Let the European Ironman season begin! - And the four month countdown to the 70.3 World Championships in Zell am See, Austria
Sunday’s half Ironman in Aix-en-Provence will be an important event for Austria’s leading triathlon professional, Michael Weiss, as the top performers earn valuable qualification points for the WC in his home country. The significance of this race, for Michi, is not only points-based, but also an opportunity to revisit his past career experiences.
Just around the corner from Aix-en-Provence is Monaco, where Michael's international triathlon career first began in 2008. Weiss finished in second place, setting him a-flight to his first Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
"I will always remember the Monaco race,” Michi shares. "I was the triathlon newcomer and surprised everyone - and most of all myself. “ Now only six years later, Weiss holds three Ironman Championship titles. He is the only Austrian to win an Ironman and continues to be one of the strongest cyclists in the professional field.
Michael looks to show his strength and experience this weekend at Ironman 70.3 Pays d’Aix where he faces a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run alongside a tough mens field. Weiss has already crossed two finish lines this season - Challenge Dubai and Ironman 70.3 Oceanside.
With consistent performances, yet not outstanding results, Michael returned to Italy for some focused training. "The conditions were perfect in Lucca,” Michi adds. “During the last few weeks I have been able to log serious training hours with quality results. I am confident that this will reflect in my result on Sunday."
The competition is top-class as in Oceanside. In addition to a number of strong French athletes, Ritchie Nicholls and Fraser Cartmell will race from the UK, the Italian Domenico Passuello and Czech Filip Ospaly, three-time winner of the Ironman 70.3 Austria in St. Pölten.
"There are no easy races anymore. The Ironman starting fields everywhere are stacked with talent and ambitions driven by the Kona Pro Ranking. My goal is to race with the best and give my best with the dream of Zell Am See’s start line motivating me."
The start of the Ironman 70.3 Pays d'Aix takes place on Sunday at 7:30 clock. The race can be followed on ironmanlive.com.