Legends Old and New Descend on Phuket for 19th Laguna Phuket Triathlon
“Race of Legends” Living up to its Name
Two-time Ironman World Champion Chris “Macca” McCormack – a renowned legend in triathlon circles and once named the world’s fittest man by sports broadcaster ESPN– will make his debut in the Laguna Phuket Triathlon (LPT) on Sunday 25 November, pushing three-time LPT Champion Massimo Cigana and American Ironman Chris Lieto for the coveted men’s title.
Australian Macca is hopeful of claiming the 2012 title ahead of current LPT titleholder Cigana, who gained legendary status last year when he claimed his third victory on the paradise island. Cigana, who hails from Venice, Italy, knows the scenic Phuket course well, having first competed in 2005.
Also challenging Macca and Cigana for top honours will be Californian speedster Chris Lieto – founder of the triathlon-inspired More Than Sport organisation and widely regarded as one of the fastest cyclists in the multiple-stage event.
It will be Lieto’s first shot at an LPT title, after crashing out on a rain-hit Ironman 70.3 course at Laguna Phuket last year.
Lieto’s More Than Sport organisation will be working its magic during Laguna’s Tri-Fest week – helping the race organisers fundraise for a mobile library and learning centre for children in Thailand’s Phang Nga Province.
But Lieto and Cigana’s hopes of LPT gold may be dashed with Macca on the scene – a man dubbed as one of the most successful athletes in triathlon history.
The 39-year-old has won 76 per cent of his career events, finishing on the podium 88 per cent of the time.
Known for his candid personality, Macca has broken eight hours in the full Ironman distance four times – a feat unmatched by any other athlete. It’s no wonder he has been named International Triathlete of the Year five times.
Also racing alongside the men’s pros will be some of the sport’s top female competitors.
Doing their best to collect the women’s title will be 2009 and defending Champion Radka Vodickova of the Czech Republic and Laguna Phuket veteran, Australia’s Belinda Granger, back in Phuket for her tenth LPT appearance.
Driving a victory for Vodickova – and Granger – Champion in 2008 and 2010 – will be the opportunity to match Cigana’s three LPT trophies by becoming the first female triple Champion.
Sunday’s LPT will see more than 1,000 individual and relay competitors representing 46 nationalities flock to the start line on Laguna Phuket’s Bang Tao beach to embark on the 1.8K swim, 55K bike and 12K run around Phuket’s west coast.
As registrations closed this week there were 945 individual entries, together with 58 relay teams of 174 athletes.
The top five nationalities by entry numbers, individual and relay, are UK (274); Thailand (164); Australia (163); USA (129); and France (51).
LPT – which also includes the 91.5FM 6K Fun Run with 278 runners of all ages entered at close of registration – marks the start of Laguna Phuket’s week-long Tri-Fest featuring training sessions and fun social events for participating athletes.
The carnival-inspired festival culminates with Ironman 70.3 Laguna Phuket and post-event awards party on Sunday 2 December.
Further information: www.lagunaphukettriathlon.com.