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    Mayon perimeter zone provides daunting test to field in XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon

    Jan 27, 2015
    What makes the XTERRA race doubly interesting is that it will be held in Bicol for the first time with the majestic Mayon Volcano providing the backdrop and its perimeter exclusive zone testing the triathlon field's skills and endurance in the area’

    Fifteen of the world’s leading and rising triathletes gear up for a battle royale as they slug it out for top honors in the XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon Series firing off on February 8 in Legazpi City, Albay.

    South Africa’s Bradley Weiss, runner-up in the last XTERRA staging in Cebu, and third placer Ben Allen of Australia loom as the top contenders for the male pro crown while Swiss ace Renata Bucher sets out for back-to-back crowns in the ladies side of the keenly awaited event organized by Sunrise Events, Inc.

    What makes the swim-bike-run event doubly interesting is that it will be held in Bicol for the first time with the majestic Mayon Volcano providing the backdrop and its perimeter exclusive zone testing the field’s skills and endurance in the area’s tough terrains.

    “My goal is not to come to the Philippines to win the race, it never was. I love the sport, and I love to explore new places,” said Bucher, also a former XTERRA Mexico champion. “I want to learn more about Albay and the history of it. Also I want to see the volcano and many of the smiling kids’ faces. In my memories of the last year’s racing in the Philippines, it was all about the big smile of the people.”

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    The event, part of the Tourism Board of the Philippines’ “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” and “Visit the Philippines 2015” program, is expected to provide participants the perfect countryside off-road experience with the race course laid out in the 6-km perimeter exclusion zone of the majestic Mayon Volcano.

    The 1.5K swim leg will kick off in the shores of Lidong in Mayon Riviera while the 35K bike stage will be a single loop point to point race passing through fire roads, grass lands, and sand and rocky trails. The finishing 10K run will follow Mayon’s ATV trail featuring sandy and rocky areas, river bed and grass lands.

    “We decided to go to Albay because the area, backdrop of the province is in- line with our objective of sports tourism as a company and add to that the generous support of the province through its governor, Gov. Joey Salceda,” said Fred Uytengsu of the organizing SEI.

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    While Weiss and Allen remain the men to watch in the men’s side, focus will also be on rookie pro Mauricio Mendez of Mexico, who placed fifth in last year’s XTERRA World Championship and the youngest in the field at 19.

    “What I see in my age, talking about advantage, is that I have a little bit more time for learning than most of the other athletes, having these experiences at this age is something invaluable from my point of view and here is where I want to have all my focus, so I can grow as an athlete and as a person,” said Mauricio.

    Tipped to crowd Bucher in the female category is reigning XTERRA world titlist Flora Duffy of Bermuda, who will be racing in the Philippines for the first time.

    “I am really excited to open my 2015 season at Xterra Albay. I have heard such great things about the race from fellow pros on the circuit that I had to come see for myself. Even more exciting is the new race venue, which I hear involves a volcano,” said Duffy.

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    Others vying in the eent are United Kingdom’s Jacqui Slack and Daz Parker, Australia’s Dimity Lee Duke, and Guam’s Mieko Carey, top Filipina triathlete Monica Torres and Joseph Miller, a two-time top Filipino Male Elite winner in XTERRA Philippines.

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    What makes the XTERRA race doubly interesting is that it will be held in Bicol for the first time with the majestic Mayon Volcano providing the backdrop and its perimeter exclusive zone testing the triathlon field's skills and endurance in the area’
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