Another Reed and Raelert showdown in Bahrain?

Tim Reed and Andreas Raelert appear to be on track for another exciting race at Ironman 70.3 Bahrain, but they'll have some company at the front of the race.

| December 9, 2016 | NEWS

Michael Raelert will ride his Cube prototype again at Saturday\'s Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship.

Michael Raelert will ride his Cube prototype again at Saturday's Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship.

Photo >AsiaTri.com/ Vinnie Santana

Heading into tomorrow's Ironman 70.3 Bahrain, the Ironman Middle East Championship, it looks like we could see another close duel between a pair of Ironman 70.3 world champions as Michael Raelert and Tim Reed get ready to go at it again after their close race at Ironman 70.3 Thailand two weeks ago. The two are likely in for some company, though.

"That one was a really tough thing," Raelert says after his tough battle with reigning Ironman 70.3 world champion Tim Reed from Australia. "Timmy and I didn’t give up at any point."

Raelert ended up 15-seconds behind Reed at the line and would love to get ahead of the Australian in Bahrain. "Thailand made me mentally stronger," says the 36-year old.

"I already experienced great moments in Bahrain," says Raelert, looking back at his win two years ago at the 2014 Challenge Bahrain, when he finished in 3:36:04, one of the best times ever over the half distance. "My memories of this competition are still fresh, but my job will not be easy on Saturday."

The start list is led by reigning world champion Tim Reed, but there are lots of other competitors to watch for on the weekend: Ben Hofmann heads into the race after a great year that includes a win at Ironman South Africa and a fourth in Kona. Two fast South Africans Matt Trautmann and James Cunnama, along with Patrik Nilsson from Sweden, Tyler Butterfield (Bermuda), Bertrand Billard from France, Australia’s Sam Appleton and Steffen Justus (Germany) are a few more of the men to watch on the weekend.

"I think that the field will offer some surprises, too," says Raelert. "It is definitely obvious that some very strong swimmers are ready to go out very fast."