Two-time Olympian Gonzalo Tellechea is back to defend his XTERRA Argentina title in front of family and friends at Dique Ullum this Saturday.
Tellechea, who hails from San Juan, had a great back-and-forth battle with fellow countryman Maxi Morales on the run before squeaking out the win by 25-seconds last year.
Morales is also back to give it another go, and joins Kieran McPherson (NZL), Branden Rakita (USA), and Rafael Juriti (BRA) who all raced at XTERRA Chile last weekend.
“I am looking forward to the battle with Gonzalo, Kieran, and Maxi,” said Rakita, who was the runner-up on the Pan Am Tour last year. “I had a nice confidence boost from the race in Chile and look forward to putting it all together here as well. It isn't really a secret, but I hope to build a gap in the swim and keep it all the way to the finish. All these guys are very strong bikers and runners, so I will have to really give it everything to stay ahead of them.”
XTERRA Argentina, now in its third year, is the second of 12 stops on the 2018 XTERRA Pan America Tour.
It starts with 1.5-kilometer swim in a dam full of warm water that looks out towards the snowcapped Andes in Chile, where the tour stopped last weekend.
“The venue for XTERRA Argentina is unique and fun, but also demanding,” said Rakita, who was fourth here last year. “The swim is in a beautiful lake and my guess is the water is right around 70-degrees and a great way to cool off with the warm days leading up to the race. The bike is very different from XTERRA Chile which had long grinding climbs. Here they are short and punchy. Most of the track moto's ride on and so there are a lot of whoop sections you are pumping the bike through and it twists and turns through the valleys and dry river and creek beds.”
Rakita added that this year’s course has a lot more loose sand compared to last year and it can quickly grab your tire and sink if you are not paying attention.
“It’s really fun to ride, and the run is a brute. It is very exposed and is a gradual slog running up a rocky river bed for 5k then run down a different one that is a choose your own adventure as you are just trying to pick the fast line while spotting the red markers.”
The women’s elite race will be a rematch from last week with Allison Baca shooting for two wins in two weeks, while Fabiola Corona, Carolina Nieva, and Anne-Sophie Marechal – who finished 2nd thru 4th last week – all try to move up a spot or two.
Learn more at www.xterraplanet.com.
ALL-TIME XTERRA ARGENTINA ELITE CHAMPIONS
2016 – Josiah Middaugh / Myriam Guillot-Boisset
2017 – Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder