Just when you think you're tough enough


The heat is on Le Bellec in Powerman Asia Duathlon Championship

World number one ranked men's duathlete Gael Le Bellec from France.
World number one ranked men’s duathlete Gael Le Bellec from France. (The Star)

Distance is never the only factor when you’re racing in a multi-sport event on the equator. The closest point to the sun, will bring on the most heat at the Powerman Asia Duathlon Championship in Malaysia this Sunday.

The heat is the biggest challenge facing world No. 1 male duathlete Gael Le Bellec as the Frenchman sets his sights on claiming the Powerman Asia Duathlon Championship title. A combination of running and cycling, the race will flag off from Putrajaya’s iconic Palace of Justice.

Le Bellec and London Olympic silver medallist road time trial cyclist Emma Pooley from England headline this year’s event. Both are also the world’s top ranked male and female duathlete in the prestigious Powerman Series.

Le Bellec, a relative newcomer to the scene but with two successive Powerman Long Distance World Championship titles in 2014 and 2015, is looking to stamp his mark in his first Malaysian appearance.

“It’s only the second time I come to Asia to race after Manila last year. I am used to racing in cooler weather but here I believe is easily double the temperature. It’s going to be a big factor this Sunday. I think the third sector (running) is going to be tough for me. If I keep up well, I have a chance to win it. I am excited and looking forward to the race,” said Bellec, formerly a professional cyclist before switching to duathlon just three years ago.

Despite this, he has surprised the duathlon community by retaining his world title in Zofingen, Switzerland last year – a 10km–150km–30km run-cycle-run, completing the race in 6:20:36.

“It’s not easy for me as I also have a job as a cycling coach. I try to train 15-20 hours a week, mostly on bike,” said the 27-year-old.

The organisers are expecting approximately 3,000 participants from over 35 nations for the event.

Source: The Star