A stellar men’s field will contest this year’s SunSmart IRONMAN® Western Australia while Dutch star Yvonne Van Vlerken will be looking for redemption after a bike crash last year cost her a place on the podium.
Men’s champion Denis Chevrot (France) will defend his title but will be challenged by a slew of Australians all desperate for a win on home soil.
Luke McKenzie, the 2013 IRONMAN World Championship runner-up, will be looking to end his year with a strong performance after failing to finish at this year’s world championship.
“I went into the event in good form and with confident of a good result. I wasn’t holding down any hydration or nutrition after 80km on the bike and by 120km I was in a lot of trouble. Basically an empty tank and a long hard road back to Kailua-Kona,” McKenzie said.
“It was the first time in nine Kona appearances (since 2006) that I didn’t finish and I was pretty upset to break that streak. I have moved on as quickly as I could and am focused on a good performance at Western Australia to end the year.”
Fellow Aussie Tim Reed will again make the step up after a strong season at the IRONMAN 70.3 distance with the Asia-Pacific champion’s most recent victory coming at Port Macquarie.
“I feel like I've only properly trained for an IRONMAN as professional once before (Melbourne 2013) while the other two times Kona and Texas last year were tacked on to the back of a very focused Ironman 70.3 event preparations,” Reed said.
“Without preparing properly I think I got what I deserved each time quickly fading from the pointy end after about 6 hours of racing so I was very motivated to do the work and line up on an IRONMAN start line really believing that I'm there racing for a win.”
As defending champion, and after claiming the SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah title four weeks ago, Chevrot will go into the race as favourite. He, McKenzie and Reed will be challenged by David Dellow, who was third in Western Australia 2013, Germany’s Per Bittner, third last year, and Sweden’s Fredrick Croneborg who was second at IRONMAN Malaysia.
America’s Sarah Piampiano, fresh of a career-best seventh at the IRONMAN World Championship, will be in the mix for the top spot on the podium with Van Vlerken and last year’s runner-up Mareen Hufe (Germany).
The trio will be challenged by a large group of Australian’s that includes; 5150 Bohol champion Dimity Lee Duke, Kate Bevilaqua who was fourth at IRONMAN 70.3 Busselton and IRONMAN 70.3 Gurye champion Sarah Crowley.
Over 1,700 age group athletes will be racing at the SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia
SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia is proudly supported by the State Government of Western Australia through Tourism WA, City of Busselton and Healthway in promoting the SunSmart message.
The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, IRONMAN has grown from a single race to a global sensation with more than 250 events across five unique brands: IRONMAN®, IRONMAN 70.3®, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Multisport events, Iron Girl® and IRONKIDS®. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.