Frodeno and Sanders showdown

This Saturday two of the favorites for the Ironman World Championship will face off at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside.

| April 4, 2018 | PERSONALITY

Lionel Sanders (front) and Jan Frodeno (in background) are set to compete at Saturday\'s Ironman 70.3 Oceanside event.

Lionel Sanders (front) and Jan Frodeno (in background) are set to compete at Saturday's Ironman 70.3 Oceanside event.

Photo >Felix RĂ¼diger / Plan A GmbH

One got married a few months ago, is desperate to take the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and offers up regular Youtube videos that underline his Rocky Balboa-like training regimen, demonstrating just how motivated he is as he pursues his goals and how much progress he's made along the way.

The other is already a two-time Kona champion and, since the beginning of February, a busy father of two who works with a science-savvy coach and, while he rarely gives insights into his training routine, is no-doubt extremely motivated after his disappointing race in Kona last year.

While Lionel Sanders and Jan Frodeno might choose different approaches, they are united with one big goal: this fall they will be gearing up for a big day on the Big Island. The pair will get their first real gauge on their current fitness this weekend at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside. It is a race that promises to provide some exciting insights in all three disciplines.

A tough field races in the shadows of the favorites

It all starts with the swim. As one of the fastest middle- and long-distance racers in the world one would expect that Frodeno will attack right from the gun to try and open up as much ground on Sanders into T1 as possible. But how far that will actually be is the big question. Last year the gap was around 2:40 between Frodeno and Sanders, but the Canadian has really upped his swim training in recent months and seems to have made considerable progress. In a swim competition a few weeks ago Sanders completed a long-course 1,500m swim race in 18:50 minutes, a whopping personal best time. In terms of the bike one would imagine that Sanders might have the advantage, especially on the Oceanside course which, if there isn't much wind, is not particularly technically demanding. It is up in the air as to who will have the advantage on the run - Frodeno, as a former short-distance athlete or Sanders, who is traditionally very strong in the final leg of the race.

As much as the focus will be on Sanders and Frodeno, there are lots of other men in the field who could be in the hunt for the win, too. Included in that list are former Ironman 70.3 world champion Tim Reed (AUS), last year's third place finisher in Kona David McNamee (GBR) and Sam Appleton (AUS). Andrew Talansky, a former professional cyclist and 2015 US time trial champion has his sights set on a pro start in Kona. Although he's probably not ready to push for the win, his progress will be closely watched by other professional triathletes.

Lawrence, Haug, True, Jackson and Findlay

The women's race is also stacked with some of the world's top middle-distance competitors. Germany's Anne Haug is, just like Frodeno, coached by coach Dan Lorang and, like Frodeno, using the race as a form test as she prepares for the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt. Haug won Ironman 70.3 Dubai earlier this year after 2016 Ironman 70.3 world champion Holly Lawrence struggled through the tail-end of the half-marathon. Lawrence, who lives and trains in California, will no-doubt be motivated to return to the top of the podium. Others to watch for in the field include Americans Sarah True (USA), Heather Jackson (USA), along with Jeanni Seymour (RSA) and Canadian Paula Findlay. Findlay domninated the World Triathlon Series for a few months in 2010 and 2011, but was repeatedly felled by by health problems and had a disappointing 2012 Olympics. Findlay intends to keep her foot in middle-distance racing after finishing second at Ironman 70.3 Austin last year. Two others to watch include Carrie Lester (AUS) and Lisa Roberts (USA).