Les Championnats Asie-Pacifique 70.3 auront lieu à Auckland dimanche, les meilleurs athlètes d’Australie et de Nouvelle-Zélande seront sur la ligne de départ pour la bataille. Un parcours difficile qui part du pont d’Auckland et vers le centre-ville, ça va être une lutte serrée autant chez les femmes que chez les hommes.
Terenzo Bozzone partira avec le dossard 1, à domicile il sera soutenu à 100% par son public. Une distance qui lui va bien pour avoir remporté le titre mondial sur 70.3, seuls des athlètes comme Mickaël Raelert et Jan Frodeno peuvent le battre, à suivre donc ! Tim Reed est l’homme en forme de cette fin 2014, aura-t-il bien passé le cap de 2015 … Il a terminé sur le podium à Bahreïn, également présent à Kona. Encore un local et vétéran du circuit pour le dossard 3 Monsieur Cameron Brown toujours bien présent, battu il y a une semaine par Craig Alexander à Port Tauranga, Alexander également champion du Monde sur la distance 70.3 sera un royal concurrent. Tim van Berkel avec son top 10 à Kona est rapide sur la demie distance. Jimmy Sears quant à lui il vient du court et doit encore faire ses preuves sur la distance surtout face à ces concurrents très titrés. Enfin le Bermudien Tyler Butterfield reste sur des contres performances en fin d’année, il aura le dossard 8.
Pas de quoi s’ennuyer du côté d’Auckland.
Mais le plateau féminin n’a rien à envier à celui des hommes, avec notamment l’australienne Annabel Luxford, l’américaine Meredith Kessler et la locale de l’étape Gina Crawford. Également à suivre la femme de Tyler, Nikki qui a repris les chemins de l’entraînement depuis octobre après sa grossesse. Sans oublié l’expérience de l’australienne Rebekah Keat.
Quelques mots de la conférence de presse:
“It’s funny. You look back through your career, and in my case there seems to be one good year, one not so good etc. Last year in my books was a not so good year, so I’m hoping to have a good year.”
“This is one of the greatest venues in the world for a triathlon and I’m sad to see the 70.3 leaving Auckland next year, but Taupo is a great place and they’ll do a good job. I wanted to support the event and be on the start line. Last year was an awesome show, it was great to be part of the action. This year will be the same with good weather and a stellar field – it’ll be a great day out there.”
“It’s great that we ride over to the North shore – that’s where I live – and not a lot of Auckland city people actually go over to the Northern shores… It’s great that we’re taking all the foreigners over there and showing them the beautiful parts of the country. That was one of my favourite parts of last year’s race, was riding back into the city on a beautiful day and looking over the harbour into the city was magical!”
“I’m really excited to be here. I’ve never had the opportunity to race here before. I always love coming to new places doing new races, so it’s exciting! Really looking forward to racing in the city.”
“The half distance races are really crucial for me to race to gain the fitness that I need in March at Ironman New Zealand for instance, so each time I race I can step up a little more and it helps leading into those races. I really love this distance. It doesn’t take too much from you – you can recover, keep going and improve.”
“Meredith is absolutely world class over this distance and you’ve got women who have specifically targeted this race and who are from Auckland – they know the course and have the local support behind them – they’ll be tough to beat.”
“The Kiwis always welcome us back here and we are very grateful for that.”
“I did this race two years ago and loved it. Given it’s the last time it’s running here before it goes to Taupo – which is also amazing – I couldn’t miss it one last time. The Americans missed the memo that this is the place to be! I am here to represent the U S of A, so maybe they’ll get the memo next year! We’ll back for Ironman New Zealand in March again as well.”
“I still try to conquer the Ironman distance… But I love the halves a lot better.”
“Its going to be a fantastic race. It’s a championship event so it’s attracted that caliber of field. I had a great time here last year. The opportunities to race in big cities are getting fewer and fewer. It’s a beautiful city. A lot of people are in great shape and looking to start the year off on the right foot.”
“Sport’s like anything it’s about momentum. You want to start the right way. I think there are a lot of people who are going to be in great shape and hopefully I can get myself up the pointy end and start the season the right way.”
“I love it. That’s why i’m still here. I probably love it now more than ever. I take each year as a new year and you certainly can’t take it for granted – you don’t know when the ride is going to end. I just love the sport, love being in shape and racing the best people. At the end of last season I weighed up my options and I wanted to do another season. My body feels up for it and I’ve trained really well, so i’m looking forward to another 12 months on the tour.”
“As long as you have the passion and the commitment there, it’s easy. I’m 43 in five months time and never thought I’d still be going. It’s quite amazing. But I love to get out there and train, travel to new destinations and it’s great competing with the young guys – you get motivated by it. I’m looking forward to this year!”
“My eldest is going to college this year… It’s awesome, they (Brown’s children) motivate me as well. I try to finish training by three o’clock so that I can pick them up from school and then take them to their sporting events. You’re just a taxi service after three o’clock!”
“As a junior I remember going down to watch Ironman New Zealand when it was based here for 15 years – it was awesome! To have a race in a big city, 20 minutes from your door step is fantastic. I’m sure the crowds will get out there and support us.”
“There’s always a bit of luck with every year. Last year I didn’t have an injuries and the results were pretty consistent. I hope I can keep it going this year.”
“Even last year, these guys were a bit up the road and really took it to me! I think it was a sprint finish between Cam and I, and Crowie really hurt me on the bike. I mean I have the utmost respect for all the guys racing and it’s another great field this year. It’s going to be a battle for whoever wins it.”
“… Having been through it before, you have to survive a few months and expect the results to drop off a little bit (with regards to expecting their second child). Long term it’s the main thing in my life, so it’s a small sacrifice to make.”