Great Britain’s Jacqui Slack came home in first place at Xterra Saipan on the weekend as Ben Allen (AUS) won the men’s race for the fourth year running.
Both athletes led from start to finish in wet conditions that threatened to make the already challenging course all the more difficult.
“[They were] some of the worst conditions I’ve ever raced in. The rain didn’t let up and it made for super slippery conditions,” explained Allen.
As one of the sport’s best swimmers, it was not surprising to see Allen open a 1min lead over Bradley Weiss (RSA) during the swim.
He then went on to record the fastest bike and run splits of the day to win in 2:40:25, 6mins ahead of second placed Weiss who finished in 2:46:45.
Weiss, who currently leads the Xterra Asian Tour with 190 points, had missed a chunk of his training due to an injured iliotibial band but is still remaining positive for the year ahead.
“Obviously I am far from my best shape now but was still very excited for my trip out to the islands. My hopes are to finish well in the Xterra Asian Tour and take some momentum into the U.S. Tour,” he said.
Third place was taken by Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN) who finished a further 2mins behind in 2:48:19, while Austria’s Markus Benesch crossed the line in fourth with a time of 2:52:24.
Top 5 professional men’s results:
1. Ben Allen (AUS) – 2:40:25
2. Brad Weiss (RSA) – 2:46:45
3. Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN) – 2:48:19
4. Markus Benesch (AUT) – 2:52:24
5. Aleksandr Dorovskikh (RUS) – 2:55:51
Slack dominated the women’s race from the start and was the first elite woman out of the water. The British athlete also had the best bike split and finished in 3:02:01, a full 5mins ahead of second placed Carina Wasle (AUT) who crossed the line with a time of 3:07:33.
Speaking of her win, Slack said: “I thrive on the more challenging conditions. I love the added dimension the rain throws in, and always seem to perform well when it’s slick and muddy.
“My biggest challenge was myself today. I knew I was coming into the race fit but I was more concerned about being recovered from a 100km MTB race I did last weekend in Melbourne.”
Japan’s Mieko Carey crossed the line third in 3:20:45 and was closely followed by Renata Bucher (SUI) who finished with a time of 3:22:11.
Great Britain’s Daz Parker put in a solid effort to round out the top five in a time of 3:36:40.
Top 5 professional women’s results:
1. Jacqui Slack (GBR) – 3:02:01
2. Carina Wasle (AUT) – 3:07:33
3. Mieko Carey (JPN) – 3:20:45
4. Renata Bucher (SUI) – 3:22:11
5. Daz Parker (GBR) – 3:36:40
The weekend’s results mean that Weiss leads the men’s series with an eight point buffer to Allen while Slack leads the women on 190 points following her second place in the Philippines.
In the amateur races, Chuck Fortier (CAN) claimed his third island win in a row while Kyoco Urashima (JAP) took the women’s title.
Tyce Mister (CNMI) managed to maintain his accomplishment of being the only athlete to have competed in all 14 Xterra Saipan races since its launch in 2002.
(Images: Mark James)
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