Bradley Weiss is more than thrilled defending his XTERRA crown this weekend. Not only will he be up against a battle-scarred field but also against a new, challenging course.
“Having a new race venue in Danao adds to the excitement and I cannot wait to see what XTERRA Philippines and Sunrise Events, Inc. have in store for us,” said Weiss, referring to the Off-Road Triathlon firing off on Sunday (April 23) at its new home in Cebu.
Weiss rallied to upend Australian Ben Allen and snare last year’s crown in Albay but the South African ace, winner of a number of XTERRA events, expects a tougher, more challenging race not only for the top $15,000 purse but also for precious ranking points.
“My biggest rivals will be Sam Osborne from New Zealand and Allen, who are both currently ranked higher than myself in Asia Pacific Tour,” said Weiss. “I am sure it will continue to be a thrilling battle right until the final race of the series. It is my hope that I can claw back a few points in this pivotal race.”
That should guarantee a spirited battle for top honors in the event, sponsored by Alcoplus, Sanicare, The Philippine Star, 2GO Express, Cetaphil, Prudential Guarantee, Columbia, Garmin, Tri Life, Cignal Hyper TV, Rocktape, Gatorade, MNTC, Coca Cola Femsa, Powerade, Wilkins and Storck.
Joining the troika in the title hunt are Japanese Takahiro Ogasawara, Taylor Charlton, Kieran McPherson, Jacky Boisset, Brodie Gardner, Olly Shaw, Alex Roberts, Dan Brown, Will Kelsay and local bet Joseph Miller.
Weiss also hopes to make the most of his return to the country, saying: “I am thrilled to be returning to the Philippines, one of my favorite race destinations and I am so excited to be back for the fourth time. Mostly I am looking forward to celebrating this new event with the people of the Philippines who are always warm and welcoming.”
Allen can’t also wait to see what the new venue could offer.
“Both Jacqui and I are very excited to race in the Danao region. Cebu is the heart of triathlon in the Philippines and it’s the perfect location for people to visit and enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle,” said Allen.
“With clear ocean water to swim in, to volcanic mountains to climb its the perfect adventurous playground for any XTERRA athlete novice or pro. I’ve lost count the amount of time we have visited the Philippines but each and every time, it always brings a smile to my face,” he added.
The battle for the women’s crown is also tipped to go down-to-the-wire with last year’s runner-up Jackie Slack of Great Britain out to complete an unfinished business against Aussie Carina Wasle, Myriam Guillot-Boisset, Penny Slater of Australia and American Jessica Koltz.
Meanwhile, host Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano VI has vowed a successful staging of the event, the first of three after the city and SEI signed a memorandum of agreement making Danao the event’s host till 2019.