Laguna Phuket Attracts Elite Professionals
The Thai Airways Laguna Phuket Triathlon defending champion Craig Alexander is confirmed to race at the event again this year on Sunday 4 December. Alexander, from Australia, will be coming off recent wins at the US$500,000 Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis and the 5430 Long Course Triathlon in Boulder, Colorado where, with an eight-minute lead, he managed to stop and kiss his baby daughter Lucy, and then carry her across the finish line. Alexander is hoping for his third win at Laguna Phuket having taken home the title in 2004 and 2002.
Another two-time Laguna Phuket Triathlon champion, Canadian, Carol Montgomery will also be back competing against several newcomers to the event including husband and wife duo Laura and Greg Bennett, fellow Canadian Samantha McGlone and young Kiwi sensation Terenzo Bozzone. American, Laura Bennett will be fresh from her recent third place finish at the World Triathlon Championships in Gamagori, Japan, while the youngsters McGlone and Bozzone are expected to give the more seasoned pros a run for their money.
Absent from this year’s line up is the women’s defending champion Australian Nicole Hackett, who regretfully had to withdraw after recently being diagnosed with Ross River Virus. The virus, which affects energy levels of those infected, caused Hackett’s early withdrawal from this year’s World Triathlon Championships. Rest and relaxation are Hackett’s main priorities right now as she has been advised not to resume training until she is fully recovered. Hackett thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the 2004 Laguna Phuket Triathlon, and hopes to return to Phuket in 2006 to defend her title then.
The event route and program will be similar to 2004 with the 1.8-kilometre swim leg starting at the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket beach front and ending near Laguna Beach Resort. The 55- kilometre bike course and 12-kilometre run section will also start and finish near Laguna Beach Resort. This arrangement allows all spectators to remain in one convenient location where they can enjoy the entire event.
Now in its twelfth year, the Laguna Phuket Triathlon, sponsored by Thai Airways International, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Herbalife International (Thailand) Limited is considered South East Asia’s premier triathlon event. This year’s race will feature a pro prize purse of US$20,000 awarded to the top five male and female professional athletes. Twenty-five top age group athletes will receive qualifying slots into the 2006 Ironman Australia.
Registration for the event, which in the past has boasted some 600 athletes from 30 countries, is ahead of schedule and race organisers expect an increase in competitor numbers this year.
For online registration or further information and updates, please visit www.lagunaphukettriathlon.com