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Gross, Hoffman and Plese covering the distance

Wednesday, June 22, 2016, 12:51 PM GMT

Ironman champion Sara Gross returns to racing at Saskatoon 5150 on Sunday. The Canadian looks forward to testing her fitness after a bike crash shattered her wrist in April.

After getting surgery to insert plates and set the bone, Gross continued to train indoors, determined not to lose too much ground to an injury layoff.

“I am nervous and excited since I haven’t raced in a long time,” she says. “Now that my wrist is mostly healed from my bike crash and surgery, I decided to jump right back on the horse with this race.”

In true Bahrain Endurance style, Gross takes on the challenge with gusto. “I am also thrilled that the organizers decided to keep the chase format in which the women start a certain amount of time ahead of the men and try to hold them off. My main competition is an up-and-comer called James Cook who I train with here in Victoria. It’s like our own mini-version of Billy Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs,” she concludes, referring to the famous Battle of the Sexes professional tennis match between the female King and male Riggs.

Meanwhile, Ben Hoffman tests his racing legs at the Ironman 70.3 Coeur d’Alene. The American has spent a month of solid training at home in Boulder with an eye toward his A race in Kona. “Having raced the Ironman Coeur d’Alene event there twice and still holding the course record on the full distance, I feel quite at home in northern Idaho,” he says. “Even though this will only be half the distance, I’m sure it will be just as painful! Looking forward to pushing hard and getting the best out of myself.”

Finally, Ironman Austria weekend has rolled around for David Plese. He says, “I expect a fast race. This is probably the strongest pro field out of all the Ironman Austria editions I have raced.” The Slovenian is working toward qualifying for the Ironman World Championship once again, but has also set his sights on going faster. “I’ll do my best and try to go for a new personal best, which means finishing under 8 hours.”


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