Can Barbara Riveros take a fifth straight Pucon 70.3 title?

Chile's Barbara Riveros, a three-time Olympian, returns to Ironman 70.3 Pucon this weekend in the hunt for a fifth straight title.

| January 9, 2019 | NEWS

Archive photo: Barbara Riveros is all smiles at Ironman 70.3 Berlin.

Archive photo: Barbara Riveros is all smiles at Ironman 70.3 Berlin.

Photo >Nis Sienknecht / spomedis

A little over a month after her impressive runner-up full-distance debut at Ironman Western Australia, Barbara Riveros will return to Ironman 70.3 Pucon in hopes of attaining a fifth-straight title in her home country. Riveros won't have an easy time of it, though, as she faces a tough field that includes last year's Ironman Wisconsin champion, Linsey Corbin, and fellow-American Alicia Kaye, to name just a few of the contenders.

Lionel Sanders, who won the race in 2017 and 2018, is not in the field, which leaves Chile's Felipe Baraza, third last year, as the only returning podium finisher, but he'll face a tough men's field that includes Americans Andy Potts and Jarrod Shoemaker, Canadian Taylor Reid and Brazil's Santiago Ascenco.

The Ironman debut for Riveros came as a bit of a surprise even to her. Early in 2018 her focus was on the South American Games, where she represented Chile and successfully defended the title she'd won in 2010 and 2014. From there it was off to Denmark for the ITU Long Distance World Championships, where she finished second to home-country hero Helle Frederiksen.

After that she returned to the ITU circuit, competing in a variety of world cup events and the Grand Final, finishing up that part of her season with world cup races in Salinas, Ecuador and Tongyeong, Korea.

About a month out from the Ironman in Busselton, Riveros' current coach, Brett Sutton, suggested she give the full-distance a shot, where she finished second to another Sutton-coached athlete, Caroline Steffen.

All of which likely bodes well for the Chilean star as she heads to the spectacular southern part of Chile for Ironman 70.3 Pucon.