Championship season is heating up with the Bahrain Endurance Team heading into the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. The races will be held over two days, with female athletes racing on Saturday and male athletes on Sunday.

With only women racing on Saturday, there will be clear water and road ahead for the leading athletes, allowing a true test of who is the fastest. Swiss star Ryf in full health bidding to take the title back makes this race one to watch. “It will be a fast race with some very fast girls racing. So I know I will have to show my very best to have a chance for the win,” says the two-time 70.3 world champion, who has been training at altitude in Switzerland. “Training has been going well and I hope to be able to show what I prepared in the last few months. I see the race as a great challenge and it would mean a lot to show a good performance.”

Holly Lawrence is on deck to defend the crown she won last year on the Sunshine Coast. While the British athlete remains undefeated over the 70.3 distance since her championship win, she admits her preparation has not been optimal. “After a little setback with a foot issue I haven’t had the ideal prep being sidelined from running for a few weeks. But I’m pleased to be healthy and can’t wait to be on the start line on Saturday battling it out with the best!”

Gomez is back on the world championship starting line to retake the title after missing last year’s edition recovering from a broken elbow that had also taken him out of contention for the Rio Olympics. “I am very excited to race the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, which is my main goal of the year,” says the Spaniard. “I hope the hard training will be reflected on race day.”

Toeing the start line alongside Gomez is Brent McMahon, who has sealed qualification for Kona and is now focused on doing well over the shorter distance. “I’ve recovered from my Lake Placid effort and have put some good work in to prep for the 70.3 World Champs,” he says. “It’s been good to get up on the toes after focusing on two Ironmans through May, June, and July.”

Mikel Calahorra rounds out the Bahrain Endurance presence in Chattanooga this weekend.

Meanwhile, Ben Hoffman is at Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz for a hit-out in the lead-up to Kona. He took the third spot on the podium there last year and is looking to improve on that finish. He says, “Excited to take a little breather from the Ironman training grind. Training has been going well, and I am looking forward to racing hard against a strong field of athletes on a scenic course. I know the area well after racing there last year, and it will be a good test ahead of my final Kona preparations.”