Kona Predictions

Kona 1986

Kona 1986

Just like everyone else in the triathlon world, I’m excited for this weekend’s race. And just like everyone else in the triathlon world I have my opinion on who I think will win. So here goes, my picks and my reasons. Some are bold, some are obvious.

Men

Here is the men’s list of starters for Saturday:

Bib     Name
1     Frederik Van Lierde
2     Luke McKenzie
3     Sebastian Kienle
4     Bart Aernouts
5     Tyler Butterfield
6     Timothy O’Donnell
7     Ivan Rana
8     James Cunnama
9     Jan Frodeno
10     Terenzo Bozzone
11     Craig Alexander
12     Pete Jacobs
14     Victor Del Corral
15     Andy Potts
16     Michael Weiss
17     Igor Amorelli
18     Matthew Russell
19     Joe Gambles
20     Tim Van Berkel
21     Daniel Halksworth
22     Chris McDonald
23     David Plese
24     Marino Vanhoenacker
25     Eneko Llanos
26     Maik Twelsiek
27     Elliot Holtham
28     Faris Al-Sultan
29     TJ Tollakson
30     Paul Matthews
31     Andrew Starykowicz
32     Harry Wiltshire
33     Marek Jaskolka
34     Richie Cunningham
35     Christian Kramer
36     Jeremy Jurkiewicz
37     David Dellow
38     Cyril Viennot
40     Filip Ospaly
41     Ben Hoffman
42     Christian Brader
43     Nils Frommhold
44     Justin Daerr

Of that list, here’s who I think can contend for a podium, and why I think they could or couldn’t win:

Bib     Name
1     Frederik Van Lierde   – Last year’s champion. He has no weaknesses, but there’s a lot of pressure to defend. Now that race plans will be based on his movements, winning will be much tougher.
2     Luke McKenzie   – Breakout year last year and lead for much of the race, but has a new baby this year and that adds a new wrinkle to training life and bends focus.
3     Sebastian Kienle – A bit of a monster on the bike last year in perfect weather. Rougher weather could lower his chances, and that boy-band hair adds 12 lame-o minutes to his time.
6     Timothy O’Donnell – 5th last year, new coach this year in Mark Allen. Stopped racing so much and is focused on Kona. Married a 2 time champ this year who eats nails for breakfast. Swam and ran same splits as Frederik last year. A better bike ride puts him in front.
9     Jan Frodeno – Olympic Gold Medalist, strong and fast in all categories. He wondered out loud in an interview that he wasn’t sure why no one had broken 8 hours yet. Everything says he should be a shoe in for a victory at some point. Except it’s his first Kona and he’s big.  Big is tough in this heat. Just ask Macca. He will make it interesting for sure.
11     Craig Alexander – 3 time champ had the fitness last year but flatted and worked too hard to get back. The guy has an insane travel schedule and a family, but knows how to prep and win. Could be an epic day if he’s off the bike in good shape.
12     Pete Jacobs – He’s won before so he has to count as a contender, but can’t stay healthy.
15     Andy Potts – No real weakness, and always in the front early, but is a big guy, so he needs a cushion on the run if it’s hot.
24     Marino Vanhoenacker – Has the talent, but man this guy knows how to blow up at the end of a marathon.
25     Eneko Llanos – Raced a ton last year, and backed off this year to focus on Kona. New baby in the mix. Has Dave Scott as his coach so he’s got good direction. When asked in an interview if he thinks he can win this year, he said he thinks he can do really well. Humble or lack of confidence?
28     Faris Al-Sultan – Has won before and always in the hunt. The ladies dig him so he’ll gain a few minutes on the run just in ladies screaming.
48     Bevan Docherty – Has some serious closing speed on the run, but is fairly new to Kona.
54     Andreas Raelert – Probably should have won in 2010, but hasn’t shown that form since.

Bold Prediction: 1. Timothy O’Donnell 2. Frederik Van Lierde 3. Craig Alexander4.Luke McKenzie  5.Sebastian Kienle

Sentimental Favorite: Crowie

Women:

Here’s the list of starters:

Bib     Name
101     Mirinda Carfrae
102     Rachel Joyce
103     Meredith Kessler
104     Liz Blatchford
105     Caroline Steffen
106     Gina Crawford
107     Yvonne Van Vlerken
108     Linsey Corbin
109     Caitlin Snow
110     Elizabeth Lyles
111     Leanda Cave
112     Daniela Ryf
113     Amber Ferreira
115     Sara Gross
116     Catriona Morrison
117     Mary Beth Ellis
118     Melanie Burke
119     Asa Lundstroem
120     Beth Shutt
121     Michelle Vesterby
122     Kristin Moeller
123     Lucy Gossage
124     Amanda Stevens
125     Jodie Swallow
126     Sofie Goos
127     Natascha Badmann
128     Julia Gajer
129     Lisa Roberts
130     Corinne Abraham
131     Simone Braendli
132     Jackie Arendt
133     Kim Schwabenbauer
134     Bree Wee
136     Heather Wurtele
137     Kelly Williamson
138     Katja Konschak

Of that list, here’s who I think can contend for a podium, and why I think they could or couldn’t win:

Bib     Name

101     Mirinda Carfrae – 2 time champ and record holder. It’s her race to lose.
102     Rachel Joyce – Raced injured last year and picked up Dave Scott as a coach. 5 minutes was all she needed last year.
103     Meredith Kessler – Good swim and bike last year. Needs a run this year.
104     Liz Blatchford –  3rd last year. Here splits were only 2 minutes slower combined than Joyce, but got beat by 6. Transitions need to sharpen up.
105     Caroline Steffen – Has the tools to win. Working with Macca now to who can fix the confidence.
107     Yvonne Van Vlerken – 1:01 swim last year in perfect water. Needs to get out with the group to be a threat to win.
108     Linsey Corbin – Like Yvonne, she has to get out of the water faster. If you’re out after Rinny then it’s over.
111     Leanda Cave – Has won here, and seems to be a little pissed.
112     Daniela Ryf – Crazy fast. Won 2 Ironman titles and both 70.3 Euro and World titles this year. All done in cool weather though. Could put a stamp on this race or could pop in the heat.
125     Jodie Swallow – DNF last year on the run, but swam and biked with the leaders.

Bold Prediction: 1.Rinny 2. Rachel Joyce 3. Caroline Steffen 4. Leanda Cave ....in one of the closest finishes we’ve seen. Won’t be decided until after mile 20.

Can’t wait to find out. Disagree with me? Let me have it. Some good trash talk will do nothing but make the day better!

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