DEFEND THE TITLE: New Zealand-born Noosa resident Callum Millward will seek to be the first male to go back-to-back at the Hervey Bay 100.
DEFEND THE TITLE: New Zealand-born Noosa resident Callum Millward will seek to be the first male to go back-to-back at the Hervey Bay 100. Alistair Brightman

Millward chases two straight Hervey Bay 100 titles

TRIATHLON: Reigning champion Callum Millward will utilise the Beach House Hotel Hervey Bay 100 to gauge his preparation for a major international ironman event.

Millward won last year's Hundy with a six-minute gap between he and his nearest rival, and he will try to become the first back-to-back open men's champion on Sunday.

The 35-year-old leader of the Cupcake Cartel, a group of like-minded athletes who predominantly hail from across Australia, United States said he was looking forward to the challenge.

He enters the 100km epic, which includes a 2km swim, 80km ride in good form. He competed at the world Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii, in October, and enjoyed a two-week break before returning to training.

The Hervey Bay 100 will be his first race since, and he said the well-timed long distance triathlon was an opportunity for him to test his body just weeks out from his next Ironman 70.3 race at Taupo, New Zealand.

"It's a really good indicator of where I'm at,” Millward said. "There's plenty of young guys who want to knock us off so it makes for some great racing.”

The open field took a blow with the withdrawal of 2016 champion Ricky Swindale, but is comprised of an accomplished field that includes Travis Coleman, Aaron Belsham, Simon Hearn, Ironman 703 regular Alexander Polizzi and local hope (and Cupcake Cartel member) Jaryd Hamilton.

Millward takes strong form into the event, with victory at the Ironman 70.3 Boulder, at Colorado in the United States, and a second at Ironman 70.3 Busselton this year.

"It's been a reasonable year, I've done this long enough to know you get the ups and downs, you just have to try to be patient,” Millward said.

"I'm using the Hervey Bay 100 as a stepping stone for Taupo in three weeks. The 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championship will be there so you'll have a stronger field than usual.

"This weekend will blow out the cobwebs for me.”

The open women's race received a major boost with the inclusion of world champion Sarah Crowley.

The Beach House Hotel Hervey Bay 100 is on Sunday.