Conrad breezes to XTERRA win
By Wilhelm de Swardt (Beeld)
Easier than expected is how Conrad Stoltz (Falke/Specialized) described his victory in DueSouth Xterra South African mountain-bike triathlon championship.
"I finished 4th in the swim (1.5km). It is my own fault. I neglected my swim training in the past few weeks, but the cycling went fine. I think what made a big difference is the fact that I was much calmer than last year.
"It was definitely not a case of fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I made sure that I took the right lines on the mountain-bike. Falling was never an option for me. I was quite surprised when I caught up with Kent Horner.
"When I asked him how far to the leaders his answer was that we are the leaders. I passed Kent and never looked back. I think I started the run with about a ten minute lead."
Stoltz's winning time for the 1.5km swim, 30km mountain-bike, 12km run was 2 hours 44 minutes and 27 seconds. Dan Hugo was 2nd 2:54:22 and Horner 3rd in 2:56:10. It was the fourth time Stoltz won the SA Xterra championship.
The South African champion is not sure how many Xterra-events he has won up to now, but estimated that Saturday's victory could be his 25th out 40 events.
There is not really time to celebrate his victory. Stoltz flies out this week to California where he will for the second time be participating in half-ironman event (1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run).
"When I was still young and inexperienced I competed in a half-ironman event, but that was really a long time ago.
"The reason I decided to participate in the Wild Flowers Half-Ironman is because there are only six Xterra-events in America and it seemed to me to be a waste of time to stay and train in America for only six races.
The training for a half-ironman and Xterra is very similar so it is not as if I needed to make any big changes. My main goal is still to win the Xterra World Championship," said the two-time World Champion.
Stoltz also plans to participate in the Chicago triathlon (1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run). He won the event a few years back.
However, Stoltz who has represented South Africa twice at the Olympics (2000 and 2004) has no plans to make a fulltime comeback as road triathlete.
"I don't think I''ll ever again participate in an ITU sanctioned triathlon. I prefer the non-drafting triathlons because cycling is my strongest discipline."
As expected the 38-year old Michelle Lombardi (Salomon/Giant) took the honours in the individual women's category. As the swim is not her strongest discipline, she had to make up about two minutes on the mountain-bike leg having to fight hard in order to catch up Hungarian triathlete, Eszter Erdélyi. She managed to do that and then had a superb run to complete the race in 3:19:29.
Hanlie Booyens was 2nd in 3:25:32 and Erdélyi 3rd in 3:27:51.