Challenge Cairns and Challenge Kraichgau Preview
Both on Sunday.
World-class field at Challenge Kraichgau
A world-class international field is lining up for next weekend’s Challenge Kraichgau on Sunday June 5. Defending champion Normann Stadler will have tough competition from fellow Germans Sebastian Kienle and Andreas Raelert. While the men’s race favourites are all German, the women’s field features some top international names. Challenge Roth 2008 champion, Yvonne van Vlerken (NED), has got an extra fight on her hands with late entries Rachel Joyce and Diana Riesler. Britain’s Joyce won Ironman Lanzarote one week ago while Riesler is the German long distance champion.
It promises to be a thrilling race there in ‘the land of 1,000 hills’. Raelert, champion at Ironman Frankfurt 2010, will be in Kraichgau for the first time. For Sebastian Kienle, 2nd Challenge Roth in 2010, this will be tough test on his way to Challenge Roth. Denmark’s Jimmy Johnsen (Challenge Copenhagen 2010 champion) and Francois Chabaud from France are also racing for a podium finish.
New Zealand’s Belinda Harper, the record-breaking 2010 age group world champion, may be the dark horse in womens’ race in Challenge Kraichgau while Jenny Schulz, German duathlon champion, and British Yvette Grice want to go hard for a podium.
Challenge Kraichgau takes place on June 5th 2011 and is part of the world-wide Challenge -Family. With more than 3,000 participants Challenge Kraichgau is one of the most popular races in Germany over the half iron distance of 1,9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run.
For more information see www.challenge-kraichgau.com.
Live streaming of the event: https://drt013.stream24.org/challenge-kraichgau/
Three hundred days of sunshine a year, the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and beautiful rainforests have made Tropical North Queensland and the City of Cairns a world class destination.
When you add the inaugural running of Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns and the extra sparkle of World Ironman champion Chris McCormack into the mix, you have the makings of a very special event.
“It’s amazing to back here in Cairns, glad to escape the cold and rain of Sydney for this amazing weather,” said McCormack
38-year-old McCormack has tested the bike course and believes it will be tough.
“It will certainly test out the legs coming back from Port Douglas with the wind being a factor.
“I’m feeling fit and ready to race. The opportunity to race on Australian shores again is super exciting. My career has taken me all over the globe, but nothing is the same as the ability to race in front of family and friends in a race at home,” said McCormack.
I’m here to win,” quipped McCormack in reference to his new book.
Stepping up to the start line to make their claim on the title and challenge the ‘man’ that sits atop the Ironman world will be some credible contenders.
The late withdrawal of New Zealand’s Cameron Brown due to a calf injury has opened the field up and Australia’s Tim Berkel has made no secret he is in good form and aiming for top spot on the podium.
“My race prep has been going well and coming off a win at Busselton 70.3 so the form is good at the minute.
I’m hoping for a win but it’s going to be very hard there are some very experienced guys racing, I will just give it my best and see how it rolls.
Jamie Whyte will step up as the favourite Kiwi to grab a medal and has been based in Cairns for the past four weeks to prepare.
“It’s been great training in the heat and getting used to the elements that we will have to race in this Sunday. This is partly why I choose to come to Cairns so early and also to get out of the wet New Zealand winter for a few weeks.
“It would be great to take another step up from my performance at Challenge Wanaka. This is what my coach and I have set out to do in training and everything has been spot on with the preparation. There are some great athletes racing, so the competition will be stronger than in Wanaka. I will be focusing on executing my race to perfection,” said Whyte.
“This will make for a stunning bike course. I am expecting the wind to play a major factor, potentially across all three disciplines.
The women’s event is shaping up to be a great battle, with Australia’s first ladies of Iron distance racing Belinda Granger and Rebekah Keat headlining the field.
Granger has announced she is ready to rumble and keen to get out there after a flawless preparation leading up to Cairns.
“I did get a little head cold after I finished doing back to back Half Ironman races a few weeks back. But I am now feeling great and am so eager to get out there on race day and give it my all,” said Granger.
The veteran of the field Granger makes no secret she is her own toughest opponent.
“I put the most pressure on myself and expect the most from myself. I have always been a bit of a high achiever and even though I am getting older I still expect just as much, if not more from myself. One thing is for sure I will be treating this race like my own little world championships,” said Granger.
“I am definitely aiming for the podium. I want to put together a solid race across all three disciplines.
Being a first-time race, having all of my family there and being ‘just up the road’ from where I live I want to have a great race.
“I have been following the Challenge Series for over 8 years now- I love their races and am so excited to be a part of the inaugural ‘Challenge Cairns’. Having Justin and my mum and dad there is going to make it even more special,” added Granger.
Keat is super excited about competing in Cairns partly because her mum and twin sister will be doing their first ever triathlon as part of a team in Challenge Half.
“I’ve been nagging Simone for 15 years and finally she has made the leap, my mum is also in the team so I’m really pumped about that. I’m a bit worried people will think Simmy is me as she’ll be in the Half,” said Keat.
“I’m pretty happy with how training has gone considering I got knocked off my bike a while back, I’ll be out there giving it my all,” she added.
The pair will be up against fellow countrywomen and very much in-form athletes Amelia Pearson and Kirsten Molloy, who recently finished second and third at Ironman Australia. Their confidence will be high and will be an added weapon.
The pros will be ably supported by the very fit and fired up age group categories that including 57 year old female competitor Kerry Bourne (Toowoomba) and the oldest male competitor Phil Benoit, (Woolgoolga).
All Challenge events are as much about the volunteers and the community as they are the participants, and event organiser, race organisers USM Events have worked closely with the Queensland and Cairns communities to welcome them into the Challenge Family and together on 5 June they will all make triathlon and Challenge history.
The eyes of the triathlon world will be on Cairns with more than 1500 athletes of all ages and abilities from 17 countries competing in the full and half iron distance events, showcasing the spectacular race courses that rival the iconic status of the legendary Hawaiian Ironman.
Challenge Cairns has breathtaking scenery at every turn, offer athletes a 3.8km swim in the warm waters off Yorkeys Knob, the 180km bike leg that travels up the most scenic coastal roads in Australia towards Port Douglas and a 42.2km run that includes the Cairns boardwalk, before finishing in the heart of the City of Cairns.
As if the beautiful weather and stunning scenery aren’t enough of an attraction, Challenge Cairns has the added lure of the highest prize money of any ‘Challenge’ branded triathlon in the world ($142,000) making it second richest triathlon in the world.
Challenge Family events focus on delivering the race of a lifetime to athletes of all ages and abilities, and creating a memorable spectator experience that captures all the excitement and emotion of our inspirational sport.
The Challenge Family is changing the face of iron distance racing around the world with its global series of long distance triathlons and on Sunday June 5, 2011 the Challenge brand finally arrives in Australia.
Top contenders for the inaugural 2011 Challenge Cairns
Chris McCormack (AUS)
Rebekah Keat (AUS)
Belinda Granger (AUS)
Pete Jacobs (AUS)
Cameron Brown (NZL)
Carrie Lester (AUS)
Tim Berkel (AUS)
Justin Granger (AUS)
Pawel Wisniewski (POL)
Christie Sym (AUS)
Nicole Ward (AUS)
Graham O’Grady (NZL)
Jamie Whyte (NZL)
Amelia Pearson (AUS)
Matty White (AUS)
Jonathan Hotchkiss (UK)
Lisa Ribes (USA)
Simone Maier (NZ)
More pro details here: