Michael Raelert wants to fight for the title in Las Vegas
Photo Credit: Daniel Kraft
Las Vegas. On Saturday, the two-time World Champion and reigning European Champion Michael Raelert wants to fight for the victory at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada. "This race is one of the great highlights of my season - next to the Ironman Hawaii on October 13th", the 32-year old from Rostock says. "My goal for the Worlds is very clear: I want to pick up where I left off in 2010." In 2010 Michael Raelert became the first - and so far only - athlete in the history of Ironman 70.3, who was able to defend his world title. In 2011 he missed the World Championships because of an injury, and now he is returning to the U.S. as one of the top favorites for the victory.
Since Michael Raelert won his two consecutive world titles in 2009 and 2010 there have been some changes around the World Championships in Ironman 70.3. The World Championships moved over from Clearwater to Lake Las Vegas. The race is now located in Henderson near to the famous Las Vegas Strip and offers a challenging course profile in combination with tough climatic conditions. "Not only the climate in Las Vegas is extreme", Michael Raelert says, "but also the starting field." On Saturday there will be dozens of top athletes, who are on the hunt for the title on a demanding course.
Besides the defending champion and reigning winner of the Ironman Hawaii, Craig Alexander (Australia), there are - especially from the U.S. - a number of outstanding athletes at the starting line including Matty Reed, Greg Bennett and Tim O'Donnell. World class swimmer Andy Potts (USA) could be the one, who will make the race fast directly after the start - before strong cyclists like Faris Al-Sultan, Sebastian Kienle (both from Germany), Terenzo Bozzone (New Zealand) or Josh Amberger (Australia) could seek their fortune in an attack on the bike. Finally there are top class runners in the race like Filip Ospaly from Czech Republic or Jesse Thomas (USA). Double World Champion Michael Raelert starts into the race with bib number 2 and he would like to try to win his third world title.
After winning the Ironman 70.3 European Championship in Wiesbaden with a new course record, Michael Raelert has decided to prepare in Rostock for Las Vegas. "I was in very good in Wiesbaden", the co-favorite says, "I built my training upon this basis. I felt it important to train in my familiar surroundings and focus on this World Championships." Some days before the race Michael Raelert flew to Las Vegas to get used to the hot climate of more than 40 degrees Celsius.
"I am fit and really looking forward to the race", he says. That his luggage arrived only days after his flight, did not make him nervous.