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Mendez braces for IRONMAN title defense

August 10, 2019

Mendez braces for IRONMAN title defense 1

LAPU-LAPU CITY, CEBU: Mexican triathlete Mauricio Mendez is not expecting another bike mishap when he defends his title in the Regent Aguila IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship presented by Philam Vitality that will start and end at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa here on Sunday.

Mendez was troubled by a deflated tire early in the bike phase of his title-retention bid in the 70.3 Davao last March. That cost the 23-year old racer the crown as he was not able to finish the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90km bike, 21.1k run event, allowing Markus Rolli of Germany to win.

“I really made sure that my bike is perfectly well. I hope to have the best mechanical work. If that goes well, the race is going to be perfect,” said Mendez, the youngest male pro in this event.

“We all want to win. After being in the Philippines and having all these love from the people, I will do my best, give everything I can and go for the win,” he added.

Former 70.3 world champion Tim Reed of Australia, however, is raring to reclaim the Asia-Pacific title he last won in 2016.

“This is a very special event for me and it’s no secret. I really mark this as one of my top races,” said the two-time Asia-Pacific winner.

Also seeing action in the male pro division that will start at 6:20 a.m. are Tim Van Berkel of Australia, Eric Watson of Bahrain, 2008 70.3 world champ Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand and Olympic distance specialists Mitch Robins of Australia and Jakub Langhammer of Czech Republic.

Also competing in the men’s side are Australians Blake Kappler, Justin Ghosh, Luke McKenzie and Lindsey Lawry, New Zealander Mike Philips and Taiwanese Shen Yen-Hsieh.

Meanwhile, Swiss star Caroline Steffen is the favorite in the women’s pro category with the absence of reigning titlist Radka Kahlefeldt of Czech Republic who is nursing an injury.

“Just try to do my best this Sunday without her (Kahlefeldt),” said Steffen.

The five-time 70.3 champ Steffen will be in for a tough competition against Dimity Lee Duke, Laura Dennis and Amanda Wilson of Australia, Laura Wood of New Zealand, Manami Iijima of Guam, Beth McKenzie of USA and Frankie Sanjana of Great Britain in the female pros race that will begin at 6:20 a.m.

Celebrating its 11th year in the country and its eighth edition in Cebu, this year’s edition of the prestigious Ironman triathlon race is expecting more than 2,200 participants from a record-high 57 countries.

“It will be a great race and see you at the finish line,” said Fred Uytengsu, founder of Sunrise Events, Inc. which recently became part of the Ironman group.

Kicking off the series of Ironman events is the 4th Herbalife IRONGIRL at press time. The 5km fun run attracted 2,000 participants.

IronKids rolls off

Hometown bet Moira Erediano shoots for her fifth title in what could be her last race in the Alaska Fortified IronKids today.

Erediano will attempt to dominate anew the 400-meter swim, 12km bike and 4km 13-14 age race.

Nearly 400 participants will see action in the IronKids that marks its fourth edition this year.

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