Five Bahrain Victorious 13 warriors are set to do battle in Kona, Hawaii at the Ironman World Championship this week.
Reigning champions Daniela Ryf and Kristian Blummenfelt are atop the Professional Triathletes Organisation world rankings, and are the favourites to win according to the Kona Ratings Report released by respected triathlon statistician Thorsten Radde.
Ryf has already equalled Mark Allen’s record of five Ironman world titles, the latest of which she won in St. George this May. But the Swiss star will be eager to prove herself once again on the iconic Hawaii course. With wins throughout the summer at Ironman Switzerland and the Collins Cup, Ryf looks in peak form – and she knows very well how to win here.
Blummenfelt has been very vocal about his intention to win in Kona. While this is his first outing in Hawaii he already has numerous full distance palmares, from his maiden Ironman in Cozumel last year to the world championship in St. George and his blistering fast performance at the Pho3nix Sub7 Project, Powered by Zwift in June. While racing three full distance triathlons at full tilt in one calendar year is a big ask, the Norwegian has shown he is well able to answer any challenge.
Joe Skipper is fresh off a big win at Ironman Wales, overhauling a 20-minute deficit on the bike due to mechanical issues to finish eight minutes ahead of the field with a speedy marathon. The Brit will lean on this bike and run strength to improve on his sixth place finish from Kona 2019 – and he is a much better athlete now, as his sub-7 hour full distance finish at the Pho3nix Sub7 Project showed.
David Plese secured his spot on the pier at Ironman Mont Tremblant in August. The Slovenian owns the fifth-fastest bike split and truly loves racing Kona; this is his seventh start at the world championship.
Lauren Parker rounds off the Bahrain Victorious 13 contingent. While this is not her first time on the Big Island having last raced it as a 25-year old abled age grouper, this is her first race back on the Big Island since making the transition to paratriathlon.
Also seeing action on the short-course side of triathlon this weekend, Cassandre Beaugrand and Georgia Taylor-Brown are heading to Italy for the World Triathlon Championship Series race in Cagliari. With three races left in the series, Taylor-Brown seeks to hold onto the top rank and win her second world title. Beaugrand is currently in fourth, but is also well within striking distance of the series podium.