Michael Raelert of Germany and Simone Braendli of Switzerland won the elite titles at the 22nd Laguna Phuket Triathlon on Sunday.
The Laguna Phuket Triathlon is a middle distance classic which has been held every year since 1994, and is the first of back-to-back events in the Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest which will conclude with the half-distance Challenge Laguna Phuket next weekend.
Raelert combined a race-best 23:55 split for the 1.8km swim, a race-best 1:20:06 split for the 55km bike leg, and second-best 43:44 for the 12km run to finish in 2:30:14 with a 2:43 margin over runner-up Ruedi Wild of Switzerland, who won this race in 2012 and 2013. Third-place men's finisher Stuart Hayes of Great Britain trailed Raelert by 6:03.
Raelert arrived early to get acclimatized to Laguna Phuket’s sizzling conditions. “My practice was to get a bit used to the heat, for today was really hot,” said Raelert, who plans to race Challenge Laguna Phuket. “Next weekend I hope I am doing fine as well. Right now I hope to get a bit of rest.”
Raelert, the 2009 and 2010 Ironman 70.3 World Champion, won this race previously in 2011.
Italians Massimo Cigana and Alberto Casadei finished 4th and 5th, 9:01 and 9:26 behind the winner.
Braendli had women’s-best splits on all three disciplines - a 28:14 swim, a 1:31:45 bike leg, and a 45:26 run to finish in 2:48:04 with a 4:39 margin of victory over current ITU World Duathlon Champion Emma Pallant of Great Britain and 8:04 over 3rd-place finisher Laguna Phuket-based Australian Dimity-Lee Duke.
Irish pro Deidre Casey finished 4th, 17:01 behind the winner, and female 20-24 age grouper Imogen Simmonds of Switzerland finished 5th, 28 seconds behind Casey.
Braendli, who won Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl earlier this year, carefully prepared in a different fashion. “I arrived last Sunday from Switzerland and have been trying to stay indoors,” she said. “I did treadmill sessions and swim in Olympic swimming pool. Then I tried the bike course three times before the race today.”
22nd Laguna Phuket Triathlon
Laguna Phuket, Thailand
November 22, 2015
S 1.8k / B 55k / R 12k
1. Michael Raelert (GER) 2:30:14
2. Ruedi Wild (SUI) 2:32:57
3. Stuart Hayes (GBR) 2:36:17
4. Massimo Cigana (ITA) 2:39:15
5. Alberto Casadei (ITA) 2:39:40
1. Simone Braendli (SUI) 2:48:04
2. Emma Pallant (GBR) 2:52:43
3. Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS)
4. Deidre Casey (IRL) 3:05:05
5. Imogen Simmonds (SUI) 3:05:33 * F20-24