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    Appleton, Steffen favoured at Cairns - IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns

    IRONMAN.comThe IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns features a rising young gun taking on the establishment while an international star hopes to shine.

    McKenzie, Blatchford Seek Inspiration at IRONMAN Cairns

    IRONMAN.comIt’s back to the future for two champions trying retrace their steps towards Kona.
    70.3: We are just under an hour from race start in the Flight Centre Active Travel IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns.
    The men’s race will be a battle of youth and experience as Aussie Sam Appleton takes on five time world champion Craig Alexander, his coach Tim Reed and Tim Berkel.
    For an insight into the race listen to what Sam had to say pre-race about his form, chances of victory and the twitter banter that’s surrounded the race.
    The women’s race will be a battle between Australia’s Annabel Luxford and Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen. They spent most of the bike leg together at IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championships in March before Steffen pulled away during the run leg.
    70.3: The Flight Centre Active Travel IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns men's race is underway.
    70.3: The Flight Centre Active Travel IRONMAN 70.3 Championship women's race is underway.

    70.3: Men's swim start

    70.3: At every IRONMAN there are some awe inspiring stories, none more so than Grant Scooter Patterson, attempting his first IRONMAN 70.3

    70.3: Age groupers hitting the water.

    70.3: Lead men are out of the water in 25 minutes. Eric Watson leads from Sam Appleton, Clayton Fettel, Craig Alexander, Tim Reed and Tim Van Berkel. The top ten were within a minute of each other.
    70.3: In a carbon copy of IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship Annabel Luxford leads Caroline Steffen out of the water.
    IM: We are just under 10 minutes from race start in the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns.
    The top end of the men’s field is absolute quality featuring; aruguably the best swimmer in IRONMAN racing New Zealand’s Dylan McNeice, one of the best cyclists in 2013 champion Aussie Luke McKenzie, one of the best runners the sport has ever seen New Zealand’s Cameron Brown, and one of the sports best across all three disciplines South Africa’s James Cunnama.
    In the women’s race two star Kiwi’s and an American will be trying to prevent Australia’s Liz Blatchford from recording a trio of victories here in Cairns. Gina Crawford and IRONMAN Australia Champion Michelle Bremmer, will be joined by the newly engaged Beth Gerdes.
    Gerdes now fiancée Luke McKenzie proposed on Thursday, if they can both grab the win it will mean Cairns becomes the logical location for their wedding.
    We chatted to Gerdes before today’s race and she had some great insights into how the race would pan out;

    70.3: Annabel Luxford leads early in the bike from Caroline Steffen.

    70.3: Steffen has the head down and is chasing hard.

    70.3 Sam Appleton is in the thick of it early in the bike. He's throwing down with coach Tim Reed, could be an interesting next few weeks of training if he can get the win!

    IM: IRONMAN athletes preparing to start a long day, first up...the swim.

    70.3: In a great time of 41.23 Grant Scooter Patterson is out of the water.
    IM: Men's race is underway.
    IM: Women are in the water.
    1 Eric WATSON  (#1025) 0:22:50
    2 Clayton FETTELL  (#1005) 0:22:53 +00:03
    3 Sam APPLETON  (#1003) 0:22:57 +00:06
    4 Craig ALEXANDER  (#1001) 0:23:08 +00:17
    5 John POLSON  (#1008) 0:23:09 +00:18
    1 Annabel LUXFORD  (#1032) 0:25:29
    2 Caroline STEFFEN  (#1031) 0:25:44 +00:14
    3 Courtney GILFILLAN  (#1034) 0:26:22 +00:52
    4 Katey GIBB  (#1041) 0:27:23 +01:54
    5 Polly MOSELY  (#1036) 0:27:26 +01:56
    70.3: Sam Appleton is now a minute up the road with Craig Alexander and Tim Reed together, a group of five including Clayton Fettell and Tim Berkel are another minute back.
    70.3: Luxford is extending her lead over Steffen, which now sits at 45 seconds.Katey Gibb is third 1.30 back.
    IM: Early in the swim Liz Blatchford already has a 15 sec lead over Gina Crawford, with a pack five athletes a further 50 secs behind.
    IM: As expected Dylan McNeice is out front of the swim with Luke McKenzie close behind. Futher back is a group including James Cunnama and Cameron Brown.
    70.3: Our spotter Amanda Balding has reported that the men are working hard into a block headwind.
    IM: Damien Vaughan, is now in the water. He's notching up his 13 IRONMAN, while his Dad Peter is notching up number 92.

    Like Father Like Son

    IRONMAN.comThe annual IRONMAN Cairns and IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns have many stories of endeavour. Steve Landells talks to one of them.

    IM: Dylan McNeice leads the swim at 1.5km by 50secs to McKenzie, with Cunnama and SImon Cochrane 1.59 back. Cameron Brown is 2.05 back.

    IM: Liz Blatchford is stamping her authority on this race at 1.9km she leads by 1.17 to Gina Crawford.

    70.3: Sam Appleton is 56 secs up on coach Tim Reed and Craig Alexander as they work back into town into a massive headwind.

    70.3: Late in the bike leg Caroline Steffen is just 16 seconds behind Annabel Luxford, with Katey Gibb 3.46 back.

    IM: Dylan McNeice is leading out of the water, with Luke McKenzie second.
    IM: Liz Blatchford out of the water with a big lead. We're having trouble with our timing, stay tuned for how big!

    IM: Luke McKenzie second out of the water 2.18 back on McNeice, In the second half of that swim McNeice extending his lead by over a minute.

    IM: After starting 1 minute behind the men Liz Blatchford beat at least three out of the water. Her lead over Gina Crawford is over 3 minutes.

    IM: 2013 Champion Luke McKenzie will be looking to gain the lead and enter the run with a buffer, and hold off then faster runners in the field.

    1 Dylan MCNEICE  (#4) 0:46:56
    2 Luke MCKENZIE  (#2) 0:49:15 +02:18
    3 Simon COCHRANE  (#13) 0:50:57 +04:00
    4 James CUNNAMA  (#3) 0:51:08 +04:11
    5 Luke WHITMORE  (#8) 0:51:25 +04:28
    6 Cameron BROWN  (#1) 0:51:35 +04:38
    7 Luke MARTIN  (#10) 0:54:23 +07:26
    8 Simon BILLEAU  (#12) 0:54:23 +07:26
    IM: Early in the bike Blatchford is building on a strong lead, we chatted to her before the race, here's what hse had to say about her chances of three-peating.

    Liz Blatchford Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns Inside Scoop

    SoundCloudLiz Blatchford Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns Inside Scoop

    IM: Early in the bike and Cunnama and Brown are in 3rd and 4th, chasing McKenzie in 2nd and McNeice still leading.

    IM: We've just heard Liz Blatchford is serving 4 minute penalty.

    IM: McKenzie has caught McNeice within the first 25km of the bike, and the pair hold a 4 min lead over Cunnama and Brown.

    70.3: The young apprentice Appleton leads off the bike.
    70.3: Crowie and Tim Reed 2.30 behind the young gun Appleton.

    IM: Blatchford has served her penalty, but gone is the lead she built up in the swim. She's 5-10 seconds ahead of Crawford with Bremer 20 seconds back.

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