Michael Raelert defends title at Laguna Phuket Triathlon in Thailand
The Laguna Phuket Triathlon has brought up the success, Michael Raelert had hoped for. The Rostockian dominantly defended his title at the legendary race in Thailand, and he celebrated his first victory after a long injury break. After 2:19:13 hours, Michael Raelert was clearly in front of Frenchman Antony Costes, who crossed the finish line in 2:21:18 hours. Brad Kahlefeldt from Australia took third place in 2:23:21 hours. "It was really fun," said Michael Raelert after the race, "the conditions are tough in Thailand, but I had a good grip today and I am really happy with my race."
Already during the swim, Michael Raelert took the lead in the pro field. He started setting the pace together with the fast Frenchman Antony Costes. In 22:54 minutes the defending champion finished the 1.8 kilometer swim course leading a group of six out of the water. Michael Raelert was followed by Antony Costes, Brad Kahlefeldt, Italy's Alberto Casadei, Peter Schokman (Australia) and Ritchie Nicholls from Great Britain. The top pro athletes were very close together after the swim, but it was on Antony Costes and Michael Raelert to become the main factors on the 50 kilometer bike course then.
Antony Costes had the fastest bike split of the day to enter the second transition in first place after a 1:10:58 hour bike ride. Michael Raelert needed only 37 seconds more to complete the wet and very challenging course. Coming off the bike, Michael Raelert was already four minutes ahead of third-placed Brad Kahlefeldt. "I was confident to make my move on the run," said Michael Raelert later, and he immediately attacked on the 12 kilometer run course. In 42:39 minutes he had the second fastest run split of the day, and he took over the top position after only two kilometers. "To run into first place felt incredibly good," said Michael Raelert, "I am so happy that I was able to achieve this success here."