On Sunday, Great Britain’s Leanda Cave, and Luxembourg’s Dirk Bockel will look to defend their titles at Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida.
Cave, fresh off of a win at Escape from Alcatraz a few weeks ago, is heading into the race confident and in fine form, while Bockel feels ready to take on the strong field.
“I am doing well and training has been going great the past weeks so I feel ready to race and defend my title,” said Bockel. “It’s actually a big deal for me since I have my winter camp base in St. Augustine, Florida and I am a half Floridian by now. It’s not really like a big home race but defending my title is something I really would like to accomplish, so I trained hard for it and hope for the perfect day.”
Going for her third win in a row, Cave set the course record last year (4:15:29) due in large part to her dominating 2:19:03 bike split, which she followed up with a 1:26:22 half marathon. It is likely that recipe for success will need to be duplicated on race day.
“Sara McClarty will take the lead from the start (in her first 70.3 race). She will be a force to catch on the bike, but I’m hoping to do so before T2,” said Cave. “I want to be in the lead with significant gap between me and my other rivals.”
Bockel, who beat Australian Luke Bell in a sprint finish last year, has a strategy in mind but admits that it may just come down to reacting to what transpires during the race.
“I am sure it will be a smaller leading group with all the favorites and will come down to a hard bike/run final,” said Bockel. “The course is fast and so it will be very interesting who will take it out first.”
While Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida an important stop, both have their sights set on the Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona.
“I believe I can finish a Top 3 there and so I am planning my whole year around that even, nothing else matters as much as Kona,” confessed Bockel. “My coach Michel Krueger and I are pretty strict on picking the races and prioritizing them, like Disney (Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida).” Cave adds, “Kona is my A race. I know I have a top 3 in me.”
Regardless of whether Cave and Bockel are able to repeat as champions, Sunday promises to be a day of hard, fast, and exciting racing. Ironman.com will have live timing.