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Top triathletes lining up in Texas

An early season warm-up race featuring some top North American triathletes - including Cody Beals - and a handful of up-and-comers.

Cody Beals. Credit: Julien Heon
Cody Beals. Credit: Julien Heon

This weekend is the first of the year to see several key triathlons taking place across the globe. North America’s most prominent half distance pro race, Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, takes place on April 1st and the following day we’ll see more top ranked triathlete take on Ironman South Africa and Ironman 70.3 Texas.

Texas will see a stacked field including several strong Canadians toe the line this year. The course offers a one-loop salt water swim, an out and back bike that’s known for some strong crosswinds, and a fast and flat three-loop run. Here’s our preview.

Men’s race

Last year, it was Lionel Sanders who took the win with a more than three-minute margin of victory over Andreas Dreitz. With Oceanside and Texas falling on the same weekend this year, Sanders and the rest of last year’s men’s podium are not returning to Galveston but there’s a strong new crew stepping up this year.

Headlining the men’s field is Tim O’Donnell, who recently announced he and wife Mirinda Carfrae are pregnant. O’Donnell had a season of top 10 finishes last year including the win at Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico and sixth in Kona. A fast swimmer, we’ll no doubt see him in the first pack coming out of the water and expect he’ll maintain a solid position throughout the entire race.

The man who we see as his greatest competition on Sunday is Cody Beals, who has proven his prowess across the half distance and competes well in the typically hot and windy conditions that Texas is known for. Beals heads into this race with a podium already under his belt this season and the capability of delivering top bike and run splits — potentially the fastest in the field.

Australia’s Chris McDonald is another name to watch for on Sunday, as he holds a personal-best time of 3:48 across the half distance and has dozens of wins under his belt in long course racing. McDonald took 12th in last year’s race but is faster and fitter this year.

We’ll also have our eye on Mauricio Mendez Cruz, Jarrod Schoemaker and Matt Russell.

Canadian men lining up include Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches, James Cook, Nathan Killam, Stephen Kilshaw, David Lacombe and Mikael Staer Nathan.

Women’s race

As with the men’s race, many of the top women’s finishers including last year’s winner Sarah Haskins, are not returning to Galveston this year meaning we’re certain to see all new faces on the podium.

Winner of the 2015 Ironman 70.3 Texas race, Denmark’s Helle Frederiksen headlines the women’s field. The former ITU triathlete is strong across all three disciplines, has several wins to her name and is the women’s half distance world record holder with a time of 3:55:50. She comes into Texas with a strong track record recently, having won Challenge Samorin and Ironman 70.3 Augusta in the past year.

American Ironman record holder Linsey Corbin is another big name to watch for in the women’s race. Corbin consistently finishes on the podium in half distance races.

Canadian Stephanie Roy, who delivered an impressive second place finish in Puerto Rico earlier this month, looks to add another podium finish to her race resume. As an athlete who thrives in the heat, she is definitely a contender for the win on Sunday.

We’re looking forward to seeing what Canadian rookie pros Sheila Treleaven and Nicole Walker can do on Sunday.

Full pro line up here.