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Ben Allen of Australia, Osborne and current XTERRA World Champion Mauricio Mendez of Mexico led the men’s swim in 19:45, 19:46 and 19:50. Whereupon, the Australian and the Kiwi “absolutely laid it down through transition and into the bike and managed to force a gap on Mauricio,” said Osborne.
Mendez, coming off a recent Ironman 70.3 pavement victory, charged and got back in front but made a mistake and was off his bike and pushing it up a hill when Osborne and Allen passed. As it happened, Mendez broke his derailleur and was done for the day. “I’m not sure if it was a tree root or a rock that I hit, but it was an unfixable mechanical,” Mendez told XTERRA media.
Both men were not aware that Mendez was through, and kept the pressure on. “It was like a time trial the whole bike,” said Osborne. “Ben was descending really well today and I wasn’t able to gap him on the bike at all.”
Osborne and Allen rode into transition together, but Osborne was first out of T2 and rode hard to make a 20-seconds gap by the top of a 5k climb and continued pushing on the following 5k descent – but the drama was not over. “I got a bit of a gap out of transition and got into a good rhythm but on the uphill I started to cramp quite bad and was in damage control to the top,” said Osborne. “It was a godsend to get to the downhill and let my legs just roll it out.”
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After a race best 45:33 trail run which was 1:12 faster than Allen, Osborne finished in 2:33:49 with a 1:16 margin of victory and 13:10 over 3rd place Christophe Betard of French Polynesia.
Cedric Tourneau from Tahiti was 5th overall and won the men’s amateur title.
Jacqui Allen was the only elite female in the event and she finished 6th overall including the men. Mimi Stockton of the U.S. was the second woman, 18th overall, and won the women’s amateur title.
“What a super location for an XTERRA,” she said. “It has everything. Crystal clear waters, mountain bike terrain with short steep climbs, rooty technical sections, fast rocky downhills and tricky creek crossings. The run is much the same and probably one of my favorite run courses on the circuit.”
XTERRA Tahiti was the sixth of seven races on this year's XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour, and with the win Osborne takes a commanding lead into the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour finale at XTERRA Japan in September.
With her 75 points for the win, Allen stands 2nd in the women’s chase, 43 points behind Carina Wasle of Austria.