Stoltz beaten into fourth | SASCOC - SASCOC

Stoltz beaten into fourth

France Nicolas Lebrun spoilt the party of eight-time USA Xterra champion Conrad Stoltz’s party as the South African attempted an unprecedented ninth title at the weekend.

Stoltz had won from 2001 ÔÇô 2003, again in 2005 and then from 2007 to 2010.

The 2011 USA Xterra Championships in Ogden, Utah were hugely anticipated, as not only the best Xterra athletes had gathered, including the likes of Josiah Middaugh, Dan Hugo, Lebrun and Stoltz, but also seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong was on the start line ÔÇô and the American hero meant business. Armstrong started as a triathlete before switching to cycling so in a sense he had returned to his roots.

Australia’s Ben Allen scorched the 1500m swim, clocking 20:46. South Africa’s Dan Hugo led the chasing pack of four athletes (Brandon Rakita, Brad Zoller and Armstrong) into T1 to tackle the 30km mountain bike leg. Stoltz came out almost a minute behind Hugo (21:28 to 22:15)

Lebrun was almost three minutes down on the field when he finished the swim.

Hugo attacked the bike and pretty soon had dropped everyone and was catching and then passing early race leader Allen. But the hard bike leg could have cost him as he had to relinquish his race with about 3km left to the finish line.

Lebrun clocked the fastest bike leg of the day screaming to a 1:21:59 time. Stoltz was timed at 1:22:56 with Hugo coming in after 1:22:56 on the bike.

But it was the run that won Lebrun the title, the Frenchman covering the 10.2km in 38:27. Only Josiah Middaugh and David Henestrosa were able to go faster (37:58 and 37:47 respectively). Hugo clocked 40:26.

Lebrun crossed the finish line in 2:24:26, 24 seconds ahead of Hugo, with Josiah Middaugh rounding the podium in 2:25:37. Stoltz had to settle for fourth with Armstrong rounding out the top five.

Hugo, who had never finished higher than fourth at the USA Championship, said he was especially frustrated because of the grand stage that the 2011 USA Championship offered.

ÔÇ£I was pretty crushed,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£There was a lot of emotion on the line. We might never get an opportunity like this again. The world finally took notice of our sport, and I wanted to step up. I had a lot of want on the line today, and it was almost there.ÔÇØ

Position          Name          1500m swim    30km bike          10.2km run  Overall
1 Nicolas Lebrun    24:00                1:21:59            38:27          2:24:26
2 Dan Hugo            21:28                1:22:56            40:26          2:24:50
3 Josiah Middaugh 23:36                 1:24:03            37:58          2:25:37
4 Conrad Stoltz            22:15                1:22:48            42:27          2:27:30
5 Lance Armstrong 21:55                1:24:32            42:58          2:29:25
6 Branden Rakita   21:23                1:27:32            41:12          2:30:07
7 Ben Allen            20:46                1:31:55            40:45          2:33:26
8 David Henestrosa 22:35                1:33:06            37:47          2:33:28
9 Brad Zoller            21:40                1:32:19            39:36          2:33:35
10 Cody Waite            25:28                1:28:20            40:32          2:34:20