Laura Philipp and Patrick Lange will headline the professional fields at IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau this weekend in Germany, as a strong group of athletes battle it out for bragging rights on home turf.
The race, which has a $30,000 prize purse and two slots to the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships for both the men and women, takes place on Sunday May 21.
Last year, home favourites Philipp and Justus Nieschlag took the wins, with Philipp defending her crown in 2023 after some time off with sickness and a new champion set to be crowned in the men’s race.
Chance to reset for Lange
After a mixed start to the year, which has included a solid fifth at Challenge Gran Canaria but also a DNS at the PTO Tour European Open, Lange will be hoping for a chance to reset on home soil this weekend.
The 36 year old last won a race at IRONMAN Israel in November, but hasn’t made it on to an IRONMAN 70.3 podium since IRONMAN 70.3 Gdynia in 2020 and will fancy his chances against the field in Kraichgau on Sunday.
Fellow countrymen Jan Stratmann and Maurice Clavel will likely pose the biggest threats to Lange, but should the two-time IRONMAN World Champion come off the bike within striking distance of the front, the race should be his.
Swiss Andrea Salvisberg is the best of the rest, with the former short course athlete currently PTO World #78, and will likely see the competition in Kraichgau as a great place to earn some valuable points and work his way up the rankings.
Philipp goes for back-to-back crowns
In the women’s race, despite having spent some time out recovering from an illness, last year’s champion Philipp looks to be the best athlete in the field, but will be pushed hard by some strong women if she’s not in top form.
Fellow countrywoman Daniela Bleymehl, second here last year, will be looking to get back on the podium, and after a disappointing DNF at the PTO European Open, will be viewing a race on home soil as a great opportunity to kickstart 2023.
Ellie Salthouse of Australia is another who will be hoping to put a disappointing PTO European Open behind her in Kraichgau, after finishing 19th in Ibiza. The Aussie continues her European tour in the southwest of Germany and after landing IRONMAN 70.3 Tasmania at the start of the year, knows what it takes to win over this distance.
Britain’s Nikki Bartlett is another entrant with a 70.3 win under her belt in 2023, after defending her IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella crown a fortnight ago. For Bartlett, Kraichgau offers an opportunity to solidify her place in the PTO Top 30 and put her in contention for a slot at one of the next PTO Open events.
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