Sam Osborne from New Zealand and Alizee Paties from France captured the sixth XTERRA Tahiti off-road triathlon elite titles on the beautiful island of Moorea on Sunday, October 23, 2022.
It’s the 14th career XTERRA World Tour win for Osborne, his second in Tahiti, and the fourth career win for Paties, her third this year.
XTERRA Europe’s technical director, Nico Lebrun, was on-site in Moorea to bring us a first-hand account of the day’s race…
For everyone who missed ending their season in the island paradise of Maui this year, consider booking a trip to Tahiti in 2023! The location is incredible, the organisers do a fantastic job, and it’s hard to imagine a better way to wrap up a wonderful season of racing.
The morning started in Opunohu Bay with an ancestral Haka performed to invoke the mana and energy of the island. From there, participants were ferried out by boat to the middle of the bay for the start - a straight swim of 1500 metres in perfectly calm, turquoise water back to the shore.
Local amateur Jean Marc Rimaud was the first of the men to get back to shore, with Sam Osborne and Olly Shaw close behind. Rimaud, having recorded the fastest swim split in multiple events in Europe, now lives and coaches in Tahiti where his speed and skill in the water were on full display. For the women, it was Samantha Kingsford to exit first with Alizee Paties following close behind.
Onto the bike for three 11km laps, the course provided a perfect balance for non-technical riders on the mountain bike and also for travelling athletes that are not in full racing mode.
Osborne and Shaw were quick to take the lead on the bike, with Rimaud falling a fair distance back. Paties took the lead for the ladies about halfway through, with Kingsford strong in second. Emma Briggs held onto third place for a good section of the bike course before being passed by Clemence Dedeo, a very solid athlete who has been on the podium in Maui before.
The single-loop run began with an easy, rolling start before heading into a steep climb at the 3km mark, made more difficult by humid conditions. But over the technical midsection, the race finished in a fast 4km downhill sprint to the finish.
Osborne led the run and crossed the line to capture the top podium position, with Shaw a very close second. Paties had a solid lead from the bike to the finish line to end her season in style too, with Kingsford in second.
“I can’t speak more highly of the organising team here in Tahiti,” said Osborne. “I’ve been to a lot of races around the word and can tell you the hospitality here is second to none, and you can’t find a more beautiful destination to end the season at. It’s my third time here, and I just encourage anyone who can do it, to come experience just how lovely the island of Moorea is.”
Paties was quick to agree, adding, “The atmosphere here is so nice. The race is hard, and it’s hot, but the water is gorgeous and the people are lovely. It’s really a special place.”
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