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Pros gear up for Challenge Family Americas season opener

Posted on: Thursday 14th May 2015

Beneath the giant 300-foot Sunsphere at World’s Fair Park, athletes will gather on May 17th for the much anticipated season opener of the Challenge Family Americas races, Challenge Knoxville presented by Pilot Flying J. Headlining the field are top talents Cameron Dye (USA) and Rebekah “Bek” Keat (AUS).

A champion of multiple Half and Full distance triathlons throughout her decorated professional career, plus one of the fastest ever Full distance times in the women’s ranks (8:39:24 at Challenge Roth 2009), Keat will make her debut on the Knoxville course, the first of many Challenge Family events on her 2015 schedule. “I can’t wait to participate in Challenge Americas events this season!” said Keat. “As a winner of several races in Europe in 2009-2012 I know what an amazing experience Challenge puts on for all athletes. It’s so exciting that we have them here in the USA right at my doorstep!”

Keat, known for her skill across all three triathlon disciplines and her especially fleet-footed run, is sure to feature throughout the women’s race. Swimming speedster Jennifer Spieldenner (USA), last year’s Challenge Rancho Cordova Champion, is a safe bet to lead her rivals out of the water. Also competitive swimmers since their youth, twin sisters Rebeccah and Laurel Wassner (USA) will vie for family bragging rights as well as the overall title. Laurel, the first cancer survivor turned pro triathlete, scored a huge win in 2014 at Challenge Atlantic City. Rebeccah (also better known as “Bec”), a three-time NYC Triathlon Champion, took time out in 2012/2013 to become a mother to daughter Amy (now two) but is back in top form and ready to test her long course strength in Knoxville. Rachel McBride (CAN), a Canadian pro with a collection of fastest bike split accolades will be one to watch on the bike, and Laura Siddall (GBR), fresh off a second place finish at Challenge Wanaka in February, will surely figure into the women’s mix.

Cameron Dye, also a proud parent (to son Liam, three and a half, and daughter Lucia, one) and one of the world’s top scoring non-drafting short course competitors, is a veteran champion of the Olympic distance course in Knoxville (2013) in its original incarnation as a Rev3 race. Now, with a shift in the professional purse to the Pilot Flying J Challenge Knoxville Half, Dye has turned his focus to the longer distance and is eager to test his mettle against the rest of the field. “I’m really happy about being able to come back to Knoxville to race again this year, and excited to have my first Challenge racing experience. The Knoxville race has always been a good one for me, and I have heard nothing but great things about the way Challenge Family runs races, which will hopefully combine for a great weekend of racing!” said Dye.

A former NCAA Division I swimmer at the University of Iowa, Dye and his flowing blonde locks will likely be spotted first out of the Tennessee River. He’ll face fierce competition from Eric Limkemann (USA), however, also known for his powerful swim stroke and his title as 2014 Rev3 Pro Series Champion. Likewise, Andrew Yoder (USA) should emerge from the swim with the lead pack and can be expected to set a blistering pace on the bike. Another athlete to keep an eye on is first-year pro Cedric Boily (CAN), an age group victor at 2014 Challenge St. Andrews who placed third in his professional debut earlier this year in Puerto Rico. Also of interest in the pro ranks is Robert Duncan (USA), who shares an inspirational story of triumph through sport over a troubled childhood.

Pilot Flying J Challenge Knoxville will also mark the Challenge Family Americas racing debut of ambassador athlete Dr. Andy Baldwin. Baldwin, a U.S. Navy Family Physician, accomplished humanitarian and well-known media personality, will make four Challenge Family race appearances this season, including toeing the line at the series’ iconic flagship race, DATEV Challenge Roth.

Triathlon fans are invited to follow the race day action on Twitter @Challenge_Amer and via streaming finish line video (link available on race day at www.challenge-familyusa.com).


Posted in Latest News, News Archive

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