AS expected, Belgian pro Anthony Devos and the country’s undisputed long-distance triathlon queen Monica Torres ruled the inaugural Ilocos Heritage Tri 113 in Ilocos Sur.
The heavy-favorite Devos surged past Canadian expatriate Mathieu O’Halloran some 200 meters into the 90-km bike leg after the 1.9 km swim at Santiago Cove and never looked back from there.
Torres likewise did the same in the distaff side the moment she grabbed the lead at the 40-km mark of the cycling phase.
Devos hit the wire at the Heritage Village after biking through Condon City and six coastal towns, while running a half marathon (21.1km) around Vigan City in four hours 16 minutes, and 31 seconds, improving the time of 4:19:59 he posted last August in Cebu.
In the absence of a strong challenge, Torres, winner of the Narvacan Triathlon, finished with a time of 5:07:00, a far cry from her personal best.
O’Halloran, winner of the Condon City and Narvacan (Ilocos) Triathlons this year, clocked 4:21:52 to settle for runner-up honor in the meet presented by Congressman Eric Singson, Gov. Ryan Singson, City Governments of Vigan and Candon under Mayor Eva Marie Singson-Medina and Mayor Ericson Singson, Pepsi Cola, Save More SM Market, Extreme Magic Sing, Santiago Cove Resort and Spa, Candon Hotel, Vigan Plaza Hotel, and Luna Hotel.
Rounding out the podium finishers were former No. 1 national duathlete August Benedicto (4:25:13) and former national triathlon champion LC Langit (5:43:57).
“When I saw Mathieu having trouble with his bike shoe in the early going of the cycle leg, I made my move and then steadily widened the gap. I knew he was a strong runner,” said Devos, married for three years now to Cebuana Carlen Tigue.
Joyette Jopson, girlfriend of O’Halloran, also finished runner-up behind Torres with a time of 5:24:18
Congressman Singson and Governor Singson handed the P50,000 cash prize and trophies – crafted by National Artist Napoleon Abueva – to both Devos and Torres.