New mum on a mission leads international charge at 70.3 Taupo

Friday 07 December 2018
Radka Kahlefeldt (nee Vodickova) arrives as the clear race favourite in a strong international and local field at IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo this weekend, fresh off yet another win at Western Sydney in what has been a stellar calendar year for the new mum.

Since returning to racing just 11 weeks after the arrival of Radka and Brad’s little girl Ruby, Kahlefeldt has notched up victories in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cebu and most recently, Western Sydney.

The Czech Republic star is a first-time visitor to New Zealand and is looking forward to seeing the venue for the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships.

“I always wanted to race in New Zealand, but it never worked out for me. I haven't seen much of the country, so I can't wait to visit beautiful Taupo. Also, the bonus is that I will be able to check out the World Championship location for 2020!

“I am in pretty good shape. I just won two half distance races in November. I will race hard, but I also want to enjoy the race as much as possible. Brad and Ruby will be there with me and we will have a little family holiday after the race. Taupo will be my last race in 2018. I can't wait to have some time off.”

There is little doubt that 2018 has been an amazing year for the 34-year-old

“Without much thinking I can say that 2018 is a career best year. I have done 12 races and I was 10 times on podium and I was 5th at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. I am hoping to add to that in my final race of the year and start a nice history in Taupo on Saturday.”

Her opponents are plentiful and from varied parts of the world, with American Jocelyn McCauley again starting her summer in New Zealand in Taupo.

“Any excuse to get to New Zealand I will always jump at! Taupo is one of my happy places and always refreshes me. In the States we are going into winter while Taupo is just coming alive and warm so it's a perfect time to get away from the cold. I will be in New Zealand again for the IRONMAN in March and so it's always great to race more on the course.”

A winner of Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand in 2017 and second in the shortened 70.3 Taupo last year, McCauley loves the region and the course and has a long-standing link to the country, thanks largely to her parents.

“This year I've had ups and downs and the last two races have been downs so I'm coming to end 2018 on an up! I'm gearing up for the start of 2019 with IMNZ so the main goal for this race is to have fun racing and make some more good memories out on the course. I loved New Zealand as a kid when my parents took us to the North and South Island when I was 12.”

In the absence of defending champion Amelia Watkinson, Local hopes will rest with Hannah Wells (Bay of Plenty), Rebecca Clarke (Auckland) and Karen Toulmin (Hawke’s Bay).

Still a relative rookie as a pro, Wells can’t wait to race in Taupo after a false start last year.

“Taupo is basically a home race for me, and so it has always been on the list of "to do's". Unfortunately, last year I had to miss the race due to injury, so this will be my first time lining up there.

“So far this summer season I have raced Sunshine Coast 70.3, placing third, and Western Sydney 70.3, placing second. I built great fitness throughout our winter and I am feeling in the best form I have been in. I am new to the Pro scene and so I am still improving all the time. I am looking forward to seeing what this race brings.”

Wells admits that her experience in Taupo until now has been primarily as a fan, so can’t wait to soak up the legendary Taupo atmosphere.

“I have watched the full IRONMAN in Taupo a few times now but have never raced there. I am so excited to finally get the chance to race at such an amazing location and race venue - Taupo does such a great job.”

FEMALE PRO:
20 Vodickova Radka CZE (CZECH REPUBLIC)
21 McCauley Jocelyn USA (UNITED STATES)
22 Dennis Laura AUS (AUSTRALIA)
23 Wells Hannah NZL (NEW ZEALAND)
24 Clarke Rebecca NZL (NEW ZEALAND)
25 Gilfillan Courtney AUS (AUSTRALIA)
26 Toulmin Karen NZL (NEW ZEALAND)
27 Kiley Renee AUS (AUSTRALIA)
28 Selsmark Alise AUS (AUSTRALIA)
29 Wilson Amanda AUS (AUSTRALIA)
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