(Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands) – Aussie Ben Allen and Austrian Carina Wasle won the 13th running of the XTERRA Saipan Championship on a breezy and beautiful Saturday morning in the Northern Marianas.
It’s Allen’s 3rd-straight win in Saipan, his second victory on the World Tour in as many weeks (he won XTERRA in Australia last weekend) and the 14th of his career.
“Never gets any easier, that’s for sure,” said Allen. “Dan (Hugo) and I broke away from the main pack in the swim and then went back-and-forth on the bike almost the whole way.”
Hugo had a noteworthy swim that put him just 15-seconds back of Allen at the swim-to-bike transition where often that difference has been upwards of a minute.
“There was quite a bit of current pushing around, and a bit of wind-chop, it made the swim about as fun as can be and I was able to stay with Ben most of the way,” said Hugo, who entered the event having already won XTERRA World Tour race titles in South Africa, the Philippines, and Guam last weekend.
Out on the bike the duo drove an even larger wedge between themselves and the rest of the field. Allen’s bike split was six seconds faster than Hugo then it was another 3:30 to the third-best bike time posted by Kiwi Olly Shaw.
“It was great racing, Dan was right on my wheel and really pushing the whole way,” said Allen.
“He had me covered,” said Hugo. “I was trying to be aggressive on the bike, and over the top I might have got 10-seconds on him and was hoping to build on that but he was superb on the technical stuff. I took a bad line at one point and that 10 seconds up turned into 10-seconds down. I’ll tell you, I enjoyed the dual, it was a fair fight, a great tussle.”
Allen took a 20-second lead into the signature Saipan run course and then put the hammer down.
“I went well beyond my limitations up the initial climbs trying to put time on Dan,” said Allen. It was out-of-sight; out-of-mind and Allen posted the fastest run of the day by almost four minutes for a winning time of 2:34:29.
“I made a few mistakes, but salute to the victor, he thrives in the hot, humid conditions and was just brilliant today,” said Hugo, who will now head to the U.S. to help kick-start the Pro Series at the XTERRA West Championship at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada next Sunday, April 13.
Allen, on the other hand, heads to Rotorua in pursuit of another three-peat, this time at the XTERRA New Zealand Championship on Saturday, April 12 where Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz awaits his arrival. Hugo and Allen will then meet up once again - along with a cast of stars - at the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship at Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia on April 26.
Brad Weiss was solid all-around to finish 3rd in Saipan for the second year in a row. It’s Weiss’ fourth top 4 finish of the season, and he’ll head to Vegas for next week’s West Championship as well.
Olly Shaw came in fourth while three-time Olympian Olivier Marceau rounded out the top five. There were a dozen elite men from nine countries in this year’s race, all of whom enjoyed the training and racing opportunities in Saipan.
“It’s been a great three weeks from the Philippines to Guam to here on Saipan,” said Hugo. “Brad and I set-up training camp, enjoyed the simple living and island life. Saipan is an amazing sporting destination.”
Allen agreed, adding that the 50-meter pool, ocean conditions, climbing, single track, and friendly laid back locals create an ideal atmosphere to train and race.
“I made a point to come from Australia to Saipan instead of going straight to New Zealand because of the people involved in the organization here," said Allen. "Wolf (Mojica) and his whole team put their heart and soul into this and it really comes across to the athletes. It makes me want to give back to Saipan, and ensure his legacy continues year-after-year. It’s one of the most challenging courses on the tour, and I’ve done almost all of them. It really tests your abilities to see what you’re capable of, and it was great to see so many guys come out this year. The field is getting bigger and bigger, it’s testament to the word we athletes spread around about how special this place really is.”
|1||Ben Allen, AUS||2:34:29||20:18||1:22:20||50:35|
|2||Dan Hugo, RSA||2:39:01||20:33||1:22:26||54:41|
|3||Brad Weiss, RSA||2:44:11||21:18||1:26:45||54:25|
|4||Olly Shaw, NZ||2:45:54||22:34||1:25:59||55:33|
|5||Olivier Marceau, SUI||2:49:48||22:45||1:28:35||56:50|
|6||Nico Sterk, RSA||2:52:56||22:41||1:28:46||59:46|
|7||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||2:54:48||25:31||1:29:45||57:39|
|8||Markus Benesch, AUT||3:00:33||22:47||1:33:29||1:02:26|
|9||Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS||3:01:24||26:15||1:33:46||59:27|
|10||Mark Leishman, NZL||3:02:51||26:41||1:34:16||1:00:16|
|Also: Charlie Epperson, Michal Bucek|
WASLE WINS WOMEN’S RACE
Carina Wasle put together the “perfect day” to win her first XTERRA major since 2011 and her first in four-years of trying on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour.
Defending champ Jacqui Slack took the early lead out of the swim, with Mieko Carey close behind, Renata Bucher more than a minute back and Wasle over two minutes behind.
Bucher, a 7-time XTERRA Saipan Champ, took the lead on the bike with the fastest split of the day and headed out on to the run with a two-minute gap on Wasle but it wasn’t enough.
“I pushed really hard on the bike and felt good but Carina was a lot stronger on the run today,” said Bucher, who will stay on in Saipan and race in next week’s Tagaman road tri. “I can tell you already a fantastic week, it’s a wonderful life here.”
Wasle posted the fastest run-split of the day, the only woman to run the grueling jungle course in less than an hour.
“It was a very good race for me,” said Wasle, who picked up her 8th XTERRA World Tour race victory. “I’m so very happy. The last two races Renata out-sprinted me to the finish. I lost in the last 50-meters in the Philippines, then missed an arrow and got lost in Guam so it’s very special to win.”
Slack rolled in to third, overcoming some nagging injuries, with fan-favorite Mieko Carey in fourth and Yasuko Miyazaki in fifth.
|1||Carina Wasle, AUT||3:06:31||26:23||1:40:29||57:58|
|2||Renata Bucher, SUI||3:07:41||25:35||1:38:54||1:01:24|
|3||Jacqui Slack, GBR||3:12:21||24:18||1:42:36||1:03:50|
|4||Mieko Carey, JPN||3:16:32||24:43||1:44:21||1:05:56|
|5||Yasuko Miyazaki, JPN||4:08:42||27:19||2:31:06||1:07:36|
Chuck Fortier from Canada and Erin Johnson from Guam won the overall men’s and women’s amateur titles for the second week in a row (they were also the top age-group finishers at XTERRA Guam last week).
|XTERRA SAIPAN ALL-TIME PRO WINNERS|
|2002||Mike Vine||Jamie Whitmore|
|2003||Jason Chalker||Jamie Whitmore|
|2004||Olivier Marceau||Jamie Whitmore|
|2005||Olivier Marceau||Renata Bucher|
|2006||Olivier Marceau||Renata Bucher|
|2007||Olivier Marceau||Renata Bucher|
|2008||Andrew Noble||Renata Bucher|
|2009||Sam Gardner||Renata Bucher|
|2010||Sam Gardner||Renata Bucher|
|2011||Sam Gardner||Shonny Vanlandingham|
|2012||Ben Allen||Renata Bucher|
|2013||Ben Allen||Jacqui Slack|
|2014||Ben Allen||Carina Wasle|
2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING EVENTS
XTERRA Saipan was the seventh of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014. Up next, the XTERRA New Zealand Championship on April 12th and the start of the U.S. Pro Series with the XTERRA West Championship in Nevada on April 13.
|Date||Race||Location / Pro Winners
|23-Feb||XTERRA South Africa||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|8-Mar||XTERRA Motatapu||Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels|
|15-Mar||XTERRA Philippines Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Guam Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Costa Rica||Leonardo Chacon / Shonny Vanlandingham|
|30-Mar||XTERRA Great Ocean Road
||Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack|
|5-Apr||XTERRA Saipan Championship||Ben Allen / Carina Wasle|
|12-Apr||XTERRA New Zealand Championship||Rotorua|
|13-Apr||XTERRA West Championship||Lake Las Vegas, Nevada|
|26-Apr||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship||Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia|
|17-May||XTERRA Southeast Championship||Pelham, Alabama|
|24-May||XTERRA Mauritius||Bois Cheri|
|25-May||XTERRA Spain Championship||Cieza, Murcia|
|8-Jun||XTERRA Brazil Championship||Ilhabela, Sao Paulo|
|15-Jun||XTERRA East Championship||Richmond, Virginia|
|21-Jun||XTERRA Greece||Lake Plastira|
|28-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland Championship||Vallee de Joux|
|5-Jul||XTERRA Ontario - Canadian Cross Tri Championship||Milton, Ontario, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA France Championship||Xonrupt, Gerardmer|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Victoria||British Columbia, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Freedom Fest||Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii|
|19-Jul||XTERRA Mountain Championship||Beaver Creek Resort, Avon, Colorado|
|20-Jul||XTERRA Ireland||Killaloe, County Clare|
|26-Jul||XTERRA Italy Championship||Abruzzo, Scanno|
|2-Aug||XTERRA Mexico Championship||Tapalpa, Jalisco|
|9-Aug||XTERRA Czech Championship||Prachatice|
|16-Aug||XTERRA Germany Championship||Zittau|
|17-Aug||XTERRA Canmore||Alberta, Canada|
|24-Aug||XTERRA England||Cranleigh, Surrey|
|31-Aug||XTERRA Quebec||Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada|
|7-Sep||XTERRA Sleeping Giant||Thundery Bay, Ontario, Canada|
|20-Sep||XTERRA USA Championship||Ogden/Snowbasin, UT|
|26-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Maui, Hawaii|
About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA
TEAM Unlimited is a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, founded in 1988. It owns and produces XTERRA and in 2014 will offer more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 25+ countries worldwide. In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence since 1990. View samples at www.xterra.tv, and learn more at xterraplanet.com and xterratrailrun.com.