Edinburgh is gearing up for a big showdown on Sunday 1 July as Scotland’s biggest triathlon will see some of the UK’s best professional triathletes do battle for the top spot on Sunday 1 July 2018.
IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh takes place for the second time and will see athletes take on one of Europe’s most unique and challenging courses with the 1.2-mile swim starting at Preston Links, the 56-mile bike going inland through East Lothian, finishing with the 13.1-mile run at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.
The professional men’s field is stacked with athletes from around the world, but all eyes will be on the youngest athlete in the men’s professional field, Great Britain’s Eliot Smales. Smales achieved his first IRONMAN 70.3 win only a few weeks ago with stellar performance at IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire, leading from start to finish.
Prior to his breakthrough victory in Staffordshire this year, the rising star of British long-distance triathlon came close to the top spot on more than a few occasions. In 2017, Smales placed third at IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire, fourth at IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh and fifth at IRONMAN 70.3 Dublin.
He will however arrive in Edinburgh as part of an arguably stronger field containing the experience of Great Britain’s Will Clarke, Italy’s Alessandro Degasperi, South Africa’s Stuart Marais and the exciting potential of Australia’s Josh Amberger.
Will Clarke, a mainstay of British triathlon, has achieved success both in the UK and abroad. He is an athlete who has gone under 8 hours over the IRONMAN distance on more than one occasion and did so once again at IRONMAN Texas this year where he placed third in a strong field. He was also close at IRONMAN UK in 2017 with a second-place finish.
Josh Amberger will be one to watch in Edinburgh. The Australian is a good swimmer and an exceptionally strong biker, traits he highlighted at the IRONMAN World Championship in 2017 and at the IRONMAN African Championship in April this year where he was involved at the sharp end of both races for long periods. With the IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh bike course providing an honest challenge, Amberger’s strength could come to the fore and prove to be an advantage.
The professional women’s field will be an open challenge with a host of strong British athletes and experienced international challengers. Great Britain’s Emma Pallant returns to mount a title defence in Edinburgh having started the 2018 season in exceptional form.
Her growing list of accolades this year include wins at IRONMAN 70.3 Barcelona and IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire along with a second place at IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa. Pallant was also the only athlete to beat Lucy Gossage in 2017, a feat that happened at IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh.
Lucy Gossage remains a strong contender and one of the race favourites having dominated in the UK in 2017 and having already won at IRONMAN Lanzarote this year – a race considered the world’s toughest IRONMAN. She placed fourth at IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire, only two weeks after winning in Lanzarote.
Another British athlete on the up is Nikki Bartlett. Bartlett is yet to get her first win but has been knocking on the door over the past few seasons with a string of strong podium finishes. She started her 2018 season well with a third place at IRONMAN Lanzarote, only her fourth professional IRONMAN race, followed by a second place at IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire. She adds these to her second place at IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire and third at IRONMAN UK in 2017.
One to watch is rookie professional, Fenella Langridge who has enjoyed a solid start to her professional triathlon career with three impressive podium finishes this year. A third place at IRONMAN 70.3 Pays d’Aix in France in her debut professional race, followed by a second place at IRONMAN 70.3 Barcelona and a third at IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire underlines her ability. At 26 she is the second youngest athlete in the women’s professional field and having already raced against many of the top athletes in the IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh field, she will be confident of continuing her strong season.
One of the more experienced athletes in the field is Belgium’s Tine Deckers. Deckers is a five-time IRONMAN champion and has three IRONMAN 70.3 wins to her name. She is searching for her first IRONMAN 70.3 win since 2016 but she is an athlete whose experience could see her do well in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian can look forward to an exciting weekend of racing with athletes travelling from 39 countries to compete at IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh. For the first time, the IRONKIDS Scotland will be part of the IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh weekend with three events taking place, one each in Midlothian, East Lothian and Edinburgh. Parents can sign their children up this weekend.
For more information please visit the event website, www.ironman.com/edinburgh70.3
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