Newly engaged Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack powered up their double dynamos to lead from start to finish with a big gap on both their rivals to win XTERRA Malaysia at the legendary Langkawi island in Malaysia.
The el Nino heatwave, served up searing temperatures to live up to the event’s pre-race billing as The Hottest Weekend on the XTERRA World Tour circuit. If the high temperatures and humidity didn’t get to the triathletes, Mother Nature herself had reserved her very best terrain to test their physical and mental strength.
Ben Allen was looking to reclaim the XTERRA Malaysia title he first won in 2014, but faced a deep pro field which included reigning XTERRA Asian Tour Champ Bradley Weiss of South Africa as well as top tour contenders Takahiro Ogasawara of Japan, Brody Gardner from Australia, Kaon Cho from Korea and Olly Shaw from New Zealand.
However, after putting a two minute gap between him and the rest of the field during the swim Allen left little doubt, barring a mechanical or a crash, who’s day it was meant to be. Setting a blistering pace on the bike and run Allen raced alone to finish with a time of 2:55:42 nearly ten minutes ahead of Weiss and 15 minutes ahead of third place finisher Fabrizio Bartoli of Italy.
“As always, I was just trying to play to my strengths. Coming from a swimming background I was just trying to nail the swim. I knew if I was able to do that and get a good lead I could then find that flow out on the trail.” said Allen.
“I just felt like I was in the zone the whole time. I had a couple of crashes but I just tried to dust myself off and keep riding hard, pushing the pace. The course out there is so gnarly. I’m just really happy to be on the top step and to win here today is a really awesome effort.” he added.
For Bradley Weiss, who valiently held on to the second spot, it was another disappointing day.
“My form over the last few weeks has been on the decline a little bit. I took a pretty aggressive racing schedule with lots of travel and it slowly has started to take its toll on my body,” said Weiss.
“Ben has really stepped up his game. He’s showed that his form is really, really good and he capitalized on that today,” added Weiss.
Jacqui the Jet
Not to be out-done by her fiancé Jacqui Slack exited the swim up two minutes on 2016 APAC Tour starlet Lizzie Orchard with Austrian Carina Wasle and last year’s winner Myriam Guillot-Boisset of France close behind.
Slack’s skills on a mountain bike held true today as she bombed the steep, technical downhill sections while putting the hammer down in the flats to build enough of a gap off the bike that she could hold on and keep pace on the run.
“I had no idea how much of a lead I actually had. When you’re in the lead you have to keep pushing as hard as you can. The last few races the girls have passed me on the run so it was just a matter of fighting to the finish,” said Slack.
Overall, Lizzie Orchard walked away with the 2015-16 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Title and her share of the $10,000 USD prize bonus.
Watch the highlights here courtesy of Xterra Malaysia 2016.
View more photos on ToughAsia’s Facebook album.
Source: XterraPlanet.com and Xterra Malaysia.