INTERNATIONAL STARS RULE TAGAMAN

Monday, April 02 2012 00:37

By Christian V. Cruz - For Variety

Cedric Lassonde of France, left photo, and Jacqui Slack of the UK reach the finish line at American Memorial Park during the 2012 Tagaman Triathlon last Saturday. Photos by Christian V. CruzThe Clermont-Ferrand native had the best time of two hours, 52 minutes, and 26 seconds to beat XTERRA Saipan, Guam, and Philippines champion Ben Allen (2:52:46) of Australia.

“When I got at the second transition and started the run, I was told that I was behind him by 3:45. I didn’t really believe I was gonna catch him,” Lassonde told Variety after the race.

“But pretty soon I had good legs and I was thinking, ‘Maybe I’m gonna push it and see what happens. He could be in a bad day or he could fade.’ I saw him at the turnaround and I gained two minutes, I think.”

Allen led most of the time until the last leg of the race — a 15-kilometer road run that stretched from AMP to Beach Road.

Allen had the best swim time of 25:16 at the beach side of Pacific Islands Club and kept his distance from the pack with 1:34:24 in the 60-km road bike leg.

Lassonde posted 29:26 and 1:33:50 in the swim and bike legs, respectively — just enough to edge third-ranked Jens Buder (3:11:09) of Germany and American Will Kelsay (3:12:44) from Boulder, Colorado.

“I was four minutes back (from Allen) on the swim, and on the bike it was also four minutes so I didn’t really gain anything. I was expecting to gain some time but I didn’t, so it was all about the run,” said Lassonde, who placed third in XTERRA Saipan last week.

The chase for the women’s title was a different story for Allen’s girlfriend and travel partner Jacqui Slack, who was the first female finisher with 3:18:42.

Slack, from the UK, ranked sixth overall and outran XTERRA rivals Carina Wasle (3:22:54) of Austria, Saipan’s Mieko Carey (3:24:05), and Switzerland’s Renata Bucher (3:26:01).

“I was working really hard. Road triathlon is my background so I knew out of all the races that this was gonna be my race,” said Slack, a first-timer in Tagaman.

Wasle, Carey, and Bucher came head-to-head in the second leg, though it was Bucher who had the best road bike time at 1:45:17.

Slack secured the women’s title with one hour, three minutes, 34 seconds in the final run.

“I knew that if they haven’t caught me on the bike, then I’d have a big chance of winning. I just had to push hard on the run and fight my demons,” she said.

“I was a little bit disheartened on the bike because just halfway around the turning point I saw the girls just behind one of the guys.”

Giving up was no option for Slack, who was the women’s first runner-up in XTERRA Saipan.

“Somewhere in the race I just wanted to stop but I knew this was my race and I just kept pushing and battled my way through,” she added.

Meanwhile, Guam’s Gabriel Lombard completed the men’s open division’s top five with 3:18:25, followed by Benjamin Dillon (3:23:45), Cameron O’Neal (3:31:36), and Peter Lombard (3:31:45) — all from Guam.

In the same category, Japanese professional triathlete Takahiro Ogasawara recorded 3:53:11 while Saipan’s Butch Sublemente and Korea’s Yu Hun Park had 3:53:23 and 4:08:40, respectively.

The women’s open division also included Japan’s Ai Hirano (3:51:19) and another local athlete, Dawn Hammermeister (4:04:59).

Allen, Bucher win PIC Double

Despite coming short this weekend, Ben Allen and Renata Bucher received the 2012 PIC Double Award during the Tagaman awards ceremony on Saturday night.

The award was given to participants with the best combined time from the Tagaman Triathlon and XTERRA Saipan.

Allen topped the men’s category with five hours, 23 minutes, and 51 seconds after winning XTERRA at 2:31:05.

Bucher — who dominated alongside Allen last week— totaled 6:20:57. Jacqui Slack (6:23:28) followed close behind but was short by nearly three minutes.

Wasle and the UK’s Sam Gardner claimed the same title in 2011.




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