(Putrajaya, Malaysia) –Dan Hugo and Jacqui Slack won the eighth and final stop on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour on a hot and humid morning at XTERRA Malaysia in Putrajaya on Saturday.
For Hugo, the effort marks his fifth XTERRA World Tour championship race win in seven tries this year, including two-in-a-row with today's title coming just a week after his monumental victory at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship. In 2014 Hugo has won XTERRA majors in South Africa, the Philippines, Guam, Australia, and Malaysia.
XTERRA Managing Director Dave Nicholas was on-site and brings us this report…
Dan Hugo put in another dominating performance, this time in Putrajaya. Coming out of the water on the heels of Ben Allen and Roger Serrano, Dan simply pedaled away at a furious rate. I was at the mountain bike park section at about 5K in and Dan already had a minutes lead. He had the fastest bike time by five-minutes over the strong Spaniard Roger Serrano and Aussie Ben Allen.
With the weather hot and humid everyone knew much this race would come down to the very hard run segment. As much of a scramble as a run, Hugo continued his domination with another fastest time to win by eight minutes. But it was not Allen or Serrano that finished second, it was young South African Brad Weiss who simply ran down Ben and Roger with a run split just four-seconds slower than Hugo.
“Proud of Brad in 2nd,” posted Hugo to his twitter feed. “I need to dedicate this win to him. His hunger, work ethic, friendship has had a monumental impact.”
It certainly seems the training partners these past few months have elevated each other. As proof, the 25-year-old Weiss has put up remarkable and consistent efforts at every stop this season (4th at South Africa, 2nd at Philippines, 2nd at Guam, 3rd at Saipan, 2nd at the West Championship, 4th against a stacked-house at the APAC Champs last weekend, and 2nd today).
Veteran pro Sam Gardner, a former winner here in Malaysia, came home 5th. "I could see the boys on the long climb and thought for a minute I could catch them, but it never happened" said Gardner. Kiwi Olly Shaw was going strong on the bike but faded in the super humidity to 6th.
Allen, who used the hot conditions to his advantage last year to win this race, was not in the best of shape on race day.
“I have a tear in my Labrum muscle in my hips causing excruciating pain when I run,” said Allen. “I got it after XTERRA New Zealand and fought hard to finish the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champs. I didn't even expect to race today but I love this sport too much to surrender. I tried my best to hold off Brad on the run, but with my injury I was forced to walk/run which slowed me down so I am totally amazed to finish 3rd today. I think the heat and humid really took its toll on the other athletes, but not Dan. He showed all class today and was never challenged for the title. He is a champion and deserves the win.”
The rate of attrition was worse for the women, with the lone exception of Jacqui Slack who posted the fastest swim, bike and run times of the day.
“The swim course here really suits a good swimmer because there is no run sections so I made the most of that and tried to push on to get the best lead I could and hopefully I would continue this through the bike and run. Seems all my good wins have been wire-to-wire like this. It gives me confidence leading from the front and on a good day I never look back, but Carina is running so fast I knew I had to have a lead off the bike if I was going to win," said Slack.
Wasle was indeed second off the bike and looked strong at the end of the first lap but heat exhaustion set-in on the second lap and she struggled mightily to finish 3rd. Brit Daz Parker was not as affected by the heat and had her best finish ever in second. Defending champ Renata Bucher was a bit ill before the start but soldiered on in true “Swiss Miss” fashion to 4th and a quick sit down with lots of cold towels and ice. Neo Pro from England, Louise Fox, had a brutal introduction to the XTERRA World Tour. Being a Brit she had not experienced heat and humidity like this but still managed to finish 5th.
It’s the second major win of the season for Slack, and the eighth of her career (all in different countries). The victory marks the end of the first-half, or first-third of the season for those on the Asia-Pacific circuit.
“I'm so happy, especially to finish the Asian tour so strong,” said Slack. “I knew my performances would get better because I started the tour not really very fit coming off a hand injury. It's sounds small but training was going so well in January then I took a bad fall before XTERRA Philippines and damaged my hand badly, then I had the fractured collarbone but I stuck with it and knew my time would come. I most definitely paced myself and knew that if I started strong it would be hard to hold on so I sacrificed a few early races so I could be strong at the end. I’m still feeling relatively fresh but also ready for a break before starting the XTERRA European Tour. I’m also looking forward to spending some quality time with Ben. The last few months have been crazy and we've not had much time to ourselves so I'm looking forward to that.”
“I'm going on Holidays…some much needed R&R!” added Allen.
The Malaysian organizers headed by Sean Chee and race director Dave Spence handled the conditions well. Lots of water and PowerBar products, a sweet set of water sprays to douse and cool the runners near the finish all helped. Ice cold towels and water at the finish line completed the task with dozens of bean bag chairs spread out under tall trees for recovery.
I have to say this amazing country needs to be on your bucket list. The Malays are wonderful people and the culture, the food, the sights are remarkable. It looks as if construction and development in Putrajaya will take more of the course away and the race will move to the island of Lankawi for 2015. If that does happen, you truly need to put this one into your frequent flier plans.
|1||Dan Hugo, RSA||2:24:39|
|2||Brad Weiss, RSA||2:32:26|
|3||Ben Allen, AUS||2:33:31|
|4||Roger Serrano, ESP||2:36:36|
|5||Sam Gardner, GBR||2:41:17|
|6||Olly Shaw, NZL||2:46:56|
|7||Joe Miller, PHI||2:50:59|
|8||Shahrom Abdullah, MAS||2:56:05|
|9||Barry Lee Chun Sing, MAS||3:03:33|
|10||Michal Bucek, SVK||3:22:25|
|1||Jacqui Slack, GBR||2:53:33|
|2||Daz Parker, GBR||3:08:48|
|3||Carina Wasle, AUT||3:11:31|
|4||Renata Bucher, SUI||3:17:49|
|5||Louise Fox, GBR||3:20:58|
2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING EVENTS
XTERRA Malaysia was the 11th of 36 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 Southeast Championship at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama.
|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||Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy|
|26-Apr||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|3-May||XTERRA Malaysia||Dan Hugo / Jacqui Slack|
|17-May||XTERRA Southeast Championship||Pelham, Alabama|
|24-May||XTERRA Mauritius||Bois Cheri|
|24-May||XTERRA Spain Championship||Cartagena, La Manga|
|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|
|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||Thunder 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.