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Phuket Sports: A tour de force for Froome – Cycling

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Sports: A tour de force for Froome – Cycling | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: First, the bald facts: Chris Froome has triumphed in the hundredth edition of the Tour de France. Last year, victory was claimed by Froome’s Sky team-mate, Sir Bradley Wiggins. Remarkable? Absolutely. They are the first Englishmen to win the world’s most prestigious and demanding cycle race since its inception. By any standards, it is a most extraordinary achievement.

Not only a British triumph, the 21-stage race over 3,500 kilometers has also been one for the purists, the most competitive Tour for some years. Although the mountainous course was probably the most demanding ever, it was consistently exciting, with more breakaways and more riders chancing their arm. The hill finishes were some of the most punishing and hotly contested in recent memory. Even to complete the tour is an athletic feat of the highest order.

If anything, Froome’s achievement is even more emphatic than that of Sir Bradley, whose dominance was based on his superiority in the time-trials. He not only finished four minutes clear of his nearest rivals, but demonstrated an all-round prowess that enabled him to win three stages, including a grueling summit finish at the top of Mont Ventoux.

Even in the last climb of the tour, a climb which humiliated his nearest rival Alberto Contador, he was able to contest the finish. Froome is, moreover, young enough to win the race again and again – a calm, collected young man with remarkable strength of will and powers of recovery. One of his teammates, Ian Stannard, remarked: “He’s definitely changed as a leader. He takes on more responsibility. He [has] really lifted his game.”

As he reached the line on the darkening cobbles of the Champs Elysees, arms linked with his Sky team-mates, and applauded by 350,000 Parisian spectators, one could see the emotion he so clearly felt. As he said later:

“Crossing the line with [the] guys brought tears to my eyes. I expected it to be big, but this is something else.” Ever modest, he referred to the healthy state of British cycling: “The youngsters coming through and the way the sport is moving… [is] something to be proud of.”

Much of the credit must go to Sir Dave Brailsford, who predicted in 2010 that Britain would have a winner by 2015. Well as Sky Chef de Equipe he has master-minded not one, but two victories, two years ahead of schedule.

Of course, the vexed subject of doping came up like a bad penny. Cycling has been badly scarred by drug scandals in recent years with American Lance Armstrong stripped of all seven of his Tour victories and Spaniard Alberto Contador’s 2010 crown expunged from the records. The 2013 Tour de France may well have been the first “clean” race for a very long time.

Both Froome and Brailsford welcomed the new openness in the sport, with Brailsford offering the World Anti-Doping Agency all the data relating to his rider’s performances. Sky also gave the information to French sports paper L’Equipe, where it was analyzed by a researcher. He found no anomalies.

Froome himself declared: “I’m glad I’ve had to face all those questions [from the press]. After all the revelations of the past year, I’m glad it has been channeled towards me.”

In a massive boost of confidence for the race, he concluded: “I’ve been able to deal with it. The peleton is standing together.” It augurs well for the future of this legendary event.

— Patrick Campbell

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Air Pollution

Salty tap water and dirty air – Bangkok’s environmental woes continue today

The Thaiger

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Salty tap water and dirty air – Bangkok’s environmental woes continue today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Government House officials are turning to salt-tolerant plants - khaosod.co.th

Brackish tap water, with increased salinity caused by seawater back-flowing into the Chao Phraya River, is threatening the gardens in and around the Government House compound. Government House officials are seeking assistance from the Agriculture Department.

Several small tree species – Lamduan, Chor Sumalee, Rachavadi, Nom Maew and Hom Muenlee – are more vulnerable to brackish tap water. The gardens are watered from a supply pumped in from the Chao Phraya.

It’s been noted tha the saline level was around 400 milligrams per litre, still within the 1,000 mg/litre standard, but some of the species were already intolerant to the rising salinity.

Officials are seeking advice from the Agriculture Department about long-term measures to replant with species which would be more tolerant to the rising salinity of the water – situation they acknowledge will need to be managed in the short to medium term.

Salty tap water and dirty air - Bangkok's environmental woes continue today | News by The Thaiger

SCREENGRAB: Air Visual

Meanwhile, air around the capital today continues to be universally poor to very poor with readings as high as 187 near Suvarnabhumi Airport. Light airs, dust problems from northern-easter provinces and hot continental air flowing across the capital, continue to haunt Bangkok. Even with many factories closed today, and traffic lighter than weekdays, Bangkok’s air has been recorded as the ninth worst city in the world for air pollution.

Right across the city the air quality readings are into the ‘unhealthy’ zone.

Chiang Mai, Lampang and Central Thailand are fairing no better – all with readings at least 3 times the Thai upper safe limit of 50 microns of 2.5micron particulate per cubic metre. The World Health Organisation sets its limit even lower at 25.

Pattaya has air quality readings today of 162, whilst even Phuket, in the south, is registering readings between 100 and 145 with reduced visibility today.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Salty tap water and dirty air - Bangkok's environmental woes continue today | News by The Thaiger

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Business

Three massive condo developments along Phuket’s up-market Layan Beach

Bill Barnett

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Three massive condo developments along Phuket’s up-market Layan Beach | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Northern end of Layan Beach - True-beachfront

by Bill Barnett – c9hotelworks.com

Two new condo developments are going ahead in the Layan Beach area of Phuket’s up-market west-coast beach strip. And there’s another one underway next to the Dream Beach Club at the northern end of the Layan beach strip. All in all, another 1,200+ keys added to the available rooms along the Bang Tao/Layan Beach area.

On the northern side of Bangtao Beach, next to Maan Tawan and nearby Banyan Tree Phuket is the upcoming Sunshine Beach development. With a plan for 771 hotel and residences units on 12.6 rai, the high-density project is targeting Mainland Chinese buyers with pricing points reportedly starting from 4 million baht. Construction is expected to start in June of this year and complete in 2022.

From our discussion with sales staff the developer has claimed they have reached an agreement with the government for beach fronting facilities in the National Park strip in front of the project.

While in Layan next to Lotus Gardens is the upcoming 400 unit Layan Green Park. Pricing points run from 2.5 million baht. Unit configurations will range from studio, to one, two and three bedrooms. Guaranteed returns of 10% for a period of 10 years are being promoted.

Phuket’s Layan area is seeing a surge in new real estate led projects and rising land values. At the same time as these two projects are underway, next to the Dream Beach is an oceanfront luxury project promoting sales of Grand Beach Villa and Ocean View Suites tagged as ‘N5’. The developer of the project is VIP Thailand who have another project in Rawai.

Based on our research the primary source market tragets of these three projects are mainland Chinese and Russian buyers. Local concerns in the Cherngtalay area over mounting traffic, water shortages and strain on municipal infrastructure are becoming issues.

Traffic in and around the central Cherngtalay shopping district is becoming increasingly clogged with little hope for respite other than improved traffic management.

SOURCE: C9Hotelworks.com

Three massive condo developments along Phuket's up-market Layan Beach | News by The Thaiger

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Business

Minor International battles Marriott over popular Phuket hotel property in court

The Thaiger

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Minor International battles Marriott over popular Phuket hotel property in court | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MINOR International are trying to kick Marriott out of it's Mai Khao property - Booking.com

Marriott International, the American international hotel company, has failed in its bid to secure an injunction in a Thai court to stop a legal claim filed by the Minor International group.

Minor International (MINT) says that its subsidiary MI Squared Ltd had filed a legal claim in a Thai court against Marriott International and the Thai subsidiary Luxury Hotels & Resorts (Thailand) for 570,605,134 baht. The claim is linked to the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa in Mai Khao, which is owned by MINT. In the statement, MINT accuses Marriott of “acting in bad faith” alleging “serious and repeated breaches of Thai law”, according to ttrweekly.com.

The complaint from MINT alleges that Marriott was openly competing with the JW Marriott Phuket through its operation of competing Marriott-branded hotels in Phuket. Claims are made that the Mai Khao hotel uses its facilities to promote Marriott’s other competing Marriott hotels. Another of the complaints accuses Marriott of forcing the JW Marriott Phuket to accept high volumes of low-margin business through the Marriott’s loyalty program.

According to the ttrweekly.com article, the legal dispute includes allegations that Marriott “misappropriated MINT’s confidential and proprietary information” to promote Marriott’s competing hotels and unlawfully benefit Marriott’s own interests at the expense of MINT. The JW Marriott Phuket remains under Marriott’s management for now but “the operating performance has been poor”.

MINT told shareholders total hotel revenue decreased from 920 million in 2013 to 876 million baht last year. Over the same period, gross operating profit fell from 409 million to 379 million baht.

(It should be noted that many of Phuket’s high-end hotels have suffered a similar revenue fall due to increased competition, competitive pressures pushing room rates down and, especially over the past 12 months, a shift in tourist demographics.)

Marriott International issued a statement to ttrweekly.com following a request for comment.

“Marriott International acknowledges that a subsidiary of Minor International has initiated legal action in Thailand against Marriott and one of its Thai subsidiaries. Marriott reiterates that such claim is meritless and should be heard in confidential arbitration.

Our Thai subsidiary recently secured an interim injunction in arbitral proceedings restraining MINT’s subsidiary from pursuing the action in Thailand. We subsequently agreed with MINT to suspend the Thai proceedings pending the final outcome of our ongoing arbitration. As we intend to comply with our contractual confidentiality obligations, we are unable to provide more information at this time.

We consider JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa has performed well compared to the market. The dispute will have no impact on operations at the hotel, which continues to offer guests with world-class service and accommodations, a beachfront location and eleven culinary options.”

SOURCE: ttrweekly.com

Minor International battles Marriott over popular Phuket hotel property in court | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: marriott.com

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