Abu Dhabi International Triathlon Confirms Fierce Men’s Field
The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon is one of the most unique triathlons in the world. It also offers one of the biggest prize purses in the sport and draws an incredibly competitive field. The 2014 race marks the 5th anniversary of the event and will take place on March 15th. Today’s announcement of the men’s line up reveals the deepest to date including reigning champion and Ironman world champion Frederik Van Lierde who will take on Spaniard Eneko Llanos. Last year Llanos came a close second. Adding to the men’s long course mix is Tyler Butterfield who was third in 2013. Butterfield was ninth in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and seventh place at the Ironman World Championship in Kona before ending the season on a high with second place at Ironman Cozumel.
“I’m looking forward to going head to head with Frederik and Eneko again this March in the hope of working my way up that podium and improving on last year’s result. Having the best of the best competing in the event really pushes you to continue to up your performance and improve each year.
“I am under no illusion a podium in Abu Dhabi is a given – there are many other good athletes all aiming for the same goal. It will be tough and hard race, that is always a guarantee” explains Butterfield.
Other athletes returning to the pro field are South African James Cunnama, who placed 4th in last year’s Ironman Hawaii and German Per Bittner, who finished a strong 5th position in last year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon. Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee and his 2012 World Champion brother Jonathan have also confirmed that they’ll go head-to-head in this year’s men’s short course.
Located on the western side of the Arabian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates borders Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar. Abu Dhabi has much to offer in addition to the race. Following the 2013 event of which he was one of the 2,000 participants, TMC’s Chris Lepik wrote an in-depth review of his experience (see issue 8.4) . He explains, “[R]elatively speaking Abu Dhabi is a fairly young city. Only 50 years ago the city was comprised of just a few Bedouins living in tents in the desert, but now, thanks to a booming oil industry, those tents have turned into skyscrapers, as Abu Dhabi is one of the most modern cities in the world. With enormous infrastructure, vision and seemingly unlimited financial resources, this world-class city sets an architectural standard.”
With a record number of entries to date, and 70% of places already snapped up, The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon is now one of the UAE’s most successful sporting events.
Starting in the turquoise waters off Abu Dhabi’s Blue Flagged public beach, the course weaves along the stunning Corniche to the spectacular Yas Island and around the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the annual Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, before returning to the heart of the city.
The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon offers three course distances; the 223km ‘long course’ (3km swim, a 200km cycle and 20km run), the half-length ‘short’ course (1.5km swim, a 100km cycle and a 10 km run) and the sprint course (750m swim, a 50km bike and 5km run). Both the ‘short’ and the ‘sprint’ can be run as a team relay.
Organizers have frozen athlete registration fees for the fifth year in a row. Athletes interested in entering should visit www.abudhabitriathlon.com and, after clicking on the ENTER NOW link, simply follow the instructions. Entry fees for the long and short distances are US$190 (AED 695) and US $130 (AED 475) respectively, while Sprint course rates are US$75 (AED 275) for individuals and US $120 (AED440) for a team. The fee for the team relay is US$280 (AED1,022).