Craig Alexander racing Kona
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Ironman Hawaii 2014 predictions: the other big name contenders

From Pete Jacobs to Andreas Raelert and Craig Alexander, 220 columnist Tim Heming looks at the athletes worth keeping an eye on at Kona this year

There are plenty of big name contenders missing from the top ten shortlists for Kona 2014, which is one reason why this race is so engaging.

Having already predicted who I think will be posting a top-ten finish in the male and female races this weekend, here are my thoughts on some of the other interesting possibilities...

Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander, 41, Australia 

Craig Alexander racing

For a triathlete who rolls in just behind Mark Allen and Dave Scott as the greatest male Kona racer in history, only a fool would completely disregard Craig Alexander’s chances.

The Australian delivered almost the perfect race to win his third title in 2011 with a course record 8:03, but ever since his career has been on the wane with regular declarations of retirements in the aftermath of disappointing Ironman results. 

The Australian’s finishing record in Kona of 2, 1, 1, 4, 1, 12th and then 21st last season, sends a clear message. If he’s within striking distance emerging from T2, he will be a threat, but the chances are slim at best. Like many great athletes, it seems he only realises he’s past his prime when he’s in the thick of battle.

Pete Jacobs, 32, Australia

Pete Jacobs racing

Since his 2012 victory, the cerebral Pete Jacobs has struggled with niggling injuries and achieved little other than incurring the ire of Ironman WTC Andrew Messick for not trying hard enough. As a former champ the Albino Tiger stamped his ticket for Hawaii by jogging through in Zurich a week after an aborted assault on Challenge Roth. 

Where Jacobs controlled the bike leg in 2012, he led out again briefly last year before a red-hot pace line engulfed him on the Queen K. A serene triathlete at his masterful best, but Jacobs, admitting to suffering high level fatigue, looks a way off that at present. 

Andrew Starykowicz, 32, USA

Andrew Starykowicz racing in Kona

Andrew Starykowicz came close to Stadler’s Kona bike course record last year despite regurgitating most of his Powerbar drink on to the asphalt.

The run was not a pretty sight, but with the nutrition fixed he reappeared a few weeks later in Florida to lay down a new Ironman bike best of 4:02:17.

Yet, he still didn’t win - and that’s the perennial problem for the straight-talking American. While he’ll be blasting away at the front again this year, he’s a big lump to carry it  off for 26.2 miles.

Luke McKenzie, 33, Australia

Luke McKenzie racing in Kona

Luke McKenize is no newcomer to the sport, but last year’s runners-up berth was a breakthrough for the Australian who has been trying to master Hawaii since 2006.

It also saw him introduce the trucker hat to a wider audience as an endurance sport accessory and while the jury might be out on that, McKenzie certainly showed he had tuned the diesel engine to keep chugging on. 

His ability to live with Sebastian Kienle and Andrew Starykowicz on the bike impressed but while a dark horse, his season had included impressive wins at Cairns in June.

This year has been nothing like as spectacular. A bizarre helmet strap issue at Ironman Melbourne started it, a 10th place at Roth lacked reassurance and it would be a major surprise if he repeated last year’s epic adventure.

Click here to continue reading our predictions for this year's Kona


 
 

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Dolpel

Hey, Tri220 is nothing but consistent, at any rate. Completely ignoring Ty Butterfield, same as they did last year. Of course, Ty spent the entire bike and run in the top 10, including most of the run in 4th spot, before slipping to 7th in the final miles. He appears to have centered his entire 2014 on this one race, as well, this year. But anyways ....

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