than a dozen names capable of taking the title (see the start list below).

PHOTOS: 2013 Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship

For the women, Caroline Steffen (SUI) will be a slight favorite over her former teamTbb teammate Mary Beth Ellis (USA), given her history at this race (like Alexander she won the inaugural race and finished third last year). Ellis is coming back from an injury that devastated the end of her 2013 season. She opened her season with a seventh-place finish at Ironman 70.3 Panama under new coach Siri Lindley, and is seeking KPR points to make up for a DNF in Kona. Look for Angela Naeth (CAN), Natascha Badmann (SUI), Asa Lundstrom (SWE) and Rebekah Keat (AUS) to also battle it out for podium positions.

The race kicks off at 7:20 a.m. Melbourne time Sunday (1:20 p.m. PST/4:20 p.m. EST on Saturday).

Men’s Pro Start List
1 Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL)
2 Craig Alexander (AUS)
3 Luke McKenzie (AUS)
4 Cameron Brown (NZL)
5 Dirk Bockel (LUX)
6 David Dellow (AUS)
7 Axel Zeebroek (BEL)
8 Jimmy Johnsen (DEN)
9 Daniel Halksworth (GBR)
10 Christian Kramer (GER)
21 Mike Aigroz (SUI)
22 Paul Ambrose (GBR)
23 Paul Amey (GBR)
24 Courtney Atkinson (AUS)
25 Dan Brown (PHI)
26 Matt Burgess (NZL)
27 Guy Crawford (NZL)
28 Balazs Csoke (HUN)
29 Adam Gordon (NZL)
30 Philip Graves (GBR)
31 Jarmo Hast (FIN)
32 Mathias Hecht (SUI)
33 Todd Israel (AUS)
34 Christian Kemp (AUS)
35 Arland Macasieb (PHI)
36 Paul Matthews (AUS)
37 Casey Munro (AUS)
38 David Nasvik (SWE)
39 Josh Rix (AUS)
40 Peter Robertson (AUS)
41 Tom Rodgers (AUS)
42 Sylvail Rota (FRA)
43 Benjamin Sanson (FRA)
44 Sweb Sundberg (GER)
45 Michael Weiss (AUT)
46 Luke Whitmore (AUS)
47 Harry Wiltshire (GBR)
48 Pawel Wisniewski (POL)

Women’s Pro Start List
11 Caroline Steffen (SUI)
12 Mary Beth Ellis (USA)
13 Rebekah Keat (AUS)
14 Natascha Badmann (SUI)
15 Asa Lundstrom (SWE)
16 Rebecca Hoschke (AUS)
17 Stephanie Jones (USA)
18 Mareen Hufe (GER)
19 Angela Naeth (CAN)
20 Kim Schwanebauer (USA)
49 Kate Bevilaqua (AUS)
50 Tracy Douglas (AUS)
51 Michelle Duffield (AUS)
52 Kristy Hallett (AUS)
53 Tine Holst (DEN)
54 Kym Jaenke (AUS)
55 Keiko Tanaka (JPN)

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Liz Hichens

Liz Hichens

Liz Hichens is the Web Producer of Triathlete.com. She is an Ironman and marathon finisher and fan of all endurance sports.

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