Ironman champion Caroline Steffen joins the Ironman 70.3 Auckland pro line up.
Two-time world champion Caroline Steffen has announced she will start in next month’s Ironman 70.3 Auckland triathlon.
The 34-year-old Swiss star has amassed a remarkable record over the last three years with nine major international victories including two world championships along with twice runner-up in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
She will start her 2013 racing programme with the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Auckland race which doubles as the Asia Pacific Championship, a title she won two years ago.
Steffen joins 2011 Ironman 70.3 world champion Melissa Hauschildt (nee Rollinson) who confirmed her entry last week in an illustrious field for the race on Sunday 20 January.
The race is based at the Viaduct Events Centre comprising a 1.9km swim in the Viaduct Harbour, a 90km bike including traverse of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and two-lap 21km run along the Auckland waterfront.
Steffen said that she wants to regain the Asia Pacific Ironman 70.3 title that she lost to Hauschildt last year.
Ironman 70.3 Auckland race manager Janette Blyth said they were delighted with Steffen’s inclusion.
“We have now attracted two of the world’s best females who stormed on to the triathlon scene in the last two to three years,” Blyth said.
“They have both won world championships and have remarkable records in the sport. We have more top liners who are interested to race on what will be a unique and exciting course that will provide an exciting spectacle and show off Auckland to a worldwide audience.”
Steffen said she was excited to begin her campaign in the new Auckland race.
“I’ve come off a 2012 year that was very good for me. I have had five weeks off and I’m now back into training,” Steffen said. “My 2011 year was not so good but it was an important one for me in that I learned a lot. I put too much pressure on myself.
“The Auckland race is more than just a build-up for the big Ironman races next year. It is the Asia Pacific Championship for Ironman 70.3 so that is important and it also carries important qualifying points as well.
“I have won this title before and would like to win it again.”
Steffen said she is excited about racing a sight-unseen course over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
“I have talked to a New Zealander at my pool who has told me about the course. It is enjoyable to race on a course where no-one can race on it (the Auckland Harbour Bridge). That was the case in Melbourne as well this year. I like that.
“I am not one who goes to the course a week before and spends time on the race course. I usually know the course or like Auckland no-one has raced on parts of it before. That makes it exciting.”
Steffen, a former Swiss national swimmer and professional cyclist, burst on to the triathlon scene when she won the ITU World Long Distance title in 2010 and finished runner-up at the Ironman World Championships in the same year, along with three Ironman 70l3 victories.
She made her Ironman breakthrough, winning the Ironman Europe title in Germany in 2011, and this year she claimed the inaugural Ironman Asia Pacific Ironman title at Melbourne and was runner-up for a second time at Hawaii.
In both of her Hawaii podiums, Steffen led for virtually all of both races, run down in the final 3kms by Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae in 2010 and this year by Britain’s Leanda Cave.
Steffen has now won nine times over the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 distance around the globe in the last three years along with two runner-up performances at the Ironman World Championships.
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