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NZ Herald Article – 31st May 2012

Ten-time Ironman New Zealand champion Cameron Brown is taking on a world-class field including two-time world champion Chris McCormack at the inaugural Ironman Cairns this Sunday.

New Zealand’s Brown will contest his second ironman in Australia this year, finishing second at the inaugural Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne back in March.

Brown is hoping to continue his outstanding form this year, following his third place in the weather-shortened Ironman New Zealand with second placing behind current world champion Craig Alexander in Ironman Melbourne which doubled as the Asia Pacific championship.

The experienced Brown has been in Cairns for two weeks acclimatising and predicted fast times on the bike course which he said was in excellent condition.

“The run also looks fast but I hope it’s not as hot as last year, if the sun and humidity come out then it could be close to Hawaii heat,” Brown said.

“The only thing I won’t be doing (in training) is the swim, I’ll save that until race day – all I keep thinking about are the crocs.”

Brown backs McCormack as a favourite despite his limited preparation.

“Even though he hasn’t done too much ironman training he will have a tonne of speed from racing the ITU World Championship series so he will be fast and dangerous.”

McCormack played down his chances of taking the title having invested most of his efforts in his failed campaign to make the Australian Olympic team.

The trans-Tasman rivalry was always healthy and Brown would like nothing more than to snatch a win from the Australians, especially McCormack who has been an occasional training partner.

“It’s always nice to beat the Aussies on their home turf but it’s also very hard, and there are a number of guys that will be challenging Macca for the title,” added Brown.

Some of those other contenders include Australians Matthew White, second last year, Luke Bell, a runner-up at Ironman New Zealand, and the improving Dave Dellow from the Olympic-distance ranks and Aaron Farlow, second at Ironman New Zealand.

Auckland’s Simon Cochrane will make his official ironman debut in the professional ranks alongside super-experienced Canterbury Ironman, Bryan Rhodes.

Former Australian ironman champion and Cairns winner in 2011, Rebekah Keat is favourite for the women’s honours from fellow Australians Michelle Mitchell and Melissa Rollinson, making her ironman debut after winning the Ironman 70.3 world championship last year.

There real interest in the efforts of Auckland’s Belinda Harper, who was impressive at Ironman New Zealand this year, and Cambridge’s Candice Hammond, a strong cyclist who has indulged in cross-training as a shearer to augment her preparation and bank balance.

The course comprises a 3.8km swim in Sailfish Quay, a 180km bike to Port Douglas and return and 42.2km marathon run to finish in downtown Cairns.