Raelert Repeats, Watkinson Dominates anew at Laguna Phuket Triathlon
2-Time Ironman 70.3 Champion Michael Raelert of Germany defended his 2015 title while Amelia Watkinson (NZL) continued her dominant success in Asia, winning her 10th title in 11 starts.
Six Pros where within 10 seconds of each other going into T1, with Raelert (22:54) leading Antony Costes of France by only 2 seconds. Four other Pros, Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS), Ritchie Nicholls (GBR), Alberto Casadei (ITA), and Peter Schokman (AUS) were within striking distance of the leaders.
Costes of the Thanyapura Triathlon Team, immediately went to work on the bike, building over a minute lead before a crash near the 40km mark nearly finished his race. Costes, a noted bike specialist, was able to recover, and finish with the best bike split of the race 1:10:58 over a hilly 50km course. Raelert (1:11:35 bike split) came in 45 seconds behind Costes in T2, with Kahlefeldt and Casadei much further back after 1:15:26 splits.
Raelert was able to wrestle the lead from Costes in the first quarter of the 12k run, and did not look back. Raelert ran the fastest run split of the day at 42:39 to repeat as 2016 Champion, with a winning margin of 2:05 over Costes and 4:08 over 3rd placer Brad Kahlefeldt. Costes was able to hold off Kahlefeldt and Casadei, finishing 2nd despite the bike spill. He also raced Ironman Langkawi just a week ago.
A trio of women Pros were within 4 seconds of each other in the swim leg, with Amelia Watkinson (NZL) leading the way with a 25:20 split. Radka Vodickova (CZE) and Emma Pallant (GBR) followed suit, 2 and 4 seconds behind respectively. Watkinson immediately built a near 2 minute lead over the first third of the 50km bike course. Her familiarity with the bike course, she had been based in Thanyapura in Puket this year, served her well as she blazed to a women’s best 1:18:27, 4 and a half minute faster than any women’s split on the course.
Watkinson’s dominating bike split enabled her to build a 7 minutes and 05 second lead over Pallant and Vodickova going into T2. She went unthreatened on the run, eventually winning in 2:36:29, with a 6:01 margin of victory over Pallant and 6:53 over 3rd-place Vodickova. It will Amelia’s 10th title in 11 triathlon starts.
It was her 2nd race in Thailand after winning Challange Kanchanaburi a month ago. “It was another awesome event in Thailand. It was not too hot, which actually was a disadvantage for me.” added Watkinson.
Around 1,100 athletes representing 40 nationalities participated in the various events on the weekend.
Laguna Phuket Triathlon
swim 1.8k, bike 50km, run 12km
1.Michael Raelert 02:19:13
2.Antony Costes 02:21:18
3.Brad Khalefeldt 02:23:21
1.Amelia Watkinson 02:36:29
2.Emma Palant 02:42:30
3.Radka Vodickova 02:43:22
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