Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship preview

With Kristian Blummenfelt and Holly Lawrence back to defend their titles, Terenzo Bozzone looking for a third win in three weeks and many more solid podium contenders, this weekend's Ironman 703 Middle East Championship in Bahrain should be fun to watch.

| December 6, 2018 | NEWS

After recovering from a broken ankle at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, Holly Lawrence returns to racing this weekend to try and defend her Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship title.

After recovering from a broken ankle at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, Holly Lawrence returns to racing this weekend to try and defend her Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship title.

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A year ago Holly Lawrence was bouncing back from a disappointing Ironman 70.3 World Championship performance. This year she is coming back from a broken ankle (sustained at Ironman 703 Oceanside earlier this year). Can the 2016 Ironman 70.3 world champ reach the top of the podium again?

"I had so much fun last year in Bahrain on and off the course that I couldn't think of a better race for my comeback post injury," she said in a press release from her Bahrain Endurance 13 team."I am just so grateful to be back healthy and make it to the start line. It's been a tough year and I'm so glad to put it behind me. I'm not quite back to full fitness yet, but it'll be a great test to see where I am at."

Lawrence's fiercest competition is likely to come from countrywoman Sarah Lewis, who finished ahead of Lawrence last February in Dubai. Add in the likes of Aussie Ellie Salthouse and Amelia Rose Watkinson and you know that Lawrence will have to earn the top step on the podium.

 

The 2017 Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship men\'s podium: From left to right: Terenzo Bozzone, Kristian Blummenfelt and Sven Riederer.

The 2017 Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship men's podium: From left to right: Terenzo Bozzone, Kristian Blummenfelt and Sven Riederer.

Photo >Getty Images for Ironman

Blummenfelt and Bozzone back for another round

A year ago Norway's Kristian Blummenfelt scorched through the day's fastest run to get past Terenzo Bozzone, not only keeping the Kiwi from taking the day on behalf of his Bahrain Endurance 13 team, but ensuring that Javier Gomez wouldn't come away with the million-dollar bonus he was in line for if he'd been able to take the title after winning in Dubai and the 70.3 world championship. (Gomez would finish fourth.) Blummenfetlt, who remains a major player on the WTS circuit, is back for another go at a longer distance.

Bozzone is on another of his amazing race runs - earlier this year he won Ironman New Zealand and followed that up with two consecutive wins at 70.3 races over the following two weekends. Returning to racing after a terrible car accident almost ruined his career, Bozzone came back with a big win at Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney, took Ironman Western Australia for the third straight year, and has now made the trip to Bahrain to look for a third straight win. Others to watch in the field include South Africa's Matt Trautman, Canadian Brent McMahon and Germany's Andreas Raelert, who is back racing after a fracture in his thigh sidelined him for much of the year.