(Langkawi, Malaysia) - Bradley Weiss from South Africa and Myriam Guillot of France won the XTERRA Asian Tour Championship race in Langkawi, Malaysia this morning.
With the win Weiss also secured the Series crown for the men, and Jacqui Slack took the Tour title for the women with a third place finish to hold off Carina Wasle.
The men’s race today was akin to an honorable samurai duel. Weiss and Allen have been going at it for years, and this year in particular. Weiss came out on top in the XTERRA Asian Tour opener in the Philippines. Allen came back and won the next two at XTERRA Saipan and Guam (Weiss was second at both). They forged through different XTERRA World Tour paths after Guam with Allen going to Australia then the U.S. while Weiss went to Reunion Island. Both gave it everything, and it’s been awesome to watch.
“Great way to end the series. Certainly fitting that Ben and I finished 1-2. We didn't make it easy on ourselves, both racing last weekend on separate continents and then making our way to Malaysia for the grand finale of the Asia Pacific Series,” explained Weiss. “I arrived late Thursday evening and Ben only arrived on Friday mid-morning with less than 24hrs before the gun would set us off. As expected Ben took an early lead on the swim and held it onto the bike. The weather was hot and humid sometimes even misty in the forest with 100% humidity making breathing a struggle. The course was a true test with steep elevation gain on wet trails covered in roots and leaves. Thankfully the animals gave me a clear path but the terrain tested me right to the very end. Ben was solid on the bike and extended his lead to over 2mins after the first lap. With better course knowledge on the second lap I managed to close the gap to roughly 90sec starting the run. After losing to Ben in both Guam and Saipan I was unsure if I would be able to bridge the gap but willing to give a good dig and see if I could get him in sight. Ben has had a rough racing schedule as have I and I knew he must be weary from all the travel. The run course had two big jungle climbs on switch trails but I never got a visual on Ben. I was losing hope but still pushing hard. Cresting the second climb I got a split of 45sec, after the fast slippery descent it was down to 30sec and I was now sure I would catch him. In the distance I could see he was struggling and soon I was on his heels.”
And that was that. Weiss surged past as if he was on roller skates and posted the quickest run split of the day by far in 57:06 to take the crown.
“Thankfully for my sake Ben had burnt his final matches and was unable to respond to my surge as I came by. The remainder of the run was flat and fast so I knew if I just kept the pace steady I would win comfortably. This was indeed the case and I was thrilled to take the Malaysian Championships as well as the inaugural XTERRA Asia Pacific Series Title. Many thanks to all for an awesome few months of racing and special thanks to Ben for making it such an exciting series and pushing me all the way to the very end. Ben is a true competitor and someone I am proud to call a friend.”
As for Allen, he did everything he possibly could. Had the best swim, the best bike, and perhaps even the best attitude but not even that could save his weary legs after a whirlwind of racing and traveling these past few weeks.
“Five races in five different countries over five weeks has broken me,” said an understated Allen after the race. “Today I gave it everything I had and to be honest, I came up short. The travel just to get here has been epic, flying all the way from Vegas last weekend. 24hrs of flying and 36hrs of travel time total, but I didn't doubt myself one bit. I knew if I didn't give up and pushed all the way to the end I might have a chance.”
As it turned out Allen had more than just a chance, he nearly pulled it off.
“The Asian Tour races have been special to me over the last couple of years and I would of loved nothing more to have crossed than line first, but I'm my own worst enemy! I think I'm invincible sometimes, biting off more than I can chew. I have to say though it has been one hell of a ride and one that has taught me some valuable lessons both as an athlete and person. For now the journey is all over. I am in total recovery mode and I will spend the time relaxing at home with my family & friends. I'm especially excited to hang out with my nephew Jayden. I can tell you the journey has definitely been worth all the pain. The things I have seen, places I've visited & people I have met has been inspirational. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always give 100%. I'm proud of what I have achieved and honored to race in a sport that has given me a gift. To live my life the way I choose.”
|1||Brad Weiss, RSA||2:45:32||200|
|2||Ben Allen, AUS||2:50:07||180|
|3||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||2:54:24||164|
|4||Charlie Epperson, USA||3:01:11||150|
|5||Theo Blignaut, RSA||3:05:45||138|
|6||Markus Benesch, AUT||3:07:38||126|
|7||Joe Miller, PHI||3:09:21||116|
2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERSThe XTERRA Asian Tour Championship in Malaysia was the 13th of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify for the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Nov. 1, 2015.
* European Tour / + Asian Tour / # America Tour / ! Canada Series / = Hawaii qualifie