Braden Currie defended his title and Lizzie Orchard got her first big win in her home country at the 14th annual XTERRA New Zealand Championship on a beautiful day at the Blue Lake in Roturua on Saturday.
XTERRA media liaison Jordyn McLean was on-site to capture all the action and brings us this report (photos courtesy John Cowpland)…
Top Kiwi multisport athlete Braden Currie has defended his pro title at the Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival, crossing the line ahead of Rotorua’s Sam Osborne and South Africa’s Bradley Weiss at the Blue Lake today.
The 29-year old from Wanaka was neck and neck with Osborne out of the swim and into the mountain bike, but he managed to pull away towards the end of the bike leg.
“Yea me and Sam swim pretty similar and we ride pretty similar on the flat stuff and I just managed to get away on the big hill. It was great to go into transition with a little bit of a lead cause I knew we would have been real close in the run too,” said Currie. “I’m stoked with the win though. It was always going to be a hard day, I knew Sam was in real good condition and I knew how badly he wanted to win so it was never going to be easy. It was just fun to have a really good race and enjoy it.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Currie though.
“I had an epic crash and I’m really starting to feel it now. I was just sitting on Sam’s wheel and just scored a wrong line and went straight over the bars at full speed and slipped down the bank on my shoulder and head. I came to a stop and collected my bike and lost all my gels. In a way it was good because it made me refocus.”
Currie will head to the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championships next weekend in New South Wales, before taking a break to decide what he’ll do next.
Local athlete Osborne had a frustrating swim, but kept the pressure on Currie for the majority of the race.
“I didn’t have the best start in the swim, I actually had to swim back on which was a bit annoying. Braden and I were literally just battling it out the whole bike, but coming into the big climb he just let rip at the bottom of it and I just couldn’t go with his initial surge. It came down to a running race and I think I just burnt too many matches on the bike,” said Osborne.
Osborne had plenty of praise for the new layout of the course at the Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival.
“I think this course is a winner. Braden and I both think this would be the perfect World Champs course. It’s good, consistent riding and it’s technical enough that when you ride fast it is actually hard, but not ridiculous either.”
Whakatane teenager Hayden Wilde produced a remarkable result in the long course race, finishing in fourth place.
“I had one of the best swims I’ve ever had, and I came out with the likes of Olly Shaw and then from there I started a good bike, but about 5km into it I got a puncture. I had to stop and put CO2 in it and I lost about 2 minutes. Once I got going again I managed to pass guys who had passed me and then I passed a few others and then gunned it on the run,” said Wilde. « I was stoked with the result but gutted to have got the puncture, but I guess it’s good to know where I am at. I’m going to the Asia-Pacific Champs next weekend and it will be my first elite race so I’m looking forward to it.”
|1||Braden Currie, NZL||2:05:42|
|2||Sam Osborne, NZL||2:07:23|
|3||Bradley Weiss, RSA||2:11:33|
|4||Olly Shaw, NZL||2:11:50|
|5||Kieran McPherson, NZL||2:17:27|
|6||Cameron Paul, NZL||2:20:03|
|7||Alex Roberts, NZL||2:28:08|
|8||Lachlan Davey, NZL||2:37:35|
|9||Kaon Cho, KOR||2:53:20|
|10||Kiley Momohara, NZL||3:25:11|
In the women’s pro race, Lizzie Orchard improved on her second place finish last year to take out the 2016 title. The 30-year old defeated Sarah Backler who finished second and Rachel Challis in third.
Orchard was delighted with the victory and says it was a long time coming.
“I’m super pleased to have won XTERRA in Rotorua. It’s the home town race and you always want to do well here. I’ve actually been coming here for over 10 years, starting as a teenager before eventually trying the full triathlon. It’s always great, loads of support and so many people cheering you on.”
Orchard made her charge in the run, after coming into transition off the mountain bike in third place.
“I don’t think I have ever come out of a bike ride in a triathlon in the lead, so I am used to being on the back foot and I enjoy running so it’s good to have your strength last. It’s also good to have the others a little bit worried sometimes, they know you are coming.”
|1||Lizzie Orchard, NZL||2:39:10|
|2||Sarah Backler, NZL||2:39:37|
|3||Rachel Challis, NZL||2:41:04|
|4||Mary Gray, NZL||2:41:38|
Rio Olympics hopeful and National mountain bike champion Sam Gaze took out the 26km mountain bike race in a time of 1:07:50. He’s in good stead heading into next week’s World Cup event in Cairns.
“It went well out there. It was a great course, it was definitely a bit different from the other times I’ve done it but it was quite cool. I just came along with Dad just to enjoy it and test myself for the World Cup next week and everything looks pretty good for it.”
The Waikato rider has had two Olympic qualification races so far this year, one went well while the other didn’t got to plan because of health issues. But he’ll find out whether he makes the Rio Games after the third World Cup event in France around the 20th of May.
2,300 participants took part in the 14th edition of the Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival. As well as the XTERRA short and long course races, athletes could choose to walk or run a 5.5km, 11km or 21km distance, and the 26km mountain bike.
Event spokesperson Tony Sangster says they received great feedback on the new bike layout.
“The athletes loved the new bike course and we have seen some great performances. The people have enjoyed themselves. Having an event where you have the opportunity to go to two World Championships is fantastic as well. A lot of athletes are trying to get to Maui (XTERRA World Championships) and Lake Crackenback in Australia (ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships). This Rotorua event is great and it caters for all ages and abilities.”
Up Next: The 3rd annual XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in NSW, Australia on Saturday, April 23
OGASAWARA, ORCHARD LEAD APAC TOUR STANDINGS
After four races Takahiro Ogasawara still sits atop the men’s standings and with the win today Lizzie Orchard moves to the top of the women’s elite standings in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour points series.
With two races remain (and they count three) it’s about to get interesting with the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship next Saturday at Callala Beach in New South Wales, Australia, then the finale at XTERRA Malaysia in Langkawi on May 7. (See the press guide for the Asia-Pacific Champs here).
The top 15 amateur, Asian-elite, and professional racers at each event earn series points, with double points being offered at the finale in Malaysia. Racers will count their best three scores to determine champions in each division.
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour will award a prize bonus of $10,000 USD to the top five pro men and women in the final standings ($2,000 for 1st, $1,500-2nd, $800-3rd, $400-4th, $300-5th).
The 2016-17 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour season will begin anew at XTERRA Tahiti (May 14, 2016), then continue at XTERRA Korea with an amateur-only race (no pro prize money or pro points) on August 27, 2016 in Daeahn Reservoir, followed by XTERRA Japan in Hokkaido on September 3, 2016.
Here’s a look at the tentative elite standings (pending NZ results confirmation) after four:
|1||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||82||75||90||DNS||247|
|2||Brodie Gardner, AUS||DNS||82||100||DNS||182|
|3||Bradley Weiss, RSA||DNS||100||DNS||82||182|
|4||Kaon Cho, KOR||53||DNS||75||49||177|
|5||Charlie Epperson, USA||75||69||DNS||DNS||144|
|6||Joe Miller, PHI||DNS||53||82||DNS||135|
|7||Cameron Oneal, USA||63||58||DNS||DNS||121|
|8||Courtney Atkinson, AUS||100||DNS||DNS||DNS||100|
|9||Braden Currie, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||100||100|
|10||Cedric Lassonde, FRA||90||DNS||DNS||DNS||90|
|11||Ben Allen, AUS||DNS||90||DNS||DNS||90|
|12||Sam Osborne, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||90||90|
|13||Olly Shaw, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||75||75|
|14||Taro Shirato, JPN||69||DNS||DNS||DNS||69|
|15||Kieran McPherson, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||69||69|
|16||Michal Bucek, SVK||DNS||63||DNS||DNS||63|
|17||Cameron Paul, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||63||63|
|18||Jason Hsieh , HKG||58||DNS||DNS||DNS||58|
|19||Alex Roberts, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||58||58|
|20||Lachlan Davey, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||53||53|
|21||Barry Lee, MAS||DNS||49||DNS||DNS||49|
|22||Kiley Momohara, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||45||45|
|1||Lizzie Orchard, NZL||90||100||DNS||100||290|
|2||Mieko Carey, USA||100||82||90||DNS||272|
|3||Carina Wasle, AUT||DNS||DNS||100||DNS||100|
|4||Jacqui Slack, GBR||DNS||90||DNS||DNS||90|
|5||Sarah Backler, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||90||90|
|6||Renata Bucher, SUI||DNS||DNS||82||DNS||82|
|7||Rachel Challis, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||82||82|
|8||Belinda Hadden, AUS||DNS||DNS||75||DNS||75|
|9||Mary Gray, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||75||75|