(Rotorua, New Zealand) – Olympians Conrad Stoltz of South Africa and Barbara Riveros of Chile captured the 12th annual XTERRA New Zealand Championship race on a beautiful Saturday morning around the Blue Lake in Rotorua.
Stoltz, a four-time XTERRA World Champion and three-time ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion, set his sights on discovering the adventure and thrill of racing in some of the world’s most amazing venues in 2014 and got off to a rollicking start for that today.
“The course was phenomenal, exactly what I expected,” said Stoltz after the win. “I heard so many good things about it and saw footage of it on the internet. When I saw the course I thought wow, this is just phenomenal. I wish I could stay longer and ride some more and see the rest of the trails out here.”
Australian Ben Allen, no stranger to the beauty of Rotorua as the reigning and two-time XTERRA New Zealand Champion, took the early lead out of the swim; however, Stoltz was not far behind and jumped into the front roughly 4km into the mountain bike.
“I had a really good race,” said Stoltz. “I’ve had good form early this year but had a couple of bad luck races with flats and stuff earlier this summer in South Africa so it was great to come out here and make the most of it.”
Stoltz said he was smiling on the downhills, and came into the bike-to-run transition with a gap big enough to hold-off the speedy Allen who crossed the finish line just 40-seconds back in 2nd place. It’s Allen’s third XTERRA major in as many weeks, and he won the other two - at Great Ocean Road in Australia and the XTERRA Saipan Championship last week.
Local young gun Olly Shaw, who won the 20-24 XTERRA World Title in 2012, was the top Kiwi and placed third overall. Shaw also raced the Asia-Pacific Tour the last two weeks, placing 3rd at XTERRA Guam and 4th at XTERRA Saipan. Kiwi Sam Osborne was 4th and Spaniard Roger Serrano placed 5th.
“I saw a wallaby, all the tree ferns, this beautiful lake, it’s just stunningly beautiful here,” said Stoltz. “Even the run, it’s shaded the whole way, lush and green. Plus, the Kiwis are crazy about their triathlon and are very knowledgeable about the sport so it was great to come out and be part of the XTERRA family here.”
|1||Conrad Stoltz, RSA||2:04:51|
|2||Ben Allen, AUS||2:05:31|
|3||Olly Shaw, NZL||2:07:28|
|5||Roger Serrano, ESP||2:11:27|
|7||Sam Gardner, GBR||2:15:05|
|8||Clark Ellice, NZL||2:16:17|
|9||Josh Kenyon, NZL||2:16:19|
|10||Nick Moore, NZL||2:16:34|
|Also: Andrew Small, Tayler Reid, Noah Wright|
RIVEROS WINS WOMEN’S RACE
In her fourth-ever XTERRA race Barbara Riveros captured her first-ever XTERRA Championship.
“Pretty happy with my performance today,” said Riveros, who placed 8th last weekend at the ITU World Triathlon Series opener in Auckland, New Zealand. “It’s hard to spend much time on my mountain bike because my focus is ITU and next month we start qualification for Rio.”
Great Britain XTERRA star Jacqui Slack, the 2012 New Zealand Champ, pushed Riveros to the breaking point on the bike before succumbing to her phenomenal fitness level.
“Jacqui was pushing so hard on the bike, and came so very close to dropping me,” said Riveros. “I had to put the hammer down just to stay with her. I’m really happy for her because she has brought her mountain bike skill to another level. She’s another athlete compared to last year.”
Thought the two went neck-and-neck on the bike, Riveros took off on the run and won comfortably.
“The run around the lake was awesome, the support was great, I felt comfortable and kept my tempo and I’m really happy it worked out,” said Riveros.
Interestingly, it was Slack (and her mate Ben Allen) who talked Riveros into racing at XTERRA New Zealand.
“Yeah, Jacqui and I train in the same city in Australia and she told me you must come here, it is amazing and she was right. I am so grateful to Ben and Jacqui to suggest coming here. This place is unbelievable, like a dream. I just love nature, the trails are amazing, and it is a wonderful event,” said Riveros.
Sarah Backler, a 2012 XTERRA World Champ (30-24 division), finished third, Lizzie Orchard, a 2011 XTERRA World Champ (25-29 division) was fourth, and Rachel Challis, a U.S. based XTERRA pro from New Zealand, placed fifth and two-time XTERRA NZ Champ Nicola Leary was sixth.
|1||Barbara Riveros, CHI||2:18:32|
|2||Jacqui Slack, GBR||2:24:14|
|3||Sarah Backler, NZL||2:27:44|
|4||Lizzie Orchard, NZL||2:30:20|
|5||Rachel Challis, NZL||2:30:59|
|6||Nic Leary, NZL||2:35:06|
The Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival is one of the single biggest multisport events in the world, with more than 2,000 racers taking part in a variety of challenges including a 5.5 km, 11km or 21km walk or run, a 26km mountain bike as well as a team or individual at the XTERRA New Zealand Championship. Here's a look at a dozen years of elite champions in Rotorua.
|XTERRA NEW ZEALAND ALL-TIME WINNERS|
|2003||Sam Mallard||Evelyn Willamson|
|2004||Hamish Carter||Sonia Foote|
|2005||Hamish Carter||Sonia Foote|
|2006||Hamish Carter||Gina Ferguson|
|2007||Tim Wilding||Gina Ferguson|
|2008||Terenzo Bozzone||Sonia Foote|
|2009||Richard Ussher||Nicola Leary|
|2010||Scott Thorne||Nicola Leary|
|2011||Richard Ussher||Karen Hanlen|
|2012||Ben Allen||Jacqui Slack|
|2013||Ben Allen||Renata Bucher|
|2014||Conrad Stoltz||Barbara Riveros|
2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING EVENTS
XTERRA New Zealand was the eighth 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, tomorrow's XTERRA West Championship at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada, which is also the start of the U.S. Pro Series.
|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||Conrad Stoltz / Barbara Riveros|
|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.