|More competitive field in XTERRA|
|Wednesday, 23 January 2013 05:53|
By Saipan Tribune
Bill Sakovich, former president of XTERRA Saipan organizer Taga, Inc., in an email sent to the CNMI triathlon community said this March's race looks to be even more competitive than the previous years with two pros from South Africa and one from Scotland joining the early list of triathletes who committed to join XTERRA Tour's Crown Jewel.
Scheduled to debut in the March 9 event are South Africa's Dan Hugo and Bradley Weiss and Scotland's Rory Downie, who are veterans of XTERRA World Series and have been to various triathlon tournaments in Europe and the U.S.
Hugo has been a regular participant in XTERRA Tour since 2004 and finished runner-up in the 2011 XTERRA World. Last year, the 28-year-old South African placed third in the XTERRA South Africa and second in XTERRA Buffelspoort (Johannesburg). In 2011, he was also a runner-up in XTERRA USA.
The Worcester native had his first tournament for 2013 early this month via the Total Sports Challenge, in Kleinmond, South Africa and finished second in his age group behind Stuart Marais. Hugo completed the 12-kilometer surf ski, 1.5km swim, 50km road bike, 13km road run, 13km canoe paddle, 20km mountain bike, and 9km beach run legs of the grueling race in 6:18:28, more than five minutes behind Marais' 5:13:22.
Weiss also competed in the Total Sports Challenge in Magaliesberg and was the first finisher in the individual race and ruled the men's division. He timed in at 4:02:26 in the road bike, road run, MTB bike, and beach run legs to place fourth overall behind team event Top 3 finishers Contego men (3:41:44), Team Contego Pro (3:43:20) and ATC Men's (3:46:09).
Besides his victory at the start of the year, Weiss' impressive resume also includes a world championship title in the 2012 ITU U23 Cross Triathlon in April in Alabama. Also last year, he finished first in the 20 to 24 age group of the Top 25 overall Specsavers Ironman 70.3, second in Pro Male Midlands Ultra (Half Ironman) and Pro Male ITU Cross Triathlon SA Championships, third in Pro Male Bela Bela 5150 (Olympic Distance Triathlon, seventh in Pro Male XTERRA USA South East Championships Richmond, USA, and eighth in the Pro Male XTERRA SA Championships Grabouw. Then in 2011, he made it to the Top 3 of the 20 to 24 age group of both the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Spain (April) and Beijing, China (August).
Not to be outdone is Downie, who is the current Scottish and European Under 23 Cross Triathlon champion and started competing in triathlon events in 2010. He has won various tournaments in Scotland and has been to different competitions in the U.K., Germany, France, and the Czech Republic.
Last year, the 21-year-old triathlete placed first in Durty Triathlon-Scott X-Tri Series Round 2, Glentress Duathlon, Callander Hill Race, and Adidas Terrex Adventure Race Prologue Team. He was then a runner-up in the 2012 Scottish Duathlon Championship, Durty Triathlon-Scott X-Tri Series Round 2, and Callander Crags Hill Race, and ranked 19th and 26th overall in the XTERRA Germany and Czech Republic, respectively.
Downie and company are expected to put up a strong fight against defending champion Ben Allen of Australia and former XTERRA Saipan winners Sam Gardner of United Kingdom and Olivier Marceau of France.
Meanwhile, besides the three pros, three more visiting triathletes will debut in XTERRA Saipan this year. Froilan and Nakano Rivera of Hawaii and New Caledonia's Dave Exposito are coming over to join the age group competitions.