The 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 race season kicks off in Dubai with a thrilling Pro list

– Last year’s winner, Imogen Simmonds, will be making a triumphant return to defend her title against this powerful 2021 start list, which includes Daniela Ryf

– Dubai set to kick off the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 race season with its Return To Racing protocols

the press conference picture of IRONMAN 70.3 DUBAI 2021 (Getty Images for IRONMAN)

The stage is set for IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai to showcase some of Europe’s top professional triathletes as they battle it out for the top podium spot. Burj Al Arab, the stunning seven-star hotel, will host the sixth edition of this race on March 12, 2021. This will be the first race to take place this year on the IRONMAN 70.3 circuit.

The fast flat course will see Imogen Simmonds return to defend her title, while a new champion will be crowned in the men’s category. A strong PRO line up is expected with Tessa Kortekaas (NLD), Leanne Fanoy (UAE), Sara Svensk (SWE) and five time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Daniela Ryf (CHE) set to take part. The men’s line up is just as exciting with Pieter Heemeryck (BEL), Ruedi Wild (CHE), Maurice Clavel (DEU) and Michael Weiss (AUT) looking for podium finishers. Along with many more standout names, the women’s and men’s professional fields for the March 12, in Dubai, will be one not to miss.

Imogen Simmonds victorious at the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai (Getty Images for IRONMAN)

At the pre-race press conference, Simmonds stated, “My last race was 13 months ago, here in the amazing Dubai. It has been a year with a handbrake up, everything was brought to a halt. Personally, I have gone through a few changes during this time, from being injured to moving back home to another continent and changing coaches. However, I am very excited about racing again. I might not be in top form, but I do not really care. I feel like Daniela [Ryf] is on pretty good form, knowing her; but it will be fun to get out there. It is a privilege to be here. Even though 38-degree heat has been predicted, we’ve just got to remember that we are lucky to be doing what we love and keep smiling even though it may be hard at some points.”

the press conference picture of IRONMAN 70.3 DUBAI 2021 (Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Addressing the global lockdown the athletes had endured, five time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Ryf said “… suddenly we were in a lockdown and we had to deal with what we have and what we could do at home. For me, this consisted of a few days swimming in a bathtub, so I am interested to see what I can do. I also built an endless pool so that I could keep fit and training, as I didn’t know when the next race was going to be […] but I’m happy I took it day by day, and here we are a year later and I am happy that I was able to do some things that I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to do if this past year didn’t happen.”  

the press conference picture of IRONMAN 70.3 DUBAI 2021 (Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Heemeryck shared the excitement to get back to racing stating, “I really like this race, it’s such a beautiful city with an incredible racecourse. I feel lucky to be able to race again with such a big field of PRO athletes. I can give you more than ten names that have the potential to go onto the podium, so I think this will be a very close race.”

Alongside the strong professional field, close to 1400 age-group athletes are expected to race under IRONMAN Safe Return to Racing protocols. Athletes will take on a one-loop 1.9 km swim course against the backdrop of the world-famous Burj Al Arab hotel. The one-loop 90 km bike course will lead the athletes through the city before venturing out into the Araban Dunes. Lastly, they will take on a one and a half-loop 21.1 km run course which starts at Jumeirah Public Beach and leads athletes along the coastline. 

A flat fast bike course (Getty Images for IRONMAN)

The PRO men start will be at 06h30am local time (03h30 CET), PRO women at 06h33am local time (03h33 CET) and age group start at 06h40am local time (03h40 CET). The PRO winners flower ceremony is scheduled to take place at 11h00am local time (09h00 CET). For more information please visit the event website, https://www.ironman.com/im703-dubai.

Beautiful scenes from the swim course (Getty Images for IRONMAN)

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