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Strong field lining up for Ironman 70.3 California

Oceanside California

The North American season kicks off with Ironman 70.3 California in Oceanside this Saturday. Historically, this has been a race with a strong Canadian presence in both the men’s and women’s pro fields. This year will be no exception.

Women’s race

Over the last few years, the two fastest Heathers in the sport have made Ocenside their battle ground. Two years ago, Heather Wurtele claimed the title with American Heather Jackson finishing just a minute behind her. Last year, Wurtele was runner-up to Jackson. There’s no doubt these two will be fighting to the finishing again this year but as always, a generally strong women’s field will push them the entire way.

Canada’s  other female pros lining up in Oceanside include Malindi Elmore, Christine Fletcher and Alexandra Gordichuk.

Gordichuk told TMC, “I’m so blessed to have family in Oceanside so I can attend this race! The course is amazing and I can learn a lot from the deep competition. I’m expecting to give it my all for Canada and have a solid first race of the season.”

Check out our video of Elmore talking about her transition from elite runner to pro triathlete.

Men’s race

Some of the world’s best long distance male triathletes return to Oceanside every year. Jan Frodeno, Andy Potts and Sebastien Kienle have all won and podiumed at Ironman 70.3 California multiple times. Though Frodeno will be absent this year, Potts and Kienle are joined by Lionel Sanders, who placed third last year.

Canada’s Taylor Reid and Trevor Wurtele (who finished second at Ironman 70.3 Monterrey recently) will be racing for a spot on the podium as well.

Reid told TMC, “I am very excited to be here again. This race is one of the biggest and most prestigious races. I really look forward to testing myself against such a stacked field and improving on my result from last year. When the gun goes off I will be ready to take on some titans of the sport.”

Check out Reid’s video of his prep for Oceanside here.

Heather and Trevor Wurtele are excited to return to California again, too.

They told TMC, “Oceanside is always one of the most competitive races of the year and 2016 looks to be no different.  We both know that our form is there, and it’s definitely nice to have kick started the season with a great couple results in Monterrey two weeks ago.  It would be a thrill to both come top 3 here in Oceanside as well.
Caroline Steffen and Heather have never raced an Ironman 70.3 together.  This could make for a really exciting battle, in addition to the Heather W vs. Heather J  showdown and, of course, all of the other talented women on the start line as well.
On the mens side you’ve got the usual fast names on the start list, but there are also a few Europeans that somehow slip under the radar.  Most notably Andreas Dreitz and Manuel Keung.  These two guys are both incredibly fast swim/bikers and I’m sure will split the race apart early.
All that said, sometimes at these early season races you just never know who will be fit and ready to race for 4 hours.  It’s going to be an exciting day.”

Canada has a few other male pros on the start line as well — Brian Hrynkow, Stephen Kilshaw, Mikael Staer Nathan and Anthony Toth.

Full pro start list here.