All eyes will be on Ironman world champion Patrick Lange as he takes on a tough field that includes his countryman Andreas Böcherer at this weekend's Challenge Gran Canaria.
April 19, 2018 | NEWS|
After the big showdown between Canadian Lionel Sanders and Jan Frodeno in California, two more Ironman World Championship contenders are testing their form in Gran Canaria. German triathlon fans will be keeping tabs on the race between reigning Ironman world champion Patrick Lange and Andreas Böcherer, fifth in Kona in 2016, who is back after an injury sidelined him from Kona last year.
Lange travels to the race from a training camp on Lanzarote. Böcherer tested his legs last weekend in a sprint-distance race at the Walliseller Triathlon, finishing a creditable eighth against a strong group of short-course specialists. Böcherer and Lange will compete against each other this weekend, then will meet again in a few weeks at non-drafting short course Busch Hutter Triathlon.
There's no guarantee that one of the two Germans will take the title won by Alistair Brownlee last year. The field includes Challenge Roth winner Bart Aernouts (BEL), Sven Riederer (SUI), Patrik Nilsson, along with Belgium's Michael van Cleven and Pieter Heemeryck..
While the women's start list includes names like Daniela Ryf and Lucy Charles, Ryf has announced she'll start her race season at Ironman 70.3 Rapperswil, while Charles has just returned home after winning the Ironman African Championship last weekend. That means the women's race could come down to a duel between Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) and strong-swimming Celine Schärer (SUI), who fractured her fibula last fall and is returning to racing.