World champ seeks 3-peat in Xterra off-road triathlon

World champ seeks 3-peat in Xterra off-road triathlon

Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal (second from left) and Fred Uytengsu, president and CEO of Sunrise Events Inc. (second from right) flash the thumbs-up sign with Legazpi City Councilor Alex Ranola (left) and DOT Region 5 regional director Benjamin Santiago during yesterday’s launch of XTERRA Albay on June 17. Jun Mendoza

MANILA, Philippines — Reigning world champion Bradley Weiss of South Africa leads a crack field of pros and competitors testing their skills on a new, challenging race course set up in Legazpi City for XTERRA Off-road Triathlon’s return staging in Albay on June 17.

Weiss is gunning for a three-peat in Bicol, determined to conquer the difficult terrains and tough conditions in the 1.5K swim, 28-K bike, 8K trail run to be played this time on Legazpi Boulevard and the Albay Gulf.

As with previous editions in 2015 and 16, majestic Mayon Volcano still provides a breathtaking backdrop in the XTERRA warriors’ spirited quest for honors.

“We have a brand new race course, we want to show off Legazpi Boulevard, new waters,” said Fred Uytengsu, founder of event producer and organizer Sunrise Events Inc.

“We don’t give a lot of information about the race course and they will see it for the first time; you think you’re going downhill but boom, (it’s a) hard left...We can expect a challenging race, a safe race and tremendous hospitality,” he added.

Uytengsu joined Mayor Noel Rosal of the event presentor City of Legazpi City, Tourism Region 5 regional director Benjamin Santiago, and Legazpi Councilor Alan Ranola, who represented Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara, in launching the 2018 XTERRA Albay yesterday at Seda BGC.

“For the past five years, we’ve been very aggressive in putting Legazpi on the map not only for tourism but for sports tourism,” said Rosal, who called their hosting XTERRA Albay as “a big break for provinces.”

Out to foil Weiss for top honors are the likes of New Zealand’s Sam Osbourne and Kieran McPherson, 2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific titlist Ben Allen of Australia, Takahiro Ogarawara and Akihiro Maeda of Japan, Kiwi duo Alex Roberts and Olly Shaw, and Phl’s own Joseph Miller.

Carina Wasle of Austria banners hopefuls in the distaff side, where she gets competition from New Zealand’s Penny Slater and Kristy Jennings and Australia’s Leela Hancox, among others.