Home > Feature

Weekend Preview: Ironman New Zealand, Bahrain Endurance team racing, sold-out WTS Abu Dhabi

It’s an big weekend in the triathlon world. Ironman kicks off its first full distance race of the 2016 calendar, the Bahrain Endurance team looks to make waves in the Asia-Pacific and South American regions and over 2,000 age-groupers take on a sold-out WTS Abu Dhabi.

Ironman New Zealand

Caroline Martineau is the sole Canadian pro triathlete racing Ironman New Zealand this weekend. Though there only a handful of Canadians lining up, this race attracts more than half its field from outside the country each year including from the USA, Europe and Australia. This early season race passes through some of Taupo, New Zealand’s most beautiful natural scenery, including a swim course with one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes.

Meredith Kessler and France’s Cyril Viennot (top 10 at Kona last year) are two big names racing IMNZ tomorrow. Great Britain’s Laura Siddall and American Matthew Russell, who both podiumed at Challenge Wanaka two weekends ago, will be lining up for their second full distance Kiwi race so far this year.

Bahrain Endurance’s Terrenzo Bozzone is signed up for his third consecutive IMNZ, determined to win for the first time ever.

He says, “(Ironman New Zealand) has been locked into my schedule since 2009 when I debuted my Ironman career. As a young triathlete, I always went down to watch the race… I have had a handful of second and third places over the years but that ultimate race and standing on top of the podium has eluded me.”

Bahrain Endurance team racing

Several other members of the Bahrain Endurance team will race in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races this weekend.

Swiss star Caroline Steffen heads to the Philippines to race Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay. After not making it to the start line last year due to food poisoning, she has otherwise won all other races she’s entered in the country. “I am looking forward to heading back to finish unsettled business,” she says.

USA’s Ben Hoffman and Australia’s Sam Appleton will get their season underway with the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Buenos Aires.

Hoffman looks forward to the fast and flat bike course of this new race. “It will be a great opportunity to test the body and mind ahead of some bigger early season goals… I have been training well in Arizona and feel ready to get things rolling against a strong field of contenders,” he says.

Besides the world championship, Appleton won all 70.3 races he entered last year. He looks to continue his winning streak in Argentina.

WTS Abu Dhabi

We posted our preview for the elite race earlier this week, but the second edition of WTS Abu Dhabi will be bigger than last year with a sold-out field of age-groupers as well.

“The ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi will launch this season in style,” said Gary Marescia, Race Director of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi. “We look forward to welcoming the best triathletes in the world to Abu Dhabi as they compete for line honours on the road to Rio. Spectators are in for a treat and should ensure they are at the race village on March 5th to experience racing of the highest order.”

Athletes from 67 countries will race on the weekend and many of the world’s top triathletes are on the elite line-up. “The exceptional quality of the entry list and participation numbers confirms that Abu Dhabi is the perfect starting event on the ITU World Triathlon Series calendar,” said Marescia.