The 2010 Ironman season kicks off with Ironman Malaysia in Langkawi
Published Wednesday, February 10, 2010
With both defending champions (Luke McKenzie and Belinda Granger, both of Australia) back to defend their titles in Langkawi later this month, race day promises both steamy conditions and super-competitive racing.The man who, on paper, is most likely to provide McKenzie the biggest challenge is Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker, the four-time Ironman Austria champion who added the Ironman South Africa title to his impressive resume (that also includes an Ironman Florida title) last year. Vanhoenacker has three Ironman races on his schedule – he won two out of three he started in 2009.
McKenzie (left) is no stranger to multiple-Ironman wins either. After winning in Langkawi last year, McKenzie went on to defend his Ironman Japan title and followed that with a close second place finish at Ford Ironman Louisville in August and rounded out his Ironman season with a seventh in Florida.
Granger’s competition is likely to come from former Ironman champions Edith Niderfriniger (Italy) and fellow Aussie Rebecca Preston. Niederfriniger has won in both Austria and France to go along with a raft of runner-up Ironman finishes. Preston is best remembered for winning Ironman Switzerland and Austria two weeks apart in 2006. A year later she defended her title in Austria and also has a win at Ironman UK on her resume.
You can see the rest of the impressive pro field listed at the bottom of this post.
Set in beautiful Langkawi, Ironman Malaysia features a beautiful course that is renowned as one of the most challenging on the Ironman circuit because of the extremely hot conditions. Temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s (Celsius) – high 90s to 100s in Fahrenheit –are the norm.
The day begins with a two-loop swim in Kuah Bay next to a giant eagle statue that dominates the Jetty Point port area. The three-loop bike course features a few steep hills, but despite that is typically quite fast. It is the four-loop run course that makes the race in Langkawi so tough. The terrain isn't that challenging - it's the heat that the athletes face as they go through the marathon that makes things difficult. The beautiful finish line at the Jetty Point area provides welcome relief at the end of a tough day of racing.
We’ll have live coverage of the race in Langkawi right here on Ironman.com including live timing data, text updates and pictures.
Men’s pro registrants:
Thompson, Richard AUS PRO-M Guillaume, Romain FRA PRO-M Mckenzie, Luke AUS PRO-M Kuwabara, Hirotsugu JPN PRO-M Mlinar, Markus AUT PRO-M Venhorst, Andreas DEU PRO-M Lampret, Freddy ZAF PRO-M Mandap, Michael angelo PHL PRO-M Vanhoenacker, Marino BEL PRO-M Brown, Dan AUS PRO-M Nemcik, Marek SVK PRO-M Macasieb, Arland USA PRO-M Rehula, Jan CZE PRO-M Vabrousek, Petr CZE PRO-M Vrabel, Jozef SVK PRO-M Rhodes, Bryan NZL PRO-M Granger, Justin AUS PRO-M Wiegand, Kris DEU PRO-M
Women’s pro registrants:
Waitz, Christine DEU PRO-F Monticeli, Ariane BRA PRO-F Wong, Jocelyn USA PRO-F Vancauwenberghe, Inge BEL PRO-F Preston, Rebecca AUS PRO-F Biscay, Hillary USA PRO-F Harrison, Belinda AUS PRO-F Balding, Amanda AUS PRO-F Alldritt, Miranda CAN PRO-F Shigaki, Megumi JPN PRO-F Cisarovska, Ladislava CZE PRO-F Niederfriniger, Edith ITA PRO-F Granger, Belinda AUS PRO-F
Belinda Granger wins the 2009 Ironman Malaysia race