Leading Male Pro Triathletes Ready For IRONMAN Western Australia Battle

Friday 01 December 2023

A strong field of male professional triathletes are preparing to go head-to-head for the GWM IRONMAN Western Australia title this Sunday in Busselton.
 
The men’s field in Busselton features 23 professionals representing seven different countries, all out to cross the famous IRONMAN finish line first on Sunday afternoon.

Headlining the men’s race this year’s race is Denmark’s Daniel Bækkegård, who will make his GWM IRONMAN Western Australia debut.
 
Bækkegård heads to Western Australia following a first win on Australian soil in Canberra last weekend and is looking forward to taking on the iconic Busselton event.
 
“I feel good, the whole experience training and staying Down Under has been incredible and that’s the energy I’m going to bring into the race,” said Bækkegård. “I’m just looking forward to experiencing Western Australia to be honest. I’ve heard it’s an amazing place with incredible backing from the local community.”
 
While this year’s trip is the Dane’s first taste of training and racing in Australia it’s clearly already had an impact on the 27-year-old.
 
“I’m definitely going to come back, no matter what,” he said, “I feel like Danes and Australians are quite similar when you throw in the nature, excitement for outdoor activities and the food scene here makes the perfect combo for me.”
 
Bækkegård is known as being a strong cyclist and heads to Busselton with a number of victories across IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races under his belt.
 
“People say you have to crack all competitors early, but I’ve only had a couple of weeks training and a race last weekend so I’m not really sure I’m in shape for that. It’s all about the Kona slot and enjoying a good hit out with the boys, I can’t wait.”
 
A strong field of Australians are out to make sure their Danish competitor doesn’t have it all his own way, with Adelaide’s Steve McKenna at the top of that list.
 
McKenna has had a strong 12 months of racing at home, finishing second at IRONMAN Western Australia last year, and more recently claiming his first IRONMAN victory at IRONMAN Australia in Port Macquarie in May and backing that up with a second at June’s Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns.
 
“I’m confident with where I’m at fitness and strength wise for sure, my training has been mostly IRONMAN specific this year and all that way recently,” said McKenna. “We’ve had a few viruses at home lately to dodge and I tore a ligament in my foot during IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne, so there’s been the usual IRONMAN coming up stress, but nothing I haven’t raced well with before. 
 
McKenna is looking forward to taking on some of the best triathletes from home and abroad this Sunday.
 
“It’s a tough course in the TT position for 180km, this is a strength of mine so I hope to see some athletes start to suffer late in the bike if they haven’t put their bodies through enough TT time,” he said. “I’ll be hunting on the run, the other guys will likely hope to have some time on me starting that run. My plan is to swim and bike at or near the front, so if that slows my run down, so be it, but it’s a race where some seriously strong swim-bikers are going to be giving it a crack so I’ll expect to go with the race and not my perfect or ideal plan.”
 
Sam Appleton returns to Western Australia for the first time since his IRONMAN debut in Busselton in 2019 where he finished fourth.
 
Appleton, who is based in Boulder, Colorado, these days was second behind McKenna at IRONMAN Australia earlier this year and is looking forward to lining up on Sunday.
 
“I’m feeling really good, I’ve put together a really good training block, and the motivation is still high even though we are at the end of the season,” said Appleton. “I have had a great prep, the weather has been really good in Boulder. I got lucky as it has been the warmest start to Autumn in the last 40 years in Boulder. I still choose to do a lot of indoor riding though as I think time on the trainer prepares the body really well for the demands on the IRONMAN Western Australia course.”
 
Appleton has fond memories of his first IRONMAN in Busselton and is keen for another strong race this year.
 
“2019 was my first IRONMAN and I loved it,” he said. “I always wanted to make it back to Busso since doing that race in 2019. The swim is so picturesque and the run along Geographe Bay is something special. The crowd support is always great out on the run course as well.
 
Perth’s Matt Burton is the only athlete in the men’s field who has stood on the top step of the podium in Busselton, claiming victory at the event in 2022.
 
“It’s my favourite day of the year and with the event back to sold out numbers it’s great for the sport and for WA triathlon,” said Burton. “It’s home, everyone and everything about this race is why I love the sport. Busso is very much a team effort at home so it’s much bigger than just me.”
 
For more on GWM IRONMAN Western Australia visit https://www.ironman.com/im-western-australia
 
PRO MEN’S START LIST
1 Steven McKenna AUS 
2 Matt Burton AUS 
3 Sam Appleton AUS 
4 Daniel Bækkegård DNK 
5 Mitch Kibby AUS 
6 Caleb Noble AUS 
7 Nick Thompson AUS 
8 Aichlinn OReilly IRL 
9 Maximilian Hammerle AUT 
10 Kosuke Terasawa JPN 
11 Quentin De Vos BEL 
12 Scott Steenberg DNK 
14 Jens Frommhold DEU 
15 Levi Hauwert AUS 
16 Justin Wendemuth AUS 
17 Mark Radziejewski AUS 
18 Harrison Wiles AUS 
19 Kaito Tohara JPN 
20 Liam Duval AUS 
21 Jack Sosinski AUS 
22 Samuel Doggett AUS 
23 Nick Carling AUS 
24 Harry Sinclair AUS

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