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O’Donnell wins Phuket’s inaugural Ironman 70.3



PHUKET: Former US Navy lieutenant Tim O’Donnell today dominated the formidable 50-strong field of some 800 competitors to win the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship at Laguna Phuket in just under four hours.

The American, whose impressive 2010 season included the Ironman 70.3 Florida title, was first out of the water from the 1.9km swim in 24 minutes 34 seconds.

He stretched his lead on the 90km bike course with a time of 2:13:04 and finished the 21.1km run in 1:19:44 for a total time of 3:59:42 to claim the US$12,000 title.

Massimo Cigano, winner of last weekend’s 17th annual Laguna Phuket Triathlon, finished second in 4:01:52, just over two minutes behind O’Donnell.

Hideo Fukui of Japan placed third in 4:04:00.

“This was my first time to race in Phuket and this is a truly world-class event,” said O’Donnell.

“The bike course was unbelievable with some really tough hills, but all the support from the spectators really got me pumped up. I’d done my homework on the bridge bike dismount; I had a plan to get across fast and efficiently, and it worked.”

In the women’s event, Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen today won her fourth Ironman 70.3 title this year.

Ironman World Championship runner-up in Hawaii, Steffen today battled with 13-time Ironman champion and last weekend’s Laguna Phuket winner Belinda Granger on the steep inclines of the bike course, before pulling away from the Australian to lead entering the run.

She then proved too strong for the chasing pack, finishing nearly five minutes ahead of nearest rival Melissa Rollison of Australia, who overhauled Granger on the run.

Steffen, also making her debut in Phuket, completed the triathlon with a swim of 26:31; bike ride of 2:23:03 and a run of 1:27:17 for a total time of 4:20:13.

Rollison finished second in 4:24:53, and Granger held off a late challenge from fellow Australian Michelle Wu to take third place in 4:30:49.


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