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Oscar Galindez wins the inaugural XTERRA Argentina Championship
Oscar Galindez wins the inaugural XTERRA Argentina Championship, Olivier Marceau returns to Saipan for the fourth consecutive season, we preview the third stop on the XTERRA South Africa Tour, remind athletes about the early bird special deadline and glance at the upcoming XTERRA TV listings.
Hometown hero Oscar Galindez stole the show at the inaugural XTERRA Argentina Championship in Carlos Paz on Saturday, edging fellow countryman Max Morales by a little over two minutes with a winning time of 2:27:53. In the women’s elite race Maria Soledad Omar of Argentina won in 3:33:08 ahead of Magdalena Nieto (3:35:39).
While Galindez had some zipper trouble with his wetsuit, American triathlon star Cam Widoff had it much worse when a fall just before transition resulted in a dislocated hip that left him unable to finish. News from the star reports that he’s doing well and on the road to recovery.
“The recovery will only make me stronger,” said Widoff.
XTERRA Argentina - February 17, 2007
1. Oscar Galíndez - 2:27:53
1. María Soledad Omar - 3:33:08
4-IN-A-ROW FOR MARCEAU?:
For the fourth straight year the XTERRA Saipan Championship has the good fortune of welcoming the great Olivier Marceau to the Northern Mariana Islands. Marceau has been one of the world’s best triathletes for more than a decade, finishing in the top 8 at both Olympic triathlon events, winning the 2000 ITU Long Distance World Championship, and placing first at nine XTERRA Championship races.
This season, despite focusing on the World Cup circuit in order to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Marceau made coming to Saipan a priority. Moreover, he actively recruited other athletes to join him.
“For 2007, I propose an unforgettable voyage for you, a mythical race you will never forget. Surely one of the most beautiful that I have done in my 15 years of triathlon throughout the world: XTERRA Saipan,” exclaims Marceau on his website.
Certainly Marceau, with three straight XTERRA Saipan Championship victories, will be the race favorite on March 17. He will have a diverse set of challengers to contend with, however, with a pair of Europeans – Sascha Wingenfeld from Germany and Sam Gardner from Great Britain, joining a pair of Japanese – Taro Shirato and Kyosuke Takei, and an Estonian – Margus Tamm.
Wingenfeld got the better of Gardner at XTERRA Denmark and UK last year, but Gardner placed 4th at XTERRA Spain – four spots ahead of Wingenfeld, in another match-up. Both the Europeans are making their first “voyage” to paradise. Shirato, on the other hand, is making his 6th straight trip to Saipan so course experience is certainly his advantage. Shirato placed 3rd in the men’s pro division last year and Tamm – in his first-ever XTERRA, finished a little more than a minute behind Shirato.
XTERRA SOUTH AFRICA STOP NO.3:
The third leg of the XTERRA South Africa Championship Series is Saturday, Feb. 24 at Buffelspoort Dam, Gauteng. The race consists of a 1.5k swim, 30k mountain bike and 12k trail run. One of the country's top road tri-athletes Kent Horner (24) will be back in action in Gauteng. He made his debut at XTERRA Grabouw in April 2006 and astonished experts by claiming second place in the individual men's category. He finished hot on the heels of XTERRA legend Conrad Stoltz with a mere 1:27 separating them at the finish line. Horner, however, was out of luck during the second event in the SA Series held at Shongweni Dam, Durban in December 2006 when mechanical problems forced him to pull out of the race after only one lap of the mountain-bike route.
"I have now finally taken out the instruction manuals and mastered my new mountain-bike. It's really great having a new bike, but if you don't know how to use it properly, it's actually useless. I am on track with all the disciplines and my fitness is coming on nicely. I can't wait to once again take on the XTERRA," says Horner.
Horner will, however, have to face a tough challenge from reigning XTERRA SA individual men's champion, Lieuwe Boonstra, who will be returning to the XTERRA circuit after a well-deserved rest. Boonstra placed 20th in the men's category at the XTERRA World Championships in Maui.
Other top athletes that will join the action include women's champion Michelle Lombardi, plus Jeannie Bomford, Iain Don-Wauchope, and Russel and Tyronne White.
The XTERRA South Africa Championship takes place on Saturday, April 14 in Grabouw, Western Cape. There, competitors will have the opportunity to qualify for the world championship final in Hawaii.
THE EARLY BIRD IS CHIRPIN:
Athletes have just one more week, until February 28th, to take advantage of the discounted rates on XTERRA Regional Championship events and XTERRA Nevada. The early bird price is $99 for individuals. After Feb. 28, it returns to $115.
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