SWITZERLAND’s Caroline Steffen cemented her legacy in Cebu’s triathlon history with a fifth straight title to her name, while Tim Reed pulled off a back-to-back win in Cebu in the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships, which started and ended at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City yesterday.
Steffen has never lost in Cebu since taking part in 2012, while Reed is also perfect in two attempts in the Queen City of the South.
The 38-year-old Steffen completed the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90K bike and 21K run race in 4 hours 16 minutes and 19 seconds en route to winning her fifth consecutive title in Cebu. Czech Republic’s Radka Vodickova placed second in 4:18:29; Sarah Crowley clocked 4:21:53 for third place; Judith Corachan Vaquera was fourth in 4:31:12 and Dimity-Lee Duke took fifth place in 4:33:30.
“It’s pretty cool. I haven’t won another race for five straight years. I mean that’s five years of staying healthy and fit. It’s pretty stoked, pretty cool,” said Steffen, who took the lead in the 35-kilometer mark of the bike segment.
Steffen made up for the 50-second deficit she had in the swim portion after catching up with Vodickova in the bike. Steffen continuef to increase her lead and finished the bike portion in 2:19:04 and capped it off with a 1:26:05 run.
Steffen said that the atmosphere in Cebu is really great and all the people on the street were somehow a factor on her performances since 2012.
“The people out there apparently know me and call my name which helps you going. Plus I love the course in Cebu and on how the Sunrise Events Inc. organized the race. The event is getting better every year,” said Steffen, who is now the women’s champion in the Asia-Pacific 70.3 race.
Reed was equally impressive in yesterday’s half-Ironman race as he defended the men’s Asia-Pacific 70.3 title and the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines titles. Reed of Team Saucony won back-to-back in Cebu after clocking 3:51:46, beating five-time world champion Craig Alexander, who had a time of 3:55:01.
Sam Betten came third in 3:57:15 to complete an Aussie sweep. New Zealand’s Braden Currie and France’s Antony Costes were in fourth and fifth place with times of 3:58:42 and 4:00:08, respectively.
Reed was the sixth pro triathlete to come out of the water in 24:21; he recovered and zoomed into the lead pack in the bike portion with Canadian Brent McMahon, Alexander, Betten, Costes and Jake Montgomery.
“Brent McMahon and I are trying to work together we were really trying to rid of everyone else who was just sitting there and saving energy. We really wanted to get a gap. Full credit to Brent he had a strong ride but unfortunately it seemed to have paid a bit in the run,” said Reed on racing neck-and-neck to Mcmahon in the bike part.
Reed finished the bike portion with 1:20:03 and started to work more in the run segment and was going for it in the start of the run with McMahon and Alexander closing behind. Reed had a slim lead from the chasing pack in the early goings of the 21K run, while one of the bike pacers Mcmahon suffered from cramps and lost time.
Reed was able to widen the gap for the chasing pack and managed to open up a sizeable lead from closest pursuer, Alexander, with six kilometers left. The 31-year-old Reed went on uncontested in the final phase of the run to defend the Asia-Pacific 70.3 title he won in Auckland last year.
“It feels unreal. To win Asia-Pacific 70.3 title was a dream for me, and to win twice was more than I ever expected,” Reed said in an interview after the race.
Reed was overwhelmed with the win but feels a little bit disappointed as one of his buddies Tim Van Berkel, who was his closest foe last year, was unable to race.
Berkel crashed on his bike during a pre-ride a day before the race and hit the deck face first, and injured his arm. Berkel and Reed had a close race last year and with only two seconds separating the Aussies.
“I’m pretty embarrassed about crashing on a training ride. I’ll recover and bounce back and I’ll be back,” Berkel said, who recently won the full-Ironman Asia-Pacific Championships and is preparing for the Ironman World Championships.
“Berkel is one my best friends and I’m upset he was not able to race. There’s part of me saying great he’s not racing but another part of me was upset since we had a great battle last year. It was very disappointing for him and I feel bad for him,” said Reed.
The Cobra Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships covered the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay and Lapu-Lapu. The event had a total cash purse of $75,000 for the pros and elites.