Petr Lukosz sets out as the man to beat in the Megaworld IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines blasting off Sunday (Aug. 7) in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, all fired up to nail the crown against a mix of international bidders five months after dominating the full IRONMAN race in Subic.
The 40-year-old ace from the Czech Republic bucked extreme heat and lack of competitions to rule the Subic joust (3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42k run) in nine hours, 52 minutes and 34 seconds, nearly an hour ahead of second placer Filipino Jethro Ramos.
That makes him the triathlete to watch in the upcoming 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21k run race presented by AIA Vitality which drew 1,898 bidders from 46 countries, which offers titles in 12 age-group categories on a refreshed racecourse.
Lukosz and Ramos also head the 40-44 division of the event which also features competitions in the all-male and all-female relay and mixed relay. Also up for grabs is the CEO division trophy.
Lanao del Norte’s Satar Salem, who topped the Sun Life 5150 Bohol last month, is also tipped to contend for the overall championship and in the 25-29 age category.
Other titles to be disputed in the event, backed by Active, Breitling 1884, Gatorade, Hoka and ROKA, are the 18-24, 30-34, 35-39, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69. 70-74 and 75-and-above.
A total of 222 bidders are also vying in the IRONKIDS tomorrow (Saturday), which ushers in the IRONMAN weekend.
“For all the athletes, it is time for your preparations to pay off and enjoy the experience. We understand the effort and sacrifice that you have made to prepare fot his event and our IRONMAN team stands ready to help you achieve your goals,” said Jeff Edwards, managing director of IRONMAN Asia.
The press conference for the IRONMAN 70.3 will be held at 3 p.m. today (Friday) with the IRONKIDS race briefing set at 5 p.m. on Facebook live.
For details, visit www.ironman.com/philippines70.3 with official hashtags: #IM703Philippines and #IMasia, social media (Facebook) Megaworld IM703 AIA Vitality and im703ph (Instagram).
Edwards also cited the event’s partners, volunteers, supporters and the local community for their all-out support to ensure the successful staging of the event billed as the crown jewel of Asian triathlon.
Race director Neville Manaois also expects a fast but exhausting race against time in the bike stage given the reconfigured racecourse that will take the triathletes over the CCLEX bridge, which connects Lapu-Lapu City to the Municipality of Cordova.
Other backers of IRONMAN 70.3 Cebu are Athletic Brewing Co., Hyperice, Santini, Wahoo, Fulgaz, City of Lapu-Lapu, CCLEX, Municipality of Cordova (Cebu), City of Cebu, Lalamove, Alaska, Lightwater, Prudential Guarantee, RLC Residences, Regent, Rudy Project, Sante and Teresa Marble Corp. and media partners Cignal, the Philippine Star and Sportograf.com.
Meanwhile, the IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines Expo and the Merchandise Store Open yesterday (Thursday) kicked off activities for the big weekend that included the check-in of the first batch of athletes in the event which start and end at The Mactan Newtown.
Meanwhile, due to road closures from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. on race day and to ensure the safe of participants, the local government unit and organizers of the event will implement traffic re-routing in six barangays in Lapu-Lapu City, including in Mactan, Punta Engaño, Maribago, Agus, Marigondon and Subabasbas.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan also assured those with scheduled flights that there will be establishments offering airport lounge for them to stay while waiting for their departure.