A host of the leading male professional triathletes from home and abroad are out to leave their mark on Ironman 70.3 Tasmania this Sunday in Hobart.
A great mix of experience and youth will be on show when racing gets underway on Sunday, with athletes taking on a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run before a brand new IM 70.3 men’s champion will be crowned.
New Zealand’s Braden Currie is the top seeded male with the 37-year-old a multiple-time IM and IM 70.3 race winner.
“Feeling really good, it’s been a really good summer here in New Zealand, took a little bit of time off through December and have built back into it over the last month and all has been going really well,” said Currie. “Had a great Christmas time with the family and managed to squeeze in some good training so really looking forward to breaking up the Ironman training and come to Tassie to race.”
Currie was on the start list for last year’s debut IM 70.3 Tasmania but had to withdraw last minute so he’s looking forward to finally getting to the start line in Hobart.
“Last year my son broke his arms as I was about to drive over to the airport and fly out so I pulled the pin last minute and had the weekend at home with him but really looking forward to getting back to Tassie,” he said. “I have some really fond memories racing in Tassie with adventure racing in the past and have always really enjoyed my time there so I’m looking forward to finally getting to race an Ironman 70.3 there.”
Currie is keen to line up against the likes of Spain’s Javier Gomez and local star Cameron Wurf.
“I think it’s going to be very tough racing, I think Javier is in really good form and has had some bad luck in the last few races so I think he’ll be out to make amends for that and Wurfy, I don’t know if I’ve every raced Cam in an Ironman 70.3 so that should be a bit of fun, he’s always a good character to have around and I enjoy his personality and humour on the race course and in the lead in. We’ve also got a really stellar line up of young Aussies that are getting faster and faster,” said Currie.
Javier Gomez knows what it takes to be at the top of the sport, with a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games and two IM 70.3 World Championship titles testament to his skills, with the 40-year-old keen to return to Australia for the first time in a number of years.
“I’m feeling good, I’ve been training in the New Zealand summer these past few months and shape is coming along nicely,” he said. “So, I feel ready to race and I’m excited about visiting Tasmania for the first time.
“I think my last race in Australia was IM 70.3 Geelong back in 2019 and I won that one, so that’s a good memory. But I have raced many times in AUS throughout my career in both short course and long course, as well as many training camps, so it will be nice to be back.
“It’s a strong field and Braden and Cam are two exceptional athletes that I respect a lot,” said Gomez. “They will be very tough to beat as well as all the other Aussie athletes lining up on Sunday. Hopefully it will be a great battle.”
Melbourne’s Mitch Kibby claimed second place on the podium in Tasmania last February, a result which kicked off his most successful year on the professional circuit to date.
“This race set up my season in 2023, taking an Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualification spot and going on to perform well in Lahti,” said Kibby. “I’d love to get a look at Taupō (2024 IM 70.3 World Championship venue) so another good one in Tasmania would be ideal.
“The course plays to my strengths and I’m ready to get after it again. It’s a high-quality field and the pace will be on in the swim,” he said. “There might be some big gaps opening up in the field and who knows what can happen in an early season race with a big calendar ahead this year.”
Nick Thompson will be one to watch out for on Sunday with the West Australian bursting onto the scene in the last year. Thompson has had a strong run of results in the last few months, with a first IM 70.3 win on the Sunshine Coast, a second place at IM 70.3 Melbourne and a third at IM Western Australia.
Cameron Wurf knows the course athletes will take to on Sunday better than anyone and the Tasmanian is keen to mix it up with the strong field.
“Like everyone at the start of the year it’s a mix of excitement to get the season underway and nerves and apprehension about the unknown of where your form is at but it’s the same for everyone,” said Wurf. “I think I’ve demonstrated over the last number of years on the Ironman circuit that every time I line up in a race, I do everything I can to first and foremost get into the lead and then try and stay there, my intention for Sunday will be no different.”