Abu Dhabi International Triathlon Lines Up World Class Men’s Field
Posted Feb 22 2010 7:30am
Posted by Brandon on Feb 22, 2010 |
Abu Dhabi – With three weeks to go before the inaugural US$250,000 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (ADIT), organisers have confirmed one of the top men’s elite fields of any 2010 event.
Amongst those leading the charge in the men’s category are: Sweden’s Bjorn Andersson, one of the world’s best long distance cyclists; Phil Graves, the emerging UK Ironman champion; Raynard Tissink, South Africa’s five-time Ironman winner and Faris Al-Sultan, Team Abu Dhabi Triathlon’s Ironman World Champion.
‘I’m looking forward to a challenging race in a unique part of the world that I have not yet visited. I expect the competition to be really tough, but I expect the course and conditions to be even tougher. My overall goal will be to finish yet as I usually handle the heat pretty well, I’ll be conservatively looking to finish in the top 10,” said Tissink.
These front-runners will be joined by other hot favourites including, Luxembourg’s Dirk Bockel, who finished 7th at 2009 Ironman World Championships; Spain’s Eneko Llanos, who clocked up a second place finish at the 2008 Ironman World Championships and is a past Ironman Lanzarote winner; the UK’s Fraser Cartmell, winner of the 2010 70.3 South Africa and 2008 70.3 UK; and Australia’s Joe Gambles, who recently finished 5th in the 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Championships and is a multiple Ironman 70.3 champion.
“The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon is exactly what the sport needs with an exciting new race format, an exotic location and a good organisation behind it. I can’t wait to compete,” added Andersson.
With its first-of-its-kind format that boasts a finishing running leg shorter than typical Ironman events to allow for quicker recovery, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)-organised showpiece continues to attract an impressive, multi-national athlete line-up to mark its first edition – a clear indication of the event’s swelling international appeal.
A host of the world’s top female athletes have also thrown their caps in the ring, with current Ironman 70.3 and Xterra Triathlon World Champion and 70.3 distance world record holder, Great Britain’s Julie Dibens – widely regarded as one of the world’s fastest competitors – heading up the field.
The Netherlands’ Yvonne Van Vlerken, the 2008 Ironman World Championship runner up and past Ironman world record holder; Britain’s Leanda Cave, the past Olympic and long distance world champion; and American duo of Sam McGlone, previous Ironman 70.3 World Champion, and Hillary Biscay, who has notched up 10 top three Ironman finishes in the last two years, are amongst 20 other top-tier professional women currently registered for the adrenaline-pumping ADIT.
“I’m thrilled to be racing this new triathlon in Abu Dhabi; the distance is fantastic for me. It’s no secret that I am a swim/bike specialist, and this plays perfectly to my strengths. It’s also very exciting to be racing in an intriguing location like the United Arab Emirates. This will attract some great competition and that’s when I race at my best,” said Cave.
Primed to be an ‘instant classic’, ADIT is being raced across two unique lengths, a testing 223kms ‘pure power’ course and a second 111.5kms route. Both routes, which are open to amateurs and elites alike, will take in a host of Abu Dhabi city landmarks – all under the safety of completely closed roads.
And with the greatest collection of triathlon superstars outside of Hawaii Ironman World Championships – the sport’s pinnacle competition – the event has already been tipped as the ‘most hotly anticipated new race in 2010’, as announced by US-based Triathlete magazine, the world’s largest triathlon publication.
“No other event outside of Hawaii will present a field of champions of this magnitude where amateurs can benchmark their skills against elite athletes – testing physical endurance, agility and ability. One of the key elements of the ADIT is that it offers age group amateur athletes the chance to race along side the current legends of triathlon,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Head- Major Events Division, ADTA.
To date, more than 650 athletes from 25 countries have signed up for ADIT, including many from across the GCC.
Athletes competing in the long distance course will have the chance to take home a share in $250,000US in prize money – the most offered in any race. In addition to the professional race, places are still available for the first ADIT event charged at US$180 and US$123 for the long and short distances respectively.
Rutger Beke (BEL) 3rd at 2008 Ironman World Championships and numerous Ironman wins
The current favourites in the women’s race include but are not limited to:
· Hillary Biscay (USA) 10 top three’s at Ironman events in the last two years
· Jo Lawn (NZ) 6 time winner Ironman New Zealand
· Julie Dibens (GB) Current 70.3 and Xterra World Champion
· Leanda Cave (GB) Past ITU Olympic Distance World Champion, Past ITU Long Distance World Champion and 3rd at 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Championships and multiple Ironman 70.3 winner
· Sam McGlone (CDN) 2006 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and winner 2009 Ironman Arizona
· Tereza Marcel (CDN) 4th at 2009 Ironman World Championships and multiple Ironman winner
· Virginia Barasategui (ESP) 3rd at 2009 Ironman World Championships
· Yvonne Van Vlerken (NL) 2nd at 2008 Ironman World Championships, multiple Ironman winner and holder of 3rd fastest ”Ironman-Distance” time in history