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Posted: April 21, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Triathlon: Ussher, Leary Win XTERRA New Zealand - 3 Champs Named At XTERRA South Africa

Ussher, Leary Win XTERRA New Zealand

Kiwi adventure racing legend Richard Ussher (pictured below), 32, made quite a statement in his first-ever XTERRA, stealing the New Zealand Championship crown from defending champion Terenzo Bozzone while hometown XTERRA pro Nicola Leary won the women's title.

Bozzone, 24, lead after the 1km swim but was followed closely by former XTERRA NZ Champ Tim Wilding, along with Scott Thorne and Ussher.

The trio of chasers soon passed Bozzone on the bike and came into the bike to run together more than four minutes ahead of Bozzone. Once onto the 11km run -- Thorne and Ussher dominated the field heading through half way together with a large gap over the rest of the field.

Ussher pushed hard on the second lap and crossed the line 20 seconds ahead of up and comer -- Thorne.

"I got a little break on Scott around the back of the lake -- I think it was enough to give me a little lift and maybe Scott a little downer. It was nice to be able to look back and see a bit of a gap for the final couple of kilometers." Ussher explained.

While it was Ussher's first ever XTERRA Triathlon -- it will not be his last.

"I really loved the race, I have been really well looked after and I've had a great time -- perhaps this is where my future is!" he said with a smile at the finish line.

The past five years have seen the women's race dominated by two athletes; Sonia Foote and Gina Ferguson. With neither of them back in 2009, it was the battle of the mountain bikers with NZ Marathon MTB Champion, Anika Smail up against top NZ Mountain Biker -- Nicola Leary.

After third place last year, Leary was first across the line this year, over a minute ahead of runner-up Susie Wood. Smail was happy with her third place after having some work to do after the swim.

"I think I was second to the last pro woman out of the swim, and still about third to last off the bike, so I was really pleased to run my way into third overall," said Smail.

Top 5 Men                     
1. Richard Ussher , 2:03:33
2. Scott Thorne, 2:04:04
3. Mark Leishman, 2:08:30
4. Tim Wilding, 2:09:30
5. Terenzo Bozzone, 2:09:45

 Top 5 Women          
1. Nicola Leary, 2:26:07    
2. Susie Wood, 2:28:25
3. Anika Smail , 2:28:49
4. Monique Avery, 2:30:27
5. Nina Pederson, 2:33:02

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3 Champs Named At XTERRA South Africa

South African Lieuwe Boonstra and German Felix Schumann were named co-champions of the XTERRA South Africa finals at the Grabouw Country Club in Western Cape on Saturday. It's the first-time in XTERRA history that a championship race has ended with a shared title.

Boonstra (pictured below courtesy Oak Pics) led the race after the swim and bike, but due to a blown over directional arrow at the top of the mountainous running course he ran 400m further than required which allowed Schumann to reach the finish line first.

The South African race committee immediately considered all the facts and the decision was made to award both athletes the title.

According to Boonstra, he had an amazing race. "I can't believe how everything just fell into place for me. I had an awesome swim, followed by a fantastic mountain-bike and run. I've focussed all of my attention on the XTERRA SA finals and am not really sure what event I will compete in next. I definitely want to go to the XTERRA World Championships though," said Boonstra.

Schumann, on the other hand, was positive about his swim and run but felt that he would need to work on his biking skills. "I made the mistake of misjudging Lieuwe, thinking that I could find his rear wheel. He, however, was crazy on the bike and I just could not keep up. I knew that I would have to make up time on the run leg. I had a great race and am really going to work hard for the XTERRA World Champs," said Schumann.

Both Boonstra and Schumann completed the event in just over two hours, 30 minutes. Kent Horner came in third with a time of :2:39:23.

XTERRA European star Carina Wasle from Austria dominated the women's event, finishing in 2:49:57, nearly 12 minutes ahead of runner-up Jeannie Bomford.

"I had a good swim, considering that it's not my strongest discipline. The mountain-bike course was fast with a few technical single tracks. It was slippery though with quite a lot of loose sand. I enjoyed the run route the most, as it was up-hill, my favorite. I had a good race and hope to be back next year to defend my title," said Wasle.

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Top 5 men
1. Felix Schumann, 2:34:17
1. Lieuwe Boonstra, 2:36:03
3. Kent Horner, 2:39:23
4. Richard Murray, 2:40:05
5. Cas Van Aardenne, 2:44:58

Top 5 women
1. Carina  Wasle, 2:49:57
2. Jeannie Bomford, 3:01:37
3. Carla Germishuys, 3:10:54
4. Tanya Rabie, 3:30:20
5. Dominique Provoyeur, 3:42:25

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