Dan Hugo makes it two in a row, while Jacqui Slack posts best splits of the day for eighth career win

Jacqui Slack racks up her second XTERRA win of the season with a dominating performance at XTERRA Malaysia on Saturday, May 3 [photo: XTERRA | Dave Nicholas]

Dan Hugo and Jacqui Slack won the eighth and final stop on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour on a hot and humid morning at XTERRA Malaysia in Putrajaya on Saturday.

For Hugo, the effort marks his fifth XTERRA World Tour championship race win in seven tries this year, including two-in-a-row with today’s title coming just a week after his monumental victory at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship.  In 2014 Hugo has won XTERRA majors in South Africa, the Philippines, Guam, Australia, and Malaysia.

Dan Hugo put in another dominating performance, this time in Putrajaya.  Coming out of the water on the heels of Ben Allen and Roger Serrano, Dan simply pedaled away at a furious rate.  I was at the mountain bike park section at about 5K in and Dan already had a minutes lead. He had the fastest bike time by five-minutes over the strong Spaniard Roger Serrano and Aussie Ben Allen.

With the weather hot and humid everyone knew much this race would come down to the very hard run segment.  As much of a scramble as a run, Hugo continued his domination with another fastest time to win by eight minutes.  But it was not Allen or Serrano that finished second, it was young South African Brad Weiss who simply ran down Ben and Roger with a run split just four-seconds slower than Hugo.

Veteran pro Sam Gardner, a former winner here in Malaysia, came home 5th.  “I could see the boys on the long climb and thought for a minute I could catch them, but it never happened” said Gardner.  Kiwi Olly Shaw was going strong on the bike but faded in the super humidity to 6th.

Allen, who used the hot conditions to his advantage last year to win this race, was not in the best of shape on race day.

“I have a tear in my Labrum muscle in my hips causing excruciating pain when I run,” said Allen.  “I got it after XTERRA New Zealand and fought hard to finish the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champs.  I didn’t even expect to race today but I love this sport too much to surrender.  I tried my best to hold off Brad on the run, but with my injury I was forced to walk/run which slowed me down so I am totally amazed to finish 3rd today. I think the heat and humid really took its toll on the other athletes, but not Dan.  He showed all class today and was never challenged for the title. He is a champion and deserves the win.”

The rate of attrition was worse for the women, with the lone exception of Jacqui Slack who posted the fastest swim, bike and run times of the day.

“The swim course here really suits a good swimmer because there is no run sections so I made the most of that and tried to push on to get the best lead I could and hopefully I would continue this through the bike and run. Seems all my good wins have been wire-to-wire like this.  It gives me confidence leading from the front and on a good day I never look back, but Carina is running so fast I knew I had to have a lead off the bike if I was going to win,” said Slack.

Wasle was indeed second off the bike and looked strong at the end of the first lap but heat exhaustion set-in on the second lap and she struggled mightily to finish 3rd.  Brit Daz Parker was not as affected by the heat and had her best finish ever in second.  Defending champ Renata Bucher was a bit ill before the start but soldiered on in true “Swiss Miss” fashion to 4th and a quick sit down with lots of cold towels and ice.  Neo-pro from England, Louise Fox, had a brutal introduction to the XTERRA World Tour.  Being a Brit she had not experienced heat and humidity like this but still managed to finish 5th.

It’s the second major win of the season for Slack, and the eighth of her career (all in different countries).  The victory marks the end of the first-half, or first-third of the season for those on the Asia-Pacific circuit.

RESULTS

Top 5 men:

1 Dan Hugo (RSA), 2:24:39

2 Brad Weiss (RSA), 2:32:26

3 Ben Allen (AUS), 2:33:31

4 Roger Serrano (ESP), 2:36:36

5 Sam Gardner, (GBR), 2:41:17

Top 5 women:

1 Jacqui Slack  (GBR), 2:53:33

2 Daz Parker (GBR), 3:08:48

3 Carina Wasle (AUT), 3:11:31

4 Renata Bucher (SUI), 3:17:49

5 Louise Fox (GBR), 3:20:58

Sunrise swim at the 2014 XTERRA Malaysia on Saturday, May 3 [photo: XTERRA | Dave Nicholas]