Mendez, Kahlefeldt make it two-in-a-row in PH triathlon competitions | Inquirer Sports

Mendez, Kahlefeldt make it two-in-a-row in PH triathlon competitions

/ 05:03 AM August 06, 2018

Mexcio’s Mauricio Mendez celebrates as he crosses the finish line to claim the 2018 Regent Aguila IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Cebu, Philippines. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

LAPU-LAPU CITY—Mexico’s Mauricio Mendez and the Czech Republic’s Radka Vodickova-Kahlefeldt made it two in a row in the Philippines as they ruled Sunday’s Regent Aguila Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship which started and ended at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa here under cloudy and humid conditions.

Despite their yearlong training, neither of the two expected to win, given the tough field in the professional division.

In fact, Mendez trailed after the 1.9-kilometer swim and 90-km bike legs and surged ahead only at the 16-km mark of the final phase, the double loop 21-km run.

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“This may be the most challenging race I’ve ever had,” said the 22-year-old Mendez, a fan favorite because of his good looks. “We were always bunched together, especially in the bike stage where I really worked hardest. I was nervous for most parts of the race.”

Mendez, who topped the Davao 70.3 last March along with Kahlefeldt, finished in 3 hours, 46 minutes and 45 seconds. His time was a minute faster than his 3:56:46 here last year, when he finished behind three-time Cebu 70.3 king Tim Reed of Australia.

Bermuda’s Tyler Butterfield, the pacesetter going into the run leg, placed second in 3:47:39 and New Zealand’s Braden Currie was third in 3:48:12. Reed wound up fourth in 3:52:51 while fellow Aussie and three-time Ironman world champion Craig Alexander was fifth in 3:54:09.

“I raced as best as I could,” said the 33-year-old Reed. “I didn’t have much preparation because my son got sick. I really struggled.”

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Kahlefeldt won in Davao just two months after giving birth to a daughter named Ruby. Her child turns seven months on Monday.

“I love training and racing so I do this as long as my body is up to it,” said the 33-year-old Czech. “This is my best season so far. I also won in Davao and Vietnam this year.”

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Kahlefeldt emerged fourth after the swim leg and worked her way to first entering the run stage where she led all the way to the finish line in a 4:12:13 finish.

Four-time PH 70.3 winner Caroline Steffen of Switzerland was second in 4:21:46 and Melissa Hauschildt of Australia third in 4:22:50.

The United States’ Lauren Goss, a first-timer in the Philippines, was originally second at eight minutes behind Kahlefeldt. However, she was disqualified after it was ruled that she failed to stop in the penalty tent. She was charged for blocking during the bike leg’s last lap and was supposed to sit it out for 30 seconds before proceeding to the run phase.

“It was a close fight, then I heard somebody say I was already leading by five minutes,” said Kahlefeldt. “I couldn’t believe it but that pushed me to run faster.”

Former Inquirer News editor Artemio Engracia Jr. finished the course in 8:07:54.

Banjo Norte repeated as Asian Elite champion in 4:24:34 and was 18th overall in the men’s field. Lone female PH entry Alexandra Gozon clocked 5:04:52 and was 12th overall behind the pro division participants.

A Cagayan de Oro native but is now Cebu-based, Norte said the pressure of being the defending champion worked to his advantage.

“I trained extra hard because I’m aware of the high expectations,” said Norte, who first won in 2013. “I kept my focus the entire race.”

More than 2,500 triathletes from at least 50 countries saw action in the first of five Cebu 70.3 events under the Regent Aguila-Sunrise Events, Inc. partnership.

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OTHER WINNERS: Star Salem and R.R. Panibon, 18-24; Sam Colvin and Leyann Ramo, 25-29; Vlad Ixe and Ling Er Choo, 30-34; Ryan Miller and Laura Nadeau, 35-39; Olivier Godart and N. C. Stafford, 40-44; Mark Jansen and Anne Lavandon, 45-49; Thomas Hardcastle and Petro Kuiper, 50-54; Koji Muroya and Mika Kume, 55-59; Paul Redding, 60-64; Edward Houeix, 65-69; Mike Ramsay, 70-74; Tadashi Hirouchi, 75-79; Team Spectrum, Relays.

TAGS: Mauricio Mendez, Sports

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