The third running of the Rev3 Knoxville takes place this Sunday May 6th, and the men’s pro field promises to showcase some of the world’s best non-drafting short-course talent.
Headlining the field is a regular to the Rev3 circuit, 2008 Olympian Matty Reed. Having shown his versatility in the sport, with top finishes at every distance and race format, the big man from Boulder, Colorado comes to Knoxville as a two-time winner of the event. Reed’s race-from-the front style is characterized by a zero-weakness triathlon game: he consistently swims, bikes, and runs away from the best.
To successfully claim the three-peat, Reed will have to contend with last year’s second place finisher, also from Boulder, Cam Dye. The young man with a larger than life hairdo, is accustomed to notching the fastest bike split in any race he enters. Dye moved up from 4th in 2010, to 2nd last year, and no doubt hopes to finish one step better. Having won Rev3 Costa Rica, he’s currently atop the series leader board.
Many athletes are returning to Knoxville with the hopes of spoiling the Reed/ Dye show that has been running on the Tennessee airwaves for the past two seasons. Rev3 Racing Team members Brian Fleischmann and Richie Cunningham are both back this year, intent on keeping their 2012 podium streaks alive. Expect to see both of these hard-charging athletes making a strong assault on the podium.
Other men to look out for include 2004 Olympian Greg Bennet, who has shown that when he wants to do so, he can punish any athlete who toes the line. Last year’s HyVee winner, Bennet is a savvy veteran who knows how to put himself in position to win big.
Caleb Van Hort and Chris Foster have both shown that they possess a world-class closing leg, routinely torching the run in every triathlon they enter. If the field does not distance themselves from these two on the bike, they are both dangerous threats to the win. And fresh off a 4th place finish at St. Anthony’s, Australia’s Joshua Amberger has the confidence and speed to find his way to another top-five finish.
Final wild cards in the men’s race areAndrew Yoder and Mathias Hecht. Yoder’s bike strength – as well as his inconsistency – are quite impressive to those who watch him. If he’s on, look out; if he’s off, he’s way off. And Hecht returns to short course racing as a recent addition to Team TBB – this means he’s going to be red hot, or ice cold from the possible lack of tapering.
The men’s professional field has three dozen hungry athletes, each of whom has high aspirations to earn their share of the $50,000 and series points that are up for grabs. Expect this race to be a barn burner from gun to tape.
Rev3 Knoxville is missing its biggest star from 2010 and 2011 with Julie Dibens recovering from knee and foot surgery; however, the void she creates with her absence is filled by numerous strong challengers to the crown.
At the top of that list is 2011 Rev3 Costa Rica winner, Kelly Williamson. If her hot streak continues (two wins and a second place this season), the Texas transplant will likely use her blazing run split to emphatically punctuate her triathlon statement by literally running away with the win.
Poised to challenge Kelly, whose best finish in Knoxville was a third place in 2010, is last year’s Rev3 Series winner, Australia’s Kate Major. Best known for her long-course exploits, Kate’s well rounded attack should put her in contention for a points-earning podium finish.
The top returning finisher from 2011 is Becky Lavelle, the California veteran who is opening her season in Knoxville. Her powerful swim-bike combo puts her as a literal and figurative frontrunner.
The Rev3 Racing Team fields four women in this year’s event. Always consistently performing, the Team is represented by Malaika Homo (2011 Knoxville 5th place and Cedar Point winner); Bree Wee (2nd at 2012 Costa Rica); Jessica Meyers (a multiple half iron winner); and Courtenay Brown, the rookie upstart. Another Rev3-sponsored athlete, Amanda Lovato comes to the race as a multiple winner at the half distance as well.
Proving that she already knows how to win a Rev3 Event, Nicole Kelleher is fresh off her Costa Rica win, and she certainly aims to hold her top spot in the women’s series chase. Taking third place in Costa Rica, Sarah Gray now knows what the podium feels like, and will likely tackle this race with confidence. Other notables who should factor into the top five include Lauren Goss – owner of an elite swim/run combo; Laurel Wassner, who is always poised to have a top finish in any field; and Bec Keat, an Aussie who brings her long-course strength and success to the Olympic distance Rev.
Also contending with the primarily American field are two more athletes from Down Under: Madeline Oldfield of Australia and Kiwi Michele Bremer make their first appearances on the Rev3 series, and each athlete has top level experience.
The women’s race will definitely provide some fireworks, and, as is typical in all Rev3 events, the outcome will keep spectators on the edge of their seats right up until the athletes reach the finish chute.