We look at the men’s pro field ahead of the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship  this weekend.

Craig 'Crowie' Alexander - IronmanThe Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship takes place this weekend at Ironman Melbourne in South East Australia. The event joins the European Championship at Ironman Frankfurt and the US Championship at Ironman Mont-Tremblant as one of the three most important races on the M-dot calendar outside Kona.

With the chance to earn crucial points and validate for the World Championship in Hawaii in October, the professional field looks even stronger than the event’s inaugural race last year, with defending champions Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander and Caronline ‘Xena’ Steffen returning to spearhead a top line-up or Ironman stars.

In the men’s event, Alexander will face a host of big names looking to usurp his crown. Here are some of the contenders.

Eneko Llanos

Eneko Llanos of Spain was recently second in Abu Dhabi where he showed fantastic form in the Arabian heat and was bested only by Frederik Van Lierde on the day. He’s a strong, tough and fast athlete when he’s on song, so Crowie will need to keep his guard up.

Marino Vanhoenacker

Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker led the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii last October before blowing up spectacularly and leaving the event by way of the medical tent. He’s had the best part of five months to dwell on that race and is sure to be out for blood in Melbourne. If he’s on form – and we suspect he will be – he could very possibly race away with the title and the Greg Welch Trophy.

Cam Brown

10-time winner of Ironman New Zealand, Kiwi Cameron Brown lives for races at this time of year – which he proved in 2012 by matching Crowie step for step for the first 22 miles of the marathon before the Australian triple world champ made his escape. Perhaps a disappointing show at Ironman New Zealand last month where the perennial winner was relegated to third, Brown could be ready to rock this weekend in Melbourne.

Other big names to challenge for the crown are:

Jordan Rapp (USA) – 2012 Ironman Texas and Ironman US Champion
Christian Kemp (AUS) – current Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Champion
Tyler Butterfield (BER) – third with a great performance in Abu Dhabi
Tom Lowe (GBR) – Britain’s fastest Ironman
Tim Berkel (AUS) – Second in Ironman Australia 2012

Pro Men – Full Field*

Craig Alexander (Australia)
Cameron Brown (New Zealand)
Marino Vanhoenacker (Belgium)
Eneko Llanos (Spain)
Jordan Rapp (USA)
Luke Bell (Australia)
Tim Berkel (Australia)
Jan Raphael (Germany)
Clayton Fettell (Australia)
Mitchell Anderson (Australia)
Simon Billeau (France)
Per Bittner (Germany)
Dan Brown (Philippines)
Matt Burton (Australia)
Tyler Butterfield (Bermuda)
Ben Cotter (Canada)
Balazs Csoke (United States)
Scott DeFilippis (United States)
Victor Del Corral (Spain)
Gregory Farrell (Australia)
Joe Gambles (Australia)
Leon Griffin (Australia)
Yeunsik Ham (Republic of Korea)
Jarmo Hast (Finland)
Todd Israel (Australia)
Jimmy Johnsen (Denmark)
Jeremy Jurkiewicz (France)
Christian Kemp (Australia)
Joseph Lampe (Australia)
Christopher Legh (Australia)
Thomas Lowe (United Kingdom)
Brian McLeod (Australia)
Timothy Molesworth (Australia)
Casey Munro (Australia)
Tim Reed (Australia)
Josh Rix (Australia)
Mike Schifferle (Switzerland)
Sylvain Sudrie (France)
Kevin Taddonio (United States)
Craig Twigg (United Kingdom)
Petr Vabrousek (Czech Republic)
David Vazquez (Spain)
Matty White (Australia)
Jonathon Woods (Australia)

*Australia’s David Dellow has announced he will not be racing due to injury.

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