Granger to retire from triathlon

Triathlon great Belinda Granger will have the honour of the No.


1 race number on Sunday when she races in Australia for the last time.

Granger is about to retire after a stellar career that included the 2005 Challenge Roth title and five consecutive top-10 finishes at the Hawaiian Ironman.

She will be the centre of attention at Sunday’s Challenge Shepparton, a 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km half marathon event.

Granger’s best result at Hawaii was sixth in 2004 and she is also a member of the Australian Ironman triathlon hall of fame.

But Granger’s standing in triathlon is due to much more than her results.

The 43-year-old is one of the sport’s most popular and respected personalities.

Her husband Justin is a well-credentialled age group competitor and he will also race at Shepparton.

The start list for the long-running Shepparton event will feature Australian Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt and his Czech partner Radka Vodickova.

Annabel Luxford is also a favourite a week after winning the Australian long-distance professional title at the 70.3 Mandurah race in WA.

Tim Van Berkel, who had a breakthrough seventh placing at the Hawaiian Ironman last month, is one of the men to beat.

In a busy day for the sport in Victoria, Ballarat also will host a 70.3 race for the first time.

The 70.3s are an international series of half-Ironman distance races run by the organisers of the Hawaii Ironman.

The 70.3 title refers to the total distance, in miles, of a half-Ironman distance race.

German Michael Raelert posted a scorching time to win Mandurah last weekend and he is the outright favourite at Ballarat.

Luke Bell looks the best chance for a home-country winner, while the women’s race will probably be between Canadian Melania McQuaid, German Mareen Hufe and Australian Madeleine Oldfield.