The best-of-the-best from the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour, 20 elites representing 10 countries, are headed to Langkawi, Malaysia for the 2017 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race this Saturday, April 29.
In the men’s race the top four ranked elites on tour; Bradley Weiss from South Africa, Sam Osborne and Kieran McPherson of New Zealand, and Ben Allen from Australia have all proven capable of winning big on any given day.
As proof, Weiss won at XTERRA Philippines on Sunday, Osborne won the first and third stops on the Tour at XTERRA Saipan and New Zealand, McPherson won the second stop at XTERRA Thailand, and Allen is the reigning Asia-Pacific Tour Champion.
Weiss, who put in a herculean effort to take the Danao title in a time of 3 hours, 16 minutes, said “I will have to see how the body pulls up after the race to decide how I am going to tackle the course in Langkawi. If you take Reunion into account I will be doing three world tour championship level races in 13 days which is a big ask for the body but I am feeling fit and well prepared so hopefully I have enough in the tank to execute three solid races.”
As for Osborne, who sits atop the tour standings after the first four races with two wins and a runner-up showing to Weiss on Sunday, the thrill of racing is all the motivation he needs.
“There’s one thing I’m a big believer in, and that is if you don’t enjoy it don’t go there,” said Osborne. “100% I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I love to race, I’ve got myself hooked on it. I’m going to race XTERRA all year, there is just so much racing going on that anything else won’t fit. And to be fair, the intensity I craved from the ITU racing is coming into XTERRA now anyway, which is what I love. You look at how these races are going and see we have a lot of players together mixing it up for a good portion of the race.”
Allen, coming off a tough day in the Philippines where he finished fourth despite repeated mechanicals on the bike, is simply looking forward to another chance.
“I feel more and more confident as the tour goes on,” he said. “I need to be patient and continue to work hard every day. The tour is long and it’s not won on one race but many. So being smart in training and staying healthy traveling to and from the races just so you can make the start line is key. Goal is to execute my race plan to the best of my ability. If I can do that then the result will take care of itself. I have the tools in the shed, it’s what happens on the day that counts. That’s why I love racing, you never know what’s going to happen!”
One thing for sure to happen in Langkawi, however, is a brutal course.
“The Langkawi course is ruthless,” explained Allen, who won last year’s race in Langkawi with a winning time of 2 hours 55 minutes. “Insane heat, hills, and the jungle is literally growing so fast it feels as though it’s trying to eat you. You finish completely exhausted but with a sense of achievement knowing you wrestled with a jungle beast.”
Despite the difficulty of the challenge, Osborne said the joy is in the adventure.
“The sport really does take you to some incredible parts of the world and most of the time its places I would have never thought of going myself had I been planning a trip. It’s my first-time to all these destinations and I’m having a blast. Just look at Saipan. I put my goggles on and swam on out to the old WW2 tank and ship wrecks. Very raw untouched history, and I don’t think you can put a cash value on those kinds of experiences. I can’t wait to see what’s waiting for me in Langkawi!”
The line-up for the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship elite men’s race is as deep as it is international, with other contenders to include Olly Shaw (NZL), Alex Hunt (AUS), Akihiko Maeda (JPN), Taylor Charlton (AUS), Alex Roberts (NZL), Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN), David Ballesteros (ESP), Jacky Boisset (FRA), Will Kelsay (USA), and Joe Miller (PHI).
In the women’s chase Carina Wasle is looking to make it a career-year in one-month. A win on Saturday would be her third in 13 days. She captured the XTERRA Reunion title on April 16, XTERRA Philippines on April 23, and is looking for victory No. 3 in a row this weekend.
“I never won the APAC Tour or the European Tour, so it would be great to win the APAC Tour this year,” said Wasle. “I love racing. Maybe sometimes I race too much. So, after Langkawi I have a little break from racing and a good training block to be ready for the European Tour.”
Wasle, who has won 16 majors in her well-traveled 13-year career, is currently leading the Asia-Pacific Tour after big wins at XTERRA Saipan and the Philippines.
Victory will not come easy, however, as last year’s winner Jacqui Allen will be motivated to defend her title after having to pull out of Sunday’s race in the Philippines with dehydration issues.
“I’m excited to tow the start line in Malaysia, and determined to execute a race I can be happy with,” said Allen, who captured the XTERRA New Zealand Championship crown on April 8.
The wild card is Myriam Guillot-Boisset, the 2016 XTERRA Argentina and XTERRA Costa Rica Champion who finished fourth at XTERRA Worlds last year behind only Flora Duffy, Lesley Paterson, and Suzie Snyder.
In addition, Aussie Leela Hancox, in her first-year racing elite, is eager to prove what she can do in the pro field after winning the 35-39 division ITU Cross Tri World Championship in November of 2016.
The race starts with a 1.5km swim in the reserved bay of beautiful Pantai Kok, one of Langkawi’s top beaches, with a view of the islands tallest summit at Machingchang Mount (708 meters). The 38km mountain bike course traverses verdant forest land that is part of the UNESCO-recognized Geopark of Langkawi, and the 11km run crosses several streams including the popular Telaga Tujuh Waterfall.
Visit Facebook.com/XTERRAPlanet for pre-race interviews, photo galleries, and race results from Saturday’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship.
Elite Men’s Start List
2017 XTERRA Asia Pacific Tour Rank – Name (Nationality)
1 – Sam Osborne (NZL)
2 – Kieran McPherson (NZL)
3 – Ben Allen (AUS)
4 – Bradley Weiss (RSA)
5 – Will Kelsay (USA)
7 – Olly Shaw (NZL)
9 – David Ballesteros (ESP)
10 – Taylor Chartlon (AUS)
11 – Joe Miller (PHI)
12 – Alex Roberts (NZL)
17 – Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN)
25 – Akihiko Maeda (JPN)
NR – Jacky Boisset (FRA)
NR – Alex Hunt (AUS)
Elite Women’s Start List
2017 XTERRA Asia Pacific Tour Rank – Name (Nationality)
1 – Carina Wasle (AUT)
4 – Jacqui Allen (GBR)
NR – Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA)
NR – Leela Hancox (AUS)
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race is the fifth of seven races on this year’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour. Elites and amateurs can enter as many races as they want and score points by finishing in the top 15 of their division. There are two 100-point scale “Gold” races (Danao and Langkawi) and the remainder are 75-point scale “Silver” races. The male and female elite athlete with the most points at the end of the season earns the title of XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion and the largest share of the $10,000 USD tour bonus. Amateur athletes with the most points at the end of the season – by gender and age group – earns the title of XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion and a qualifying spot into the XTERRA World Championship race to be held Oct. 29, 2017 in Kapalua, Maui.
It is not necessary to qualify, nor be from the Asia-Pacific region, to race at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, which doubles as the XTERRA Malaysia Championship. This is a one day award as opposed to the Tour Championship which counts all races. In Langkawi, the top overall finisher, regardless of nationality, in each age group will be honored as the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champion. The top Malaysian finisher in each age group will be named the XTERRA Malaysia Champion.
For updated standings and more information regarding the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour visit http://www.xterraplanet.com/asian-tour.