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Cigana becomes first three-time champion in Phuket
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Sunday 27th November 2011


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Freespeed's Richard Melik is enjoying some tropical sunshine out in Thailand and took time out from his racing schedule to send us a report from today's Laguna Phuket Triathlon.


Italy’s Massimo Cigana, carved his name into the history books of the Laguna Phuket Triathlon with a hard-fought victory in sweltering conditions to become the first three-time champion in the event’s 18-year history. Cigana – the winner last year and in 2008 – completed the event in 2:32:51, four minutes ahead of fellow Italian Alberto Cassadei.

The impressive Cassadei led the pack out of the swim and built up a good lead in the first half of the bike course, being chased hard by Romain Guillaume of France. But bike specialist Cigana bided his time and gradually reeled them in, finally hitting the front of the race with 10kms to go. He then stretched his lead on the run, finishing nearly three minutes faster than his winning time last year, with a swim of 00:27:43; bike of 01:18:46; and run of 00:43:54 (the course distances are 1.8k, 55k, 12k).

Cassedei followed him home in 2:36:56 and Romain Guillaume very nearly closed the gap on the run to finish in 2:37:08. The top male amateur was Australia's Todd Spackman in fifth place in an impressive 2:43:42.

“It was definitely a great motivator today to be going for a third victory on this course,” said Cigana. “This is my ideal race and I love the conditions here. The competition was very strong and it was a hard race – I’m very happy to have won today but also to have become the first three-time champion here in Phuket.”

In the women’s field Radka Vodickova of the Czech Republic was too strong for two-time Laguna champion Australian Belinda Granger, who was seeking to emulate Cigana’s achievement with another victory.

Vodickova led out of the swim and held on to her lead from a fast closing Granger through the first third of the bike course. Once Granger had joined the front of the race, Vodickova was content to keep her within striking distance and both athletes entered transition together. Off the bike, Vodickova immediately opened up a race-winning gap and stretched her lead to three minutes by the finish.

Vodickova won in 2:54:18 with a swim of 00:27:06; bike of 01:35:15; and run of 00:49:15. Granger finished in 2:57:33 followed by third-placed German's Katja Rabe in 2:59:17.

This year’s Laguna Phuket Triathlon was the biggest-ever in the event’s 18 year history, with more than 1,000 athletes representing over 40 countries competing on the iconic course. There were some excellent British and Irish performances - a lot of familiar names cropping up in the results - and the best among them were Richard Hall in ninth overall, Ireland's Dierdre Casey winning the 25-29 category and first female Brit home was Laura Walsh who took the 45-49 category. Full results including nationalities are here.

Pos Men Women
1 Massimo Cigana (ITA) 2:32:51 Radka Vodickova (CZE) 2:54:18
2 Alberto Cassadei (ITA) 2:36:56 Belinda Granger (AUS) 2:57:33
3 Romain Guillaume (FRA) 2:37:08 Katja Rabe (GER) 2:59:17
4 Frederick Croneborg (SWE) 2:39:10 Cindi Bannick (USA) 3:00:15 *
5 Todd Spackman (AUS) 2:43:42 * Edith Niederfriniger (ITA) 3:00:16

Athletes denoted * are age group rather than pro.


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