This Sunday will see more than 3,500 athletes take part in the IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events in Cairns in the 11th edition of the event.
The Tropical North Queensland climate has been a favourite for athletes which will see them going full gas over the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run hunting for the 2022 Asia-Pacific Championship title.
In the women’s race it will be a showdown between the two former champions Kylie Simpson (2021) and Sarah Crowley (2017) who will go head-to-head at this Sunday’s Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns.
Crowley is looking forward to heading back to IRONMAN Cairns for the first time since 2020.
“I'm really looking forward to it, I haven't been able to race in Cairns for a couple of years now,” she said. “It's probably one of my favourite races, it was my first IRONMAN 70.3 win and my first IRONMAN race I've ever done so there's a little bit of nostalgia for me. I've really leveraged off the race in Port Macquarie and we really knuckled down for four weeks hard after that race again to build up to another level for this race, since it is a regional championship.
“I do perform better in the heat, I adapt really quickly to warm weather and I get blocked really easily in cold weather so I'll always be up for a warm race. It kind of mimics a few of the bigger races around the world as well, obviously the World Championships is in the warm so not only is it something I enjoy it's actually something that helps with the training protocols toward Kona,” said Crowley. “I guess as well it's so stunning and beautiful and so many things to do. I think a lot of people bring family, I've got family coming, I think it's a good race for that because family can hang around and enjoy Tropical North Queensland and then I get to race on the beautiful Captain Cook Highway.”
In total, there will be 11 professional women putting it all on the line to be first down the final IRONMAN finishing shoot.
Defending champion Max Neumann will be back in action on Sunday as he prepares to defend his IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship title and go three-for-three following his outstanding wins in both 2021 and 2020. It will be no easy task for Neumann with Tim Van Berkel hoping to improve on his runner up finishes in both 2021 and 2020. Van Berkel will be one to watch following some stellar form just a few weeks ago where he took the win at IRONMAN Australia.
Another IRONMAN champion, Matt Burton who won his home IRONMAN in Busselton late last year will be looking forwards to the race in Cairns and will no doubt be unleashing the serious bike power that he is so well known for.
Former IRONMAN World Champion Pete Jacobs will be the dark horse at IRONMAN Cairns and is looking to get back on top after what has been a great preparation for the Noosa based professional. He is no stranger to IRONMAN Cairns and is an athlete to watch if past performances are anything to go by.
Many eyes will be following Australian Sam Appleton on Sunday who is stepping up from the IRONMAN 70.3 distance where he has established himself as one of the world’s best in recent years. Appleton’s fire power over middle distance racing is something that saw him claim victory at this year's IRONMAN 70.3 Gelong. If he is able to maintain his IRONMAN 70.3 form over the IRONMAN distance, he will be very dangerous on Sunday and a real chance to take his maiden IRONMAN win after a long list of IRONMAN 70.3 race wins already under his belt.
For Age Groupers, Sunday’s race will be the final chance to qualify for this year’s 2022 IRONMAN World Championships in Kona and 70.3 World Championships in Utah.
For more information on the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns visit: https://www.ironman.com/im-cairnsCAIRNS AIRPORT IRONMAN ASIA-PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIP CAIRNS – MEN’S PROFESSIONAL RACE
1 Max Neumann
2 Braden Currie
3 Tim Van Berkel
4 Matt Burton
5 Pete Jacobs
6 Sam Appleton
8 Fraser Walsh
9 Ben Phillips
10 Jason Christie
11 Levi Hauwert
12 Brodie Gardner
14 Damien Mcmahon
15 Dean Cane
16 Blake Kappler
17 Henrik Goesch
31 – Kyle Simpson
32 – Sarah Crowley
33 – Chloe Lane
34 – Kristin Liepold
35 – Penny Slater
36 – Radka Kahlefeldt
38 – Sarah Thomas
39 – Kate Bevilaqua
40 – Shannon Sutton
41 – Laura Brown
42 – Emily Donker