IM Melbourne 2012 – Predictions (Main Post)

As always, you can find additional information on the participants in the detail post.

As this is the first time that IM Melbourne is held, there are no previous results and also no expected finishing times. WTC has done a great job of building excitement for this race – touting it as the “Pacific Asian Championship” and designating it as 4000-points race has certainly helped. This results in large and strong fields for the PROs, even if the field is still a bit in motion with a couple of people entering the race after IM New Zealand became a 70.3.

Male Participants

The start list already shows a very large number of strong athletes, probably the strongest and deepest field we’ll see this year outside of Kona. In addition there is the issue of Craig Alexander: There were a lot of press releases announcing he would race, but as of March 11th he is not on the start list. Nonetheless, I have included him in my predictions:

Rank Name Nation Rating Rank
1 Craig Alexander AUS 08:17:41 2
2 Eneko Llanos ESP 08:22:36 5
3 Cameron Brown NZL 08:31:54 14
4 Clayton Fettell AUS 08:34:29 21
5 Marko Albert EST 08:35:26 23
6 Pete Jacobs AUS 08:37:47 27
7 Frederik Van Lierde BEL 08:41:10 33
8 Joe Gambles AUS 08:41:54 37
9 Mitchell Anderson AUS 08:44:34 49
10 Luke McKenzie AUS 08:45:23 54
11 Courtney Ogden AUS 08:48:05 72
12 Esben Hovgaard DNK 08:48:57 80
13 David Dellow AUS 08:49:45 85
14 Luke Bell AUS 08:50:49 88
15 Simon Billeau FRA 08:52:59 98
16 Matt White AUS 08:53:13 100
17 Jason Shortis AUS 08:55:42 112
18 Bert Jammaer BEL 08:57:19 118
19 Dan Brown PHI 08:58:05 123
20 Petr Vabrousek CZE 08:58:07 123
21 Alejandro Santamaria ESP 09:01:00 140
22 Gudmund Snilstveit NOR 09:02:16 147
23 Lothar Leder GER 09:03:12 152
24 Joel Jameson GBR 09:04:34 157
25 Sergio Marques PRT 09:06:15 169
26 Joshua Rix AUS 09:08:36 187
27 Paul Wisniewski POL 09:15:22 227
28 Justin Granger AUS 09:17:24 248
29 Shinya Suganuma JPN 09:22:59 292
30 Romain Guillaume FRA 09:25:35 313
31 Hiroyuki Nishiuchi JPN 09:26:57 326
32 Oyvind Johannessen Nor 09:57:51 535
33 Bart Aernouts BEL unrated n/a
34 Jens Grønbek DEN unrated n/a
35 Johan Borg AUS unrated n/a
36 Paul Matthews USA unrated n/a
37 Fredrik Croneborg SWE unrated n/a
38 Greg Bennett USA unrated n/a
39 Todd Israel AUS unrated n/a
40 Sylvain Sudrie FRA unrated n/a
41 Finnbar Crennan AUS unrated n/a
42 Jens Petersen-Bach DNK unrated n/a

Here are the winning odds:

  1. Craig Alexander: 40%
  2. Eneko Llanos: 33%
  3. Pete Jacobs: 11%
  4. Luke Bell: 7%
  5. Cam Brown: 3%

Crowie is  the clear favorite for the race, relatively closely followed by Llanos. Pete Jacobs chances are “only” at 11% – he has had some up-and-don performances in the last years (which hurt his rating and his chances), but he has been very solid in the last two years. We also have Greg Bennett’s first start in an Ironman – which will be closely followed but impossible to predict.

I think the main deciding factor for this race will be how sharp the athletes are going to be in March. Crowie and Pete haven’t raced since Kona, Eneko has raced Arizona in November. Then you have Cam Brown who is always very sharp for IM New Zealand – so he may have a better chance than his odds indicate.

Update March 13th: Pete Jacobs had to pull out of the race with a back injury. I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to see him race in one of the summer IMs!

Female Participants

The female field is as strong as the men’s field, we have the second to fifth of Kona 2011 – and with Chrissie not racing this year we have the main Kona contenders:

Rank Name Nation Rating Rank
1 Mirinda Carfrae AUS 09:10:23 2
2 Michelle Vesterby DNK 09:25:14 8
3 Rebekah Keat AUS 09:28:33 9
4 Caroline Steffen SWI 09:29:10 10
5 Leanda Cave GBR 09:29:37 12
6 Rachel Joyce GBR 09:29:47 15
7 Joanna Lawn NZL 09:36:41 25
8 Tine Deckers BEL 09:37:02 28
9 Amanda Stevens USA 09:37:58 32
10 Gina Crawford NZL 09:37:58 32
11 Michelle Mitchell AUS 09:41:52 42
12 Carrie Lester AUS 09:43:06 44
13 Belinda Granger AUS 09:44:11 46
14 Jessica Jacobs USA 09:45:49 48
15 Silvia Felt GER 09:52:56 67
16 Sara Gross CAN 09:56:12 74
17 Dede Griesbauer USA 09:59:18 83
18 Katja Rabe GER 10:01:26 86
19 Elly Franks AUS 10:09:20 116
20 Maki Nishiuchi JPN 10:23:57 170
21 Fernanda Keller BRA 10:38:01 199
22 Suzanne Blackborrow AUS 10:40:43 208
23 Conny Dauben GER 10:50:49 228
24 Marthe Eikre-Telle NOR unrated n/a
25 Kate Murphy AUS unrated n/a
26 Anja Beranek GER unrated n/a
27 Inka Wachter GER unrated n/a
28 Mareen Hufe GER unrated n/a
29 Dana Wagner GER unrated n/a

One highly ranked, but pretty unknown athlete is Michelle Vesterby: Her only result is a 9:11 in Arizona 2011 and it’ll be interesting to see if she can post a similar result in Melbourne.

The winning odds:

  1. Mirinda Carfrae: 50%
  2. Leanda Cave: 22%
  3. Caroline Steffen: 10%
  4. Rachel Joyce: 7%
  5. Rebekah Keat: 4%

This field almost has “Kona strength”, with the three top contenders also being the top contenders for Kona. Similar to the men, it’ll be very interesting to see how sharp the athletes will be for a March race coming off their season break.

Update March 21:  Leanda Cave also had to pull out of the race.

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