Czech ace eyes Ironman 70.3 crown in Cebu

PETR LUKOSZ sets out as the man to beat in the Megaworld Ironman 70.3 Philippines blasting off Sunday in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, all fired up to nail the crown against a mix of international bidders five months after dominating the full Ironman race in Subic.

The 40-year-old Czech ace bucked extreme heat and lack of competitions to rule the Subic joust (3.8-km swim, 180-km bike and 42-km run) in nine hours, 52 minutes and 34 seconds, nearly an hour ahead of second placer Filipino Jethro Ramos.

That makes him the triathlete to watch in the upcoming 1.9-km swim, 90-km bike and 21-km run race presented by AIA Vitality which drew 1,898 bidders from 46 countries, which offers titles in 12 age-group categories on a refreshed racecourse.

Lukosz and Ramos also head the 40-44 division of the event which also features competitions in the all-male and all-female relay and mixed relay. Also up for grabs is the CEO division trophy.

Lanao del Norte’s Satar Salem, who topped the Sun Life 5150 Bohol last month, is also tipped to contend for the overall championship and in the 25-29 age category.

Other titles to be disputed in the event, backed by Active, Breitling 1884, Gatorade, Hoka and ROKA, are the 18-24, 30-34, 35-39, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69. 70-74 and 75-and-above.

A total of 222 bidders are also vying in the Ironman Saturday, which ushers in the Ironman weekend.

“For all the athletes, it is time for your preparations to pay off and enjoy the experience. We understand the effort and sacrifice that you have made to prepare fot his event and our IRONMAN team stands ready to help you achieve your goals,” said Jeff Edwards, managing director of IRONMAN Asia.

The press conference for the Ironman 70.3 will be held at 3 p.m. today (Friday) with the Ironman race briefing set at 5 p.m. on Facebook live.

Edwards also cited the event’s partners, volunteers, supporters and the local community for their all-out support to ensure the successful staging of the event billed as the crown jewel of Asian triathlon.

Race director Neville Manaois also expects a fast but exhausting race against time in the bike stage given the reconfigured racecourse that will take the triathletes over the CCLEX bridge, which connects Lapu-Lapu City to the Municipality of Cordova.