It’s hard to say what will be tougher for the pro athletes competing in the Canary Islands on Saturday: the competitive field or the tough course.
Set in spectacular Lanzarote, a volcanic island 125 km off the coast of Africa, IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote takes place this Saturday. The race includes both a stacked pro field and an incredibly tough bike course, which should make this one of the most interesting 70.3 races of the year.
A virtual who’s who of European Ironman and Ironman 70.3 champions are set to line up on Saturday morning. Included in the field are three former IRONMAN Lanzarote champions: Bella Bayliss (2008 and 2009), Bert Jammaer (2008 and 2009) and Michelle Vesterby (2012).
Jammaer will face a couple of men who also have also won IRONMAN titles in the past – Ronnie Schildknecht, the six-time IRONMAN Switzerland champ and the first man to break the eight-hour barrier in North America in winning Florida last year, and three-time IRONMAN winner Stephen Bayliss, 70.3 specialists Allesandro Degasperi and Massimo Cigana are no strangers to the top of the podium, either, and will also be men to watch on Saturday.
Bella Bayliss and Vesterby will also have their work cut out for them – two-time IRONMAN champ Tajsich is fresh off a fourth-place finish in Kona and Eimear Mullan won at IRONMAN UK earlier this year.
As tough as the competition might be, the biggest challenge for the over 700 athletes from 45 different countries could very well be the challenging bike course. Based out of Club La Santa, the race will start with a swim in the lagoon next to the resort. That’s followed by an epic bike ride that will follow parts of the IRONMAN Lanzarote bike course and includes the infamous Tabayesco climb – a challenging 10 km climb that has been a training mainstay for Europe’s top riders for decades. The day ends with a two-loop out-and-back run that will take the athletes along the coastline into the village of La Santa.