SUBIC - Former pro cyclists Dominico Passuello of Italy and Emma Pooley of Great Britain topped the men and women's elite races in the Yellow Cab Challenge Philippines Subic-Bataan triathlon on Saturday.
First-time visitor Dominico Passuello of Italy completed the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90-km bike and 21.1-km run course in four hours, four minutes and 22 seconds, maintaining a safe distance from runner-up Dane Rasmus Petraeus who finished in 4:09:04. Australian Mitch Robbins took third place in 4:13:11.
The 37-year old from Livorno in Tuscany said the race was "really hot" and admitted he was concerned about Erasmus during the bike stage but was confident he could beat him in the run.
"I just maintained my effort. It was during the second half of the bike - it was too hot to push too much for an assault. When I reached Erasmus I pushed a lot in the 60 km part to make a gap between me and him," Passuello told reporters at the finish line.
Pooley, a native of Norwich, improved on her third place finish from last year by completing the course in 4 hours, 41 minutes and 51 seconds, leaving fellow Briton Parys Edwards (4:53:19) in a battle for second place with American favorite Kelly Williamson who clocked 4:57:14.
The Beijing Olympics cycling silver medalist said she had a poor swim and was a long way behind so she attacked the hills and the corners in the bike stage which she treated like a road race, eventually catching Williamson in the first turnaround and Edwards in the second.
Pooley was also a cycling world time trial champion in 2010.
Tri United's August Benedicto was the fastest Filipino Elite, finishing 10th overall in 4:46:55. Monica Torres of Navy-Standard Insurance maintained her reputation as the leading Filipina triathlete with 3:40:13 that was good for 31st overall.
The first leg of Challenge Philippines drew a total of 729 participants that included several international racers from Australia, Britain, Germany, USA, Denmark, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Japan, Thailand Singapore and Hong Kong.