PHUKET - FREDRIK CRONEBORG of Sweden relied on his strength in cycling and a home-course advantage to grab his maiden victory in the 25th Laguna Phuket Triathlon on Sunday.
The 38-year-old Phuket-based triathlete timed 24.24 minutes for the swimming leg, 1:08.52 for the cycling and 46.09 for the run, reaching the finish line in 2:21.39 for his fifth title of the season after wins in China, Taiwan, Kanchanaburi and Trang.
“I didn’t think I could win this race as I finished second before. Winning here is really special as I live in Phuket and I had many people cheering for me,” said Croneborg, who crossed the line two minutes ahead of Bart Aernouts of Belgium.
The Swede was among the leaders after the sea course competed off the beach at Laguna Phuket. He then produced the best time on the bike to take the lead.
“I have to work hard on the bike knowing that my running is not the best at the moment. I led a little bit going in to the run and tried to keep the other guys behind me all the way,” added Croneborg, who was able to exploit his familiarity with the course.
“I train in the same weather every day and know every corner of this course as I’ve been biking [here] so many years. It’s definitely a home advantage,” said the Swede.
On the women’s side, banker Annabel Luxford of Australia clocked 2:39.50 to beat countrywoman Dmity Lee-Duke (2:42.08) for the title in her tournament debut.
“It’s an event with a lot of adventures and I went to the wrong way once but I’m very happy that I won,” said the 36-year-old from Sydney.
In the Thai category, 38-year-old Jaray Jearanai won his eighth gold medal in 14 attempts since first entering in 2004. His time of 2:34.26 was the best among Thais and eighth overall.
“ I’m so lucky to work with my coach Jurgen Zacck, who is an Ironman legend,” Jaray said.