Julie Dibens – the double Abu Dhabi International Triathlon champion and the only female athlete to have won the flagship event – will return to the UAE capital next month as official ambassador and guest commentator for the 2012 showdown.
The 36-year-old is returning in a non-racing capacity due to a minor injury which will count her out of the Abu Dhabi elite race on 3 March 2012.
And despite not being able to compete, Dibens, who notched her first long-distance win in the UAE capital two years ago, is eager to share her experiences as one of the world’s top traithletes with the 1,700 registered local, elite and age group race hopefuls in the emirate for the US$250,000 event.
“I will miss competing but I am glad I don’t need to miss the race itself. I look forward to returning in 2013,” said Dibens, who represented Great Britain in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
“I’m also looking forward to meeting new athletes, seeing old friends and staying in the fantastic hotel Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan. Come race day I’ll be experiencing the event from a very different perspective but I will be on the edge of my seat watching the action unfold.”
With the two-time champ out of the race, it leaves the strongest-ever women’s field wide open. Favourites to take the title include Caroline Steffen, who finished second in Abu Dhabi last year, and current 70.3 World Champion Mellisa Rollison. Canada’s Angela Neath, who recently won the Panama 70.3, is another strong contender for the title.