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Triathlon champs coming to Challenge Laguna Phuket

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PHUKET: Reigning World Champion Pete “PJ” Jacobs has confirmed he will race the inaugural Challenge Laguna Phuket half distance triathlon on December 1 – setting up an intriguing contest with fellow Australian Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack, the defending title-holder and two-time world champion, for a slice of the race’s 25,000 euro prize purse.

The elite pair will compete at Challenge Laguna Phuket less than two months after the 2013 World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where they’re expected to be among the top athletes vying for the coveted honor, with McCormack bidding for a third title to cement his legendary status and Jacobs defending his 2012 crown.

At Challenge Laguna Phuket they are among a pro field that also boasts world champion and defending Laguna Phuket women’s champion Melissa Hauschildt, together with her 2012 Phuket podium finishers Radka Vodickova and Belinda Granger.

Jacobs is making his debut in Phuket and his duel with McCormack may see him at a disadvantage – McCormack is familiar with the testing course and will also have raced the Laguna Phuket Triathlon a week earlier on November 24, the 20th edition of the legendary race that launches the week-long Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest.

But Jacobs, a three-time top ten finisher at the world championships before he lifted his 2012 crown, has a record of posting top swim and run times.

At 31, he’s almost 10 years younger than McCormack and is relishing the prospect of racing against him on Phuket’s tropical paradise course.

“I’m definitely going to be motivated to stay healthy and in good shape after Kona to race against Macca in Phuket,” Jacobs said.

McCormack said: “It’s great to have PJ join the pro start list for Phuket. He’s an amazing talent and as current world champion will be the major favorite for this race.”

The Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest has drawn worldwide interest with more than 600 athletes now signed up for the 20th anniversary edition of the Laguna Phuket Triathlon, and keen demand for the Challenge Laguna Phuket half distance triathlon. Fields in excess of 1,000 athletes are expected for each race.

The Laguna Phuket Triathlon on November 24 will be contested over a 1.8km swim, 55km bike ride and 12km run. The Challenge Laguna Phuket half distance triathlon on December 1 features a 1.9km swim followed by a 90km bike and half marathon 21km run.

Pros will compete for a total Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest prize purse of US$ 57,000, with US$15,000 on offer in the Laguna Phuket Triathlon; 25,000 euro in Challenge Laguna Phuket – and a bonus US$ 10,000 for the top fastest combined times in both events.

The Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest is sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and PGTV’s nationally-broadcast ‘Phuket Today’ show. ‘Phuket Today’ is aired eight times a week on True Visions (channels 99 and 58).

 

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