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McCormack and Keat to defend at Ironman Cairns

Ironman 70.3 Cairns takes the same day - Sunday June 3.

Formerly Challenge Cairns, the first edition of Ironman Cairns takes place this Sunday June 3rd in Queensland, Australia.

Last year’s champions, Chris McCormack and Rebekah Keat return to defend their titles. For McCormack, he returns to Ironman racing after attempting to make it unto the Australian Olympic Triathlon Team. He will found out his fate on Friday.

“Back to my day job! I need an Hawaiian holiday again soon 🙂 No London for me! Happy for the Team we picked! Solid, deserving athletes,” said Macca on Twitter.

By racing in Cairns, despite the lack of Ironman specific training, he can validate his Kona slot and be ready to race there this October. Let the trash talk with Lance Armstrong begin.

There will also be a Ironman 70.3 Cairns race taking place at the same time.

Check out the pro fields below.

2012 Ironman Cairns Professional Field

Pro Men

Pro Women

Chris McCormack (AUS)

Cameron Brown (NZL)

Luke Bell (AUS)

Matty White (AUS)

Leon Griffin (AUS)

David Dellow (AUS)

Jason Shortis (AUS)

Aaron Farlow (AUS)

Justin Granger (AUS)

Jimmy Johnson (DEN)

Bryan Rhodes (NZL)

Petr Vabrousek (CZE)

Mitchell Anderson (AUS)

Simon Cochrane (NZL)

Finnbar Crennan (AUS)

Michael Gee (AUS)

Tod Israel (AUS)

Scott Neyedli (UK)

Jon Woods (AUS)

Rebekah Keat (AUS)

Michelle Mitchell (AUS)

Belinda Granger (AUS)

Carrie Lester (AUS)

Melissa Rollison (AUS)

Rebecca Hoschke (AUS)

Candice Hammond (NZL)

Amanda McKenzie (AUS)

Belinda Harper (NZL)

Ange Castle (AUS)

Emi Sakai (JPN)

2012 Ironman 70.3 Cairns Professional Field

Pro Men

Pro Women

Pete Jacobs (AUS)

Tim Berkel (AUS)

Josh Rix (AUS)

Adam Gordon (AUS)

John Polson (AUS)

Sam Appleton (AUS)

Matthew Bailey (AUS)

Luke Gillmer (AUS)

Casey Munro (AUS)

Jon Woods (AUS)

Luke McKenzie (AUS)

Peter Schokman (AUS)

Rob Harris (AUS)

Michelle Wu (AUS)

Jacinta Worland (AUS)

Ali Fitch (AUS)

Matilda Raynolds (AUS)

Suzanne Blackborrow (AUS)

Lauren Parker (AUS)

Sarah Crowley (AUS)

Joanna Lawn (NZL)

Highlights from the Ironman Cairns Press Conference

There was a buzz of excitement in the air at the Ironman Cairns press conference in Tropical North Queensland earlier today as defending Champion Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack, 2nd place getter at 2011 Ironman World Championship Pete Jacobs, 10 x Ironman New Zealand Champion Cameron Brown, 19 x Ironman 70.3 winner Luke Bell, defending champion Rebekah Keat, 2012 Ironman Australia Champion Michelle Mitchell and New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn gathered to swap pre-race notes.

Pete Jacobs (AUST) Racing URBAN Hotel Group 70.3 Ironman Cairns

On how he is feeling ahead of the 70.3 and how his 2012 is looking like:
I’m feeling good.  The last three years running I’ve carried injuries, which has actually worked well for me leading into Kona.  The forced rest is something a lot of athletes don’t get but it’s worked for me in the past.  I was disappointed I couldn’t race at Ironman Melbourne and take on the guys down there but I’m looking forward to making an impact in the second half of the season.

I’m building and I’m planning to take that right back through to Hawaii.  I’m really in good shape for the season and I’m looking forward to racing the 70.3 on Sunday and then continuing that right through to some races in America and the Philippines and then Hawaii in October.

Luke Bell (Aust) Racing Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns

On how he is feeling ahead of the race on Sunday and about racing in Cairns:
My form is pretty good, I’m feeling well rested.  It’s nice to be up here – it’s a lot warmer than home and it’s not blowing a gale so even if the conditions stay similar to this it’ll be a good race.
It’s nice to be up in Cairns and the calibre of the athletes here prove that the event is going to continue to grow on the next 5 years and it will become one of the most iconic Ironman events.
I’ve always said, if you are going to do an Ironman and put your body through that much punishment you might as well do it in a beautiful destination, enjoy the scenery and try to take your mind off the job at hand,  Cairns really does that for you – it really ticks all of the boxes.

Cameron Brown (NZ) Racing Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns

On being picked as a favourite for Ironman on Sunday:
I’ve held my form over the last few months, I felt like I had a fantastic race in Melbourne and I felt good in Port Macquarie.  I’m looking forward to the event on Sunday, It’ll be a good race against Macca – he is 2-time world champion and he can be cheeky on the course but racing him and a lot of the other guys out there on the weekend is going to be really good.  David Dellow will be a real dark horse out there,  he’s had some good races and he could really surprise us. The Aussies are very tough to beat on their home soil but I am looking forward to the challenge.

Chris McCormack (Aust) Racing Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns

On the Olympic selection – can he do it:
We find out tomorrow between 5 and 6.  It has been 12 years since I ventured down this path and I did forget what it was like to put your life in other peoples hands.  But when I decided to go down this patch I thought the team would be picked in April which would of given me more time to prepare for this event but they did move the goal posts for us, so I have been thinking focusing on other options.  Not that I think I won’t make the team, but if I don’t it will be back to my day job of long events.

The great thing about Cairns being an Ironman event is the chance for me to ratify for Kona so I’m going to get to that finish line regardless.  But if I can play a smart game it’d be nice to be back where I started last year but I am a realist so I will see how I go.

Rebekah Keat (Aust) Racing Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns

On her training in Santa Monica and on how she is feeling on defending her title in Cairns:
I really enjoyed this race last year and I hadn’t won on home soil for a while so it was a really great feeling.  Now it is an official Ironman event, of course I’d like to win but it will be a tough field. Hopefully it will be a great day out there – I’m really looking forward to it.

Michelle Mitchell (Aust) Racing Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns

On backing up after her win at Ironman Australia in Port Macquarie:
I’m feeling pretty good. I think I’m still a little bit out of time from the event four weeks ago, but I am as ready as I can be so I’ll be out there on the day, doing my best to get points for Kona.  I guess that is the gold for me – just to get my points, have a good race and then settle into a good training block.

On finishing second last year behind Rebeckah Keat and possibly looking for the win in 2012:
I know everyone has been racing pretty strong and putting some hard training for this race so I’m going to give it all I’ve got but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself at this stage.

Joanna Lawn (NZ) Racing URBAN Hotel Group 70.3 Ironman Cairns

On racing in Cairns:
I’m a bit excited.  This is my first time in Cairns, it looks like a fun race
I’m not feeling the pressure and I think that’s a good way to be heading into the race.  I had originally planned on racing the full Ironman event but after I got sick a few weeks ago I decided on the 70.3.  You can only push yourself so many times and I’m feeling pretty ‘fittish’, especially for a 70.3.  It should be a good opportunity for me to test the body and see what I can do.

About Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns

Set in one of the world’s most iconic tropical locations, Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns will take place on 3 June 2012. It will feature a course memorable for the 3.8km swim in the warm waters off Sailfish Quay, the 180km bike leg that travels up arguably 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 Cairns.

Find out more at USM Events.