One of the most anticipated races of the year takes place this weekend. Usually, the World Ironman Championships in Kona overshadows the non drafting triathlon scene, but the 70.3 World Championships will carry a lot more prestige this year and largely due to the very impressive line of athletes racing. We will see some long-awaited showdowns between some of the biggest names of the sport from the last decade. Along with the PRO athletes, Nelson Mandela Bay (South Africa) will see over 6,000 age group athletes competing over the weekend.
Daniela Ryf (SUI) is a three-time Ironman World Champion and three-time 70.3 World Champion. 2017 saw her claim both titles within a couple of months and she looked infallible in doing so. The Swiss athlete if possible looks in even better shape this year with a new WR split at Gdynia 70.3. Although Ryf is probably clear favourite she will not have it all her own way, other athletes who have already raced well in 2018 include Emma Pallant (GBR) 2017's runner up, and Lucy Charles (GBR) who was also runner up to Rfy at Kona last year, and this year defended her title at Challenge's 'The Championship'. Two others to consider will be Melissa Hauschildt, a previous two-time 70.3 World Champion and Sarah True, relatively new onto the long course scene, but she has already shown her prowess over the distance after a very accomplished ITU career.
The men's field is easily the most competitive it has ever been. There is no one favourite to talk about as many of these athletes are unbeatable on their day. When a field boasts numerous World and Olympic champions across multiple distances you know the race will thrilling! The big shown down that everyone is eagerly awaiting is Alistair Brownlee (GBR) vs Javier Gomez (ESP) vs Jan Frodeno (GER). These three are arguably the best triathletes of all time and have raced during the most competitive period in ITU racing. They have moved up to long course and have all taken the scene by storm. Brownlee's future in ITU or non-drafting is still up for speculation, but all three will believe they can win this weekend. Other names, who in other years would normally be odds-on for a top three finish include Sam Appleton (AUS), Ben Kanute (USA), Rodolphe Von Berg (USA), Adam Bowden (GBR), Michael Weiss (AUT) and Michael Raelert (GER). It is going to be one epic race!