Galea, Vella Wood make it a Saints double

Monday, July 22, 2013, 8:48

The second race of the Festina The Cyclist Birkirkara St. Joseph Triathlon Series 2013 was an extraordinary event with 124 participants taking part individually and in teams. Returning to its “home” location on the Salina – Bahar ic-Caghaq Coast Road, the event was a spectacular one, held in perfect weather conditions. It also proved to be a double for Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club, with victories in both the Males and the Females categories. National Champion Keith Galea and team-mate Michelle Vella Wood carried the top honours for their Club with outstanding performances in their respective races.

Galea was first out of the 750-metre swim in a time of 11 minutes, 11 seconds, followed by Graham Borg of Agones S.C. (11:21), and Birkirkara St. Joseph’s David Agius Lia (11:35). In the 20-kilometre bike segment of the race, Galea was closely chased by team-mate Steve Chetcuti and national duathlon champion Fabio Spiteri of Mellieha A.C., while Borg sustained his challenge throughout this segment. Top places continued to change in the final 5-kilometre run.

However Galea set a relentless pace on dismounting his bike. Veteran David Galea of Agones,with the best bike time, could have been a threat to the leader, but his run let him down. With Keith Galea’s victory wrapped up in a time of 59 minutes, 34 seconds, all eyes were on Chetcuti and Spiteri. The former finished in 1 hour, 23 seconds, 9 seconds ahead of the Mellieha man.

Hardly having enough time to recover from a record breaking time in an Ironman Triathlon for a female Maltese triathlete, Birkirkara St. Joseph’s Michelle Vella Wood turned on another winning performance to finish the race in 1 hour, four minutes, 50 seconds. However she had to dig deep into her reserves to ward off the stiff challenge of Hannah Pace of Agones S.C.

National champion Danica Bonello Spiteri was first out of the 750-metre swim in 11 minutes, 18 seconds, leading Pace by 5 seconds. At this stage Vella Wood trailed by one minute, going into the 20-kilometre bike. By the end of this segment of the race, only 14 seconds separated her from race leader Pace, relegating Bonello Spiteri to third place. The final 5-kilometre run was crucial for the Birkirkara triathlete, and with her rival well in sight, the race was on. Her 19 minutes,56 seconds 5-kilometre run was enough to finish first, with Pace finishing 20 seconds behind. Bonello Spiteri was third in one hour, 5 minutes, 59 seconds.

The relay race was won by a team made up of L. Cachia (Swim), P. Borg (Bike) and M. Rota (Run) in a time of 58 minutes, 9 seconds. The race was organised under the auspices of the Malta Triathlon Federation. The third race of this Series will be held on Sunday, 25 August, 2013.

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