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XTERRA Saipan 2010
XTERRA Saipan 2010
March 13, 2010
Competitors from as far as Japan, Australia, the U.S. and Europe gathered on a hot, steamy day for the ninth annual XTERRA Saipan where Switzerland's Renata Bucher and England's Sam Gardner defended their titles. It was the sixth victory here for Bucher, who crossed the line in 2:58:19, nearly nine minutes ahead of U.S. mountain bike phenom Shonny Vanlandingham, while local pro and reigning XTERRA Japan Champ Mieko Carey finished third.
"For me Saipan is special," said Bucher. "It means a lot and it is the only one that I wear #1. I like to come early to pre-ride the course, and get tips from the locals.” Asked if she'll be back to compete for a seventh XTERRA Saipan title, she responded, "as long as they have this race, I'll be back."
In the men's race, Gardner caught and passed Mike Vine about halfway through the bike then held off the hard-charging Canadian on the run. His time of 2:34:03 was just 43 seconds better than Vine. Gardner beat Vine by almost three minutes last year, and Vine didn’t go down without a fight.
"This is my favorite race in the world, and victory is a relief," said Gardner. "There was a lot more pressure coming into this race. Now I'm looking forward to Tagaman, as I want to win them both - I finished second at Tagaman last year." (Editor’s Note: Gardner and Vine also finished one and two in the Tagaman Triathlon a week later).
Jason Chalker (the 2003 XTERRA Saipan Champ) came in third despite a hard crash on the bike requiring five stitches. Takahiro Ogasawara was fourth, finishing in the top five for the third straight year.
The XTERRA Saipan consists of a 1.5K ocean swim, 30K mountain bike and 12K trail run. The XTERRA Sport race comprised of a 750-meter swim, 20K mountain bike, and 5K trail run. For the second straight year, the overall male winner was Kieran Daly, the GM of the host hotel - the Pacific Islands Club, while Australian Emma Viotto won the women's race.