One of the big guns is out but the annual triathlon season opener in Mount Maunganui tomorrow still has firepower.
Taupo's Duncan Milne has confirmed he's pulling out of the Olympic-distance Tinman triathlon at Pilot Bay, the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman champion still recovering from illness.
Milne will instead race next week's Taupo Half Ironman and has also committed to racing the sprint-distance Surfbreaker triathlon on December 28.
"I've just come off a decent bout of illness and my coach recommended I give this one a miss and focus on Taupo," Milne said. "I'll be trying to back it up at the Tauranga Half though."
With a new sponsor, however, the Craigs Investment Partners Tinman will still attract a quality field led by defending champions James Bowstead (Waiuku) and former Tauranga athlete Michelle Simpson.
They'll be joined by top performers Jamie Whyte, Andrew Mckay and Keegan Williams.
Inaugural winner Cindy Taylor (Te Puke) will also be on the start line, and Lyndy Wickham is back from the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
This year's Tinman will celebrate its 21st birthday. The 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run standard distance race and 750m swim, 20km bike, 5.5km run sprint distance race open to individuals and teams.