Mendez, Kahlefeldt clinch Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific titles
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines – It's like Mauricio Mendez and Radka Kahlefeldt never left the Philippines.
After winning the Ironman 70.3 titles in Davao in March, Mexico's Mendez and the Czech Republic's Kahlefeldt continued flashing their fine forms in the country to clinch their first Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific championship titles in Mactan, Cebu, on Sunday, August 5.
Mendez clocked 3 hours, 46 minutes, and 44 seconds in the 113-km race. He overtook Australia's Braden Currie and Bermuda's Tyler Butterfield for the lead in the run stage after trailing at 7th place at the end of the bike part.
"This was my biggest win of my career. I'm super happy, I trained myself to win, but I didn't know what to expect because everyone was doing the same, they are all super strong athletes," said Mendez.
The 22-year-old also admitted that the transition to the run was one of the hardest for him because of the tight bike race.
"I think the run (was the most difficult). Because when we started the run, we were like 7 guys out there so it was a really fast run, a really big effort since the beginning," added the Mexican champion.
Mendez's closest competitors Butterfield (3:47:39) landed second and Currie placed 3rd with a 3:48:12 clocking.
Kahlefeldt, on the other hand, made her best finish of 4:12:13 as she broke away from 5th placer Lauren Brandon the competition at the start of the run stage.
"I think this is my best result. A championship title and in such a strong field, it's even better," said the women's pro champion.
This year, the Czech national has taken two titles in the Philippines after giving birth to her daughter Ruby last January. In this race, she had her 7-month old baby and her husband waiting for her at the finish line.
"It’s amazing of course to finish, to win and to see a happy baby and a happy husband at the finish line. It's the best feeling. I can't wait to give baby Ruby cuddles and just talk with my husband," said the new mother.
American Lauren Goss finished second to Kahlefeldt but was disqualified for not stopping at the penalty tent after she picked up a blocking violation during the first lap of the bike stage.
This allowed 2016 Asia-Pacific champion Caroline Steffen to take second place and catapulted Australia's Melissa Hauschildt to the podium.
Mendez and Kahlefedlt will be seeing action the 2018 South Africa Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September.
The men's pro champion, however, will be eyeing for the title in the XTERRA World Championships this coming October after he finished 2nd last year.
"I’m going to South Africa for the World Championship Ironman 70.3, and I have a lot of events this year and I have the XTERRA World championship in October. I hope to do well in both races," said Mendez. – Rappler.com