Brownlee, Blummenfelt, Haug and Lawrence highlight Ironman 70.3 Dubai

The northern-hemisphere Ironman triathlon season promises to start with a bang as Alistair Brownlee, Kristian Blummenfelt, Anne Haug and Holly Lawrence have signed up for Ironman 70.3 Dubai.

| January 17, 2019 | NEWS

Can Alistair Brownlee defend his title in Dubain on February 1?

Can Alistair Brownlee defend his title in Dubain on February 1?

Photo >Getty Images for Ironman

Hibernation is over for most professional athletes. While many are preparing for the upcoming season at training camps in warm climates, others are gearing up for their first races.

Traditionally Ironman 70.3 Dubai is one of the races of the year to feature an international showdown of top athletes and this year we're in for more of the same on February 1 in the Arab Emirates. In addition to last year's winner Alistair Brownlee, who finished second at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2018, Kristian Blummenfelt is also planning to race. The Norwegian set a new world-best time (3:29:04) for the 70.3 distance at Ironman 70.3 Bahrain just a few weeks ago and plans to race the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice later this year, as does Brownlee.

Both Blummenfelt and Brownlee are in Dubai campaign with the goal of having a chance of taking the Triple Crown, which includes Ironman 70.3 Dubai, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and Ironman 70.3 Bahrain. The prize for winning all three races is one million dollars. So far, this feat has been achieved by only one athlete, Switzerland's Daniela Ryf, who took the triple crown in 2015.

Even though Ryf will miss the race in Dubai, the race promises to be very exciting. Last year's champion, Anne Haug, is back to try and defend her title after her stellar 2018 season that included a third-place finish in Kona. The German will face some strong competition from Holly Lawrence (GBR), the 2017 champion. Last year's runner-up, Sarah Lewis (GBR), is also registered for the race.