MARKUS Rolli of Germany surprised an elite field to win the pro men's title while Radka Kahlefeldt overcame a stiff challenge in the bike and run stages to retain the pro women's crown at the close of the second Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao held in an out-and-back course from Azuela Cove in Davao City Sunday, March 24.
The 26-year-old Rolli, who was only second to Bahrain Eric Watson after the 1.9-kilometer swim, made a sheer display of his skills in the 90-K Azuela Cove-Tagum City-Azuela Cove biking course by clocking two hours and 50 seconds, way ahead of eventual runner-up Craig Alexander of Australia.
Rolli, an Ironman 70.3 Thailand 2017 champion, registered a total time of 3:49:29 despite the agony from his sore legs during the 21K run.
"The swim was perfect for me. I came out on the front. In bike I took the risk although it was very hot in the beginning. The run, it was very tough like I started to suffer with my leg muscles, I think I overbiked a little bit. But it was a great day for me. I am very happy to win," he said in a media interview, adding that it was an honor for him to race with world champions and last year's winner Mauricio Mendez, who unfortunately did not finish due to technical trouble with his bike.
The German, cheered on by his parents during the race, continued, "Three weeks ago, (while in training camp in Phuket, Thailand), I just dreamed about racing with them. Now I actually beat them I'm just happy," he added.
Four-time world champion Alexander timed 3:52:21 while compatriots Tim Van Berkel (3:53:05) and Timothy James Reed (3:57:18) finished third and fourth, respectively.
Meanwhile, Kahlefeldt (4:16:52) outlasted Caroline Claudia Steffen (4:19:28) of Switzerland. Aussie Kirralee Seidel (4:28:37) wounded up third.
In a press statement, Kahlefeldt said she's happy to come back and win again. “It was tough and the whole race was hard since I had to fight it out with Steffen. It’s never easy to beat her,” she said.
The rest of the champions: British Thomas Elliott (top age group men overall, male 35-39), Arnaud De Lustrac (male 18-24), Filipino Mervin Santiago (male 25-29), Joel David Liebi (male 30-34), Jefferson Valdez (male 40-44), Sacha De Bilderling (mlae 45-49), Andreas Goros (male 50-54), Thomas A. McInnes (male 55-59), Aussie Mike Dunstan (male 60-64), Davao City's Oscar Escudero (male 65-69), Kilhak Kunimoto (male 70-74), Maria Hodges (top age group women overall, female 30-34), Giulia Bossi (female 25-29), Rie Watanabe (female 35-39), Veronica Uhen (female 40-44), Rhodora Ellis (female 45-49), Petro Kuiper (female 50-54), M.C> Ilagan (female 55-59) and Bridgette Borelli (female 60-64).