A win in Western Sydney would be Steffen’s sixth in a row this year after she claimed IRONMAN 70.3 titles at Vietnam, Cairns, Cebu, Sunshine Coast and Mandurah.
“Five wins in a row, it seems I am doing something right,” Steffen said. “I’m not sure if it’s just the fact I did a little less volume and added some more speed work into my training ... or maybe I just enjoy 70.3 more than IRONMAN.”
IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast champion Tim Van Berkel enters the race as favourite, and after a disappointing day at October’s IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii, he’s looking forward to racing again.
“I pulled up ok post-Kona, I had a nice break and am ready to get back into the swing of things. I'm hoping a nice break has freshened me up and I’ll have some form for Western Sydney,” he said.
Steffen will find herself again going head to head with Australian Annabel Luxford who finished second to the Swiss athlete in two of her wins at Cairns and Sunshine Coast.
Recent IRONMAN 70.3 Taiwan champion New Zealand’s Gina Crawford will also be in the mix and is looking forward to racing again after injury forced her to retire in Hawaii.
“I have had some issues with tightness in my right diaphragm, ribs, stomach, back (the reason I couldn't finish Kona),” she said.
“I was happy to win in Taiwan, but it did not feel comfortable on the run, and I did not pull up well after that race. However, I now feel like I am getting on top of it.”
Van Berkel will be joined on the start line by SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah runner-up Jake Montgomery, who produced the race of his career to lead until the 16km mark of the run, eventually finishing second.
"I was pretty tired getting off the bike, and when Dennis Chevrot passed me I just didn’t have anything left. I’m pretty happy with second, it was great to get my first podium," Montgomery said.
The pair will be joined by fellow Australians Nicholas Kastelein, Casey Munro and Luke Bell, fourth, fifth and sixth in Mandurah.
The women’s field will also feature Australian’s Rebekah Keat, Lisa Marangon, Andrea Forrest (second at IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie) and German Mareen Hufe.
Over 1,600 age group athletes will be racing over the IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney.
The 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
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Image: Ironman/ Delly Carr