MAKENA, MAUI – , 32, of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain and Julie Dibens, 34, from Bath, England (living in Boulder, Colorado) won the 2009 XTERRA World Championship and $20,000 first place prize money that goes with it at on a hot and sunny day at the Makena Beach & Golf Resort in Maui this afternoon.Llanos finished in 2:37:22, 55 seconds ahead of Nicolas Lebrun from France, to collect his third XTERRA World Championship and first since winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004.
The men’s race was amazing, with all the sports heavy weights battling it out on the dusty slopes of Haleakala. Seth Wealing and Eneko Llanos were the first two contenders out of the one-mile warm water Pacific Ocean swim, followed by Olivier Marceau, Franky Batelier, and Conrad Stoltz.
Per his Maui routine, Stoltz jumped to an early lead on the mountain bike and was the first to hit the infamous “Heartbreak Hill” section at about mile 4, but the chase pack was thick and persistent.
By midway through the 20-mile bike Stoltz was still in front but with a tail that included Batelier, Llanos, Marceau, and Lebrun – one-by-one and separated by mere seconds. Just past the halfway point “Ned’s Climb” takes riders up some 1,400 feet in a matter of a mile to the highest point on the course at where the “Plunge” begins.
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