Rasmus Petræus (DEN) and Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) win Challenge Laguna Phuket in Thailand
Petræus led out of the swim in 25:22 with Italians Alberto Casadei and Alberto Alessandroni just seconds behind him. This three-way duel was to last well into the run with the lead changing hands throughout the 90k bike.
Petræus held his lead during the first half but Casadei took it at the technical hill section, though there were still only seconds between them. They had however put five minutes into the chase pack which was led by last weekend’s Laguna Phuket Triathlon winner, Ruedi Wild (SUI).
Petræus and Casadei left T2 together out onto the hot, two lap run with Alessandroni losing 10 seconds in the transition. Casadei and Petræus continued to run neck and neck until the 7km mark when Petræus started to show he was the stronger man on the day, by the time he took the title he had increased his lead to 2:07.
The young Dane was overwhelmed by his victory. “It’s unbelievable – I came here thinking it was the off season, but I can’t believe it! There was such a good audience and good environment to race in – I have no words, just amazing!”
The women’s race saw Radka Vodickova (CZE) exit the water with a clear 2:32 lead over two-time world champion, Hauschildt and Belinda Granger (AUS) two seconds further down. At 30km Hauschildt had closed Vodickova’s lead to 25 seconds and by 45km she took the lead, continuing on to a 5:47 win over Vodickova. The battle for third place began during the second half of the bike section when Dr Tamsin Lewis (UK) started closing on Granger, eventually overtaking her by the 70k mark. Granger refused to give up on what turned out to be a tough run for her but Lewis won the fight for third, taking it out in 4:44:49.
Hauschildt’s victory was her second in a week, following last weekend’s triumph at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon. Despite a stomach bug earlier in the week she still came out on top. “That was tough,” she said at the finish line. “ I hadn’t eaten anything but dry crackers since Tuesday. I didn’t know if I was going to make it to the start line. On the hills I didn’t feel like I had it in the legs but then it got OK. By the run, it felt like I was running on fumes. But it’s awesome to win, this is my favourite race of the year – I really wanted to do this and I really wanted to win both of them. I’m so happy!”