Stoltz, Vanlandingham win XTERRA World Championship
Makena Beach & Golf Resort, MAUI - Conrad Stoltz of South Africa made history and Shonny Vanlandingham of Colorado started history at the 15th Annual XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon at the Makena Beach & Golf Resort today.
STOLTZ THE FIRST TO FOUR
The Caveman is not done clubbing the XTERRA competition. Not by a long shot.
Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz of South Africa made history by winning the 15th Annual XTERRA World Championship for the fourth time. Stoltz, who celebrated his 37th birthday the day before the race, is the first pro to win four XTERRA world titles.
He did it in trademark Stoltz fashion – leaving the competition in the dust with his daredevil mountain bike skills.
Stoltz (pictured) completed the course in 2 hours, 31 minutes, 7 seconds, which was more than five minutes faster than his closest competition. It was the second-largest margin of victory in XTERRA World Championship history.
“This feels the best by far,” said Stoltz, who also won the XTERRA world title in 2001, 2002 and 2007. “2007 was rewarding because I was able to come back from injuries. This year, there was a lot of emotional pressure.”
After crossing the finish line, Stoltz dedicated the win to his father, who is battling cancer in South Africa.
“No matter what the outcome of this race, I think my parents would be happy for me,” he said. “But I think bringing this big one home … is going to be the biggest gift I could give them.”
Stoltz came out of the swim in seventh place 20 seconds behind swim leader Seth Wealing, but more than made up for it with a record time in the mountain bike. He passed all the leaders early in the bike stage, and had a four-minute lead halfway through the course.
“The course was harder than I thought,” he said. “It was looser here than it has been in years – really loose, so I knew I was making time with every stroke of the pedal. The 29er just rolled over this loose, bumpy stuff.”
By the end of the bike, Stoltz had a five-minute lead on the field, and he maintained it during a lonely run. His bike time of 1:23:48, beat the previous mark that he set in 2002 by 24 seconds. Stoltz received $20,000 for the victory.
Franky Batelier of France had his best XTERRA World Championship race, but had to settle for second place with a time of 2:36:14.
“When the bike began, I was close behind, and Conrad went faster and faster,” Batelier said. “Conrad is too strong. He is The Caveman, best in the world. Congratulations to him, and I am happy for me.”
Michael Weiss of Austria also had a solid bike stage, and finished third with a time of 2:36:45. Weiss’ bike time of 1:29:08 was a minute faster than the other pros, except Stoltz.
“Conrad is a great champion, and deserved the win,” Weiss said. “He was out of reach today.”
Olivier Marceau of France continued his run of success on Maui with a fourth-place finish. It was the sixth time in his career that he has placed in the top five at the XTERRA World Championship, although he is still seeking a breakthrough win. He has finished in the top five in each of the last five XTERRA World Championship races.
“Not too good and not too bad,” Marceau said of his performance. “Just stay at my pace and not to worry.”
Nicolas Lebrun of France was the runner-up in 2009, but was not in rhythm this year and finished in fifth place with a time of 2:38:50.
“Nothing in my legs to start – I felt like turning around,” said Lebrun, who still finished with the best run time of 44:01 and his fifth top five performance in Maui.
Defending champion Eneko Llanos of Spain finished sixth at 2:40:44. He placed seventh at the Ironman World Championship just two weeks ago.
Llanos received a $2,500 bonus as the winner of the Hawaiian Airlines Double, which is awarded to the best overall performer from the Ironman and XTERRA world championships. Weiss also competed in the Ironman race two weeks ago. Llanos’ combined time from the two races was less than four minutes ahead of Weiss.
Seth Wealing of Boulder, Colorado, had the fastest swim time at 19:29, but wound up in 16th place overall.
Every year in Maui mechanical disasters knock out a few of the top contenders, and this year was no different. Perhaps nobody had a rougher day than America's best hope for bringing home the title, Josiah Middaugh. Middaugh was two-minutes back out of the swim but passed 46 racers to move into second by about mile 10 despite a flat that he was able to quickly fix. The next three flats, two tubes, and CO2 cartridges delivered the knock-out punch, but in true XTERRA Warrior style, he shouldered his bike and ran a mile to the bike-to-run transition when he couldn't get his back tire to even turn. He soldiered on and finished 32nd. Also of note, Dan Hugo, who was in second-place early in the bike had his share of problems but stuck it out and crossed the line in 36th.
Fastest swim: Seth Wealing (19:29), Christine Jeffrey (19:41)
The thee-year XTERRA plan of Shonny Vanlandingham is now complete. She has the 2010 XTERRA World Championship – and a $20,000 first-place check– to prove it.
After five consecutive years of top 10 finishes without an XTERRA world title, Vanlandingham broke through this time, topping the women’s field for her first XTERRA World Championship.
Vanlandingham, who is from Durango, Colorado, said that when she joined the XTERRA World Tour full-time three years ago, she envisioned a three-year program that would culminate at the 2010 XTERRA World Championship on Maui.
“This is my third year on the XTERRA circuit, and I made it my goal, although it was a lofty goal, to win the championship in my third year at the age of 41,” she said. “I knew it had to come together today to be a special day.”
Indeed, Vanlandingham set a personal best for the Maui course, finishing with a time of 2:58:20. It was nearly 10 minutes faster than her previous best showing at the XTERRA World Championship.
“I set my PR on the course, and I was due for that; I knew I had to PR in everything to win,” she said. “Fortunately, that got me the win.”
It wasn’t easy. Three-time defending champion Julie Dibens of United Kingdom stayed near Vanlandingham the entire course. Dibens actually had the lead for the first 15 miles of the 20-mile mountain bike course.
“I passed Julie about mile 15 of the bike and went into T2 with a one-minute lead and I didn’t think that was going to be enough because Julie is such an amazing athlete,” Vanlandingham said.
Dibens could never make up ground during the run, and wound up in second place at 2:59:32 -- 1 minute, 12 seconds, behind Vanlandingham.
Dibens placed third in the Ironman World Championship just two weeks prior to the XTERRA World Championship, but she refused to use that as an excuse.
“She’s a demon on the bike,” Dibens said. “I was delighted with second. I got beat by a better girl today. Shonny is a true XTERRA athlete, the best mountain biker out here.”
Vanlandingham’s bike time of 1:42:40 was five minutes faster than any other woman. Still, she said she did not feel confident until the final mile of the run.
“I didn’t look back at all for the first six miles or so, and then at the black sand beach, I did take a peak and I didn’t see her,” she said. “That’s when it started to hit me. I’ve never won a world championship, not even in mountain biking, so this is really the pinnacle of both my XTERRA and mountain biking career.”
Dibens said she got as close as 30 seconds behind Vanlandingham early in the run, but then fell back toward the finish. “I had her in my sights, but didn’t have that extra gear.”
Dibens received $14,500 -- $12,000 for second place, and $2,500 for the Hawaiian Airlines Double as the best overall female from the combined times of the Ironman and XTERRA championships.
Marion Lorblanchet of France placed third in just her second attempt at the XTERRA World Championship. Making it more impressive, she overcame a broken pedal on her bike to make the podium.
“I crashed on the mountain bike, broke my pedal, so I lost a lot of time on the bike,” she said. “I just had to settle my nerves on the run. I was tired, but still knew I could run fast.”
Lorblanchet was as far back as seventh during the bike, before making up ground during the run. Her run time of 48:39 was the fastest among all the women.
Christine Jeffrey of Canada was the first female out of the swim, and went on to have her best finish at Maui with fourth place. “Super happy,” she said. “This is my best finish ever and way better than how I did last year.”
Suzie Snyder of Stafford, Vermont, out-sprinted Austria’s Carina Wasle at the end of the run to capture fifth place.
THE AGE GROUP RACE
Tim Van Daele of Belgium is the world’s best XTERRA amateur triathlete, and that’s just the way he likes it.
Van Daele repeated as the overall amateur winner at the XTERRA World Championship in 2010, with a time of 2:48:28, which was five minutes better than his time of last year.
“I’ve been doing triathlons since I was 16,” said Van Daele, 30. “But I did not have a goal to be pro. I wanted to do normal work and still do triathlons.”
Van Daele works 40 hours per week in the chemical industry in Belgium, and used his vacation time to travel to Maui for the XTERRA World Championship.
“Because of my work, it is not possible for me to be pro right now,” he said. “I enjoy what I am doing now – work and do triathlons when I can.”
Fellow amateur Francois Carloni of France, the 2008 overall amateur XTERRA World Champ, had a slight lead over Van Daele during the mountain bike stage, then they ran next to each other for the first few miles of the run.
“He passed me on the bike, so I was a little worried, but then I saw him and we ran together for the first 3 (kilometers) and I was comfortable,” Van Daele said. “Then I think he crashed and I kept going. When I got to Makena Beach, everybody was screaming and cheering to me, and I was really enjoying that.”
Pierre-Yves Facomprez of France placed second among the amateurs with a time of 2:49:54, and Carloni was third at 2:50:35.
In the women’s amateur division, Amber Monforte of Reno, Nev., turned a “warm up” into a victory.
Monforte entered the XTERRA World Championship as a form of preparation for the Ultraman World Championships – a three-day, 320-mile event.
“I had no expectations going in,” said Monforte, who is 32 and works as a nurse. “I did Ironman two weeks and then did this as part of my training for Ultraman. I went as hard as I could because I didn’t know how I would feel after Ironman, but it went really well.”
Monforte finished with a time of 3:18:52, which was more than nine minutes ahead of the next female amateur. Bettina Uhlig of Germany was the second female amateur at 3:27:55.
Monforte also had some distractions along the course. She is the girlfriend of Conrad Stoltz, who finished first among the pros, thus becoming the first four-time champion of the XTERRA World Championship.
Monforte said she asked volunteers for updates on Stoltz throughout the course, and was two miles into her run when she was told that Stoltz’s victory was official.
“The funny thing is all the reaction I get,” Monforte said. “Somebody said Conrad’s doing great, but the next person will say ‘Who’s Conrad?’ … When somebody told me Conrad won by about five minutes, it made my day.”
Monforte also won the women’s amateur title for the Hawaiian Airlines Double as the top overall performer from the Ironman and XTERRA world championships. Thomas Vonach of Austria was the top male amateur for the Hawaiian Airlines Double. Monforte and Vonach each received roundtrip tickets for two between the U.S. and Maui from Hawaiian Airlines.
Most of the entries in the XTERRA World Championship were age-group amateurs, ranging from 19-year-old Michael Keith (pictured) of South Africa and 14-year-old Hannah Rae Finchamp of California, to 73-year-old Ron Hill of Idaho.
“I’m exhausted,” said Finchamp, who is a freshman at Maranatha High School. “Every event takes something out of you, and you just have to push yourself to the next one. I really surprised myself. It was so much fun. I definitely want to do it again.”
Finchamp, who was competing in her first XTERRA World Championship, placed first in the 15-19 division.
Hill, who is retired, completed the XTERRA World Championship for the third time. He finished first in the men’s 70-older division with a time of 5:44:54.
“It’s terribly tough, very intimidating – so intimidating, it’s scary sometimes out on that course,” said Hill, who has two children and seven grandchildren. “But you never know what you can do until you try, so I’ll keep trying.”
Jan Francke (19:53) and Suzanne Vernaui (23:10) won the XTERRA Wetsuits age group swim prime today for being the first age-group athletes out of the water and won an XTERRA Vortex 3 full wetsuit for their efforts.
There were several repeat champions today, highlighted by seven-time World Champ Peter Wood, five-time champ Beverly Enslow, four-time champ Fouad "Ed" Fattoumy, three-time champs Tom Monica and Calvin Zaryski, and two-timers Martina Donner, Beverly Watson, Libby Harrow, and Tim Van Daele. Here is the complete list of 2010 amateur age-group XTERRA World Champions:
XTERRA World Champions (Female Age Group)
Div Name Hometown Time
XTERRA World Champions (Male Age Group)
Div Name Hometown Time
Eneko Llanos from Spain won the men’s pro Hawaiian Airlines Double award for the 5th consecutive year today. Llanos placed 7th at the Ironman World Championship in 8:22:02, and 6th at XTERRA Worlds today for a combined time of 11:02:46, his fastest combined total time in the last five years. Julie Dibens from Bath, England won the women’s pro “Double” with a 3rd place finish in Kona, and a 2nd place in Maui today for a combined 12:09:36.
In the amateur double competition Thomas Vonach had the best combined times with a 12:24:35, while Amber Monforte won the women’s amateur title in a combined 14:08:52.
The Hawaiian Airlines “Double” purse is awarded to the pro and amateur men and women with the fastest combined time at Ironman Hawaii World Championship in Kona, Hawaii and the XTERRA World Championship in Makena, Maui. The two events are held just two weeks apart. Hawaiian Airlines pays $2,500 to both the top man and woman professionals, while the amateur winners receive round trip tickets for two from the U.S. west coast to Hawaii.
A maxed-out field of more than 500 athletes from 33 countries and 31 U.S. states competed in the 15th annual XTERRA World Championship, which combines a one-mile swim in the Pacific Ocean, a grueling 20-mile mountain bike leg that climbs 3,500-feet on rocky, dirt-strewn trails on the lower slopes of Haleakala Volcano, and a 7-mile trail run along the beaches and lava formations along south Maui’s scenic south shore. The race distributed $105,000 in prize money to the top pros and was filmed for a one-hour TV show that will air across the country via national syndication starting in January of 2011. Highlights and full results can be found atwww.xterramaui.com. The XTERRA World Championship is the final race in 100+ stop series that travels to 15 countries and 37 states in the U.S.
The XTERRA World Championship is presented by Paul Mitchell, Degree Men Adventure, Maui Visitors Bureau, Makena Beach & Golf Resort, and Hawaiian Airlines. Sponsors include GU, Gatorade, Zorrel, Kona Brewing Company, Hawaii Tourism Authority, XTERRA.TV, Hawaii Water, and the XTERRA Alliance - Gear, Footwear, Fitness, Wetsuits, and Cycling.
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