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Pros Flock to Geelong for 2016 Opener

Craig Alexander will chase his fifth win in a row, while Melissa Hauschildt makes a return from injury in Geelong.

A professional field of more than 50 athletes, one of the largest in Asia-Pacific history, will contest IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong on February 7.

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The first major race for the 2016 season has attracted quality with multiple world champions and quantity with 27 women and 29 men on the start line.
Five-time world champion (and four-time Geelong winner) Craig Alexander will be joined by 2012 IRONMAN World Champion Pete Jacobs, while the women’s field will feature two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Melissa Hauschildt.
In his drive for five, Alexander will face a plethora of pursuers including; Jacobs, Victorian Leon Griffin (a multiple IRONMAN 70.3 Champion) and Frances Cyril Viennot who finished sixth at last year’s IRONMAN World Championship.
In addition the 2012 Noosa triathlon champion and Geelong local, Peter Kerr, will be making his IRONMAN 70.3 debut, after late last year making the difficult choice to give up on his Rio Olympic dream, while fellow Geelong local Levi Maxwell will race for the first time as a professional.

“Racing at home is a great thrill to race at home among family and friends. My family and a lot of the guys I train with locally are valued support for me so to showcase to them in the flesh what I actually do is always going to be special,” Kerr said.
Also to feature are David Dellow (fourth in IRONMAN Western Australia), German Per Bittner (second at Ballarat), New Zealand’s Callum Millward (IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder winner) and Australian Jake Montgomery (IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney winner).
The stacked women’s field is highlighted by Australians Annabel Luxford and the returning Hauschildt, who missed much of last year with injury.

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Luxford capped off a superb 2015 with consecutive IRONMAN 70.3 wins at Western Sydney and Ballarat.
Hauschildt, the 2011 and 2013 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, is on the comeback trail after injury prevented her from racing post her win at the 2015 IRONMAN Melbourne in March.
"I can't wait to get back racing. I was training really hard on the bike all last year waiting for an answer with my rib injury. I thought it was going to really pay off at Kona and I'd be able to see the improvements I'd made on the bike but that time never came, I didn't get to race," Hauschildt said.
"It's now almost a year since I've raced so I'm really looking forward to getting back out there."
Luxford and Hauschildt will be joined by IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie champion Radka Vodickova (CZE), Dutch star Yvonne Van Vlerken (third at IRONMAN Western Australia and second at Ballarat), and Andrea Forrest (with IRONMAN 70.3 podiums at Port Macquarie and Western Sydney).
More than 1600 age group athletes will be racing across the IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong race weekend.

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About IRONMAN

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 and five unique brands: IRONMAN®, IRONMAN® 70.3®, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl® and IRONKIDS®. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

Images  Delly Carr/IRONMAN

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