Mauricio Mendez of Mexico took the men’s crown three days after his 21st birthday and Flora Duffy of Bermuda completed an XTERRA World Championship 3-peat just a month after winning the ITU World Triathlon Series World Championship in Cozumel.
On a hot and steamy course made slippery by rain-soaked mud, Duffy won wire-to-wire with a women’s-best 21:27 swim, 2:02:03 mountain bike split and 48:32 trail run to finish in 3:15:00 with a 10:02 margin of victory over 2-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson of Great Britain and 14:04 over 3rd-place finisher Suzie Snyder of the U.S.
Coming off a spectacular upset win at the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Cozumel, Duffy enjoyed a dominating win for her third straight XTERRA World Championship – a feat that tied her with Julie Dibens, 2007, 2008 and 2009 XTERRA World Champion and 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Champion.
Duffy led the women's swim by 1:30 over Michelle Flipo of Mexico, 4 and a half minutes over Suzie Snyder of the U.S., and 5:37 over Lesley Paterson. Duffy added another 3:17 over Paterson with her women’s-best 2:02:03 mountain bike split and padded her lead over Paterson by another 1:02 with her women's-best 48:32 run.
“This was the most brutal conditions I’ve ever faced in XTERRA,” said Duffy. “It’s a totally different climate and the mud sticks to your bike and covers everything. My bike must have weighed 10 extra pounds and the mud clogged my pulley wheels and made it hard to shift gears. At any time my bike could have slipped out of gear and it could have cost me 8 minutes.”
After it was all over, Duffy had time to appreciate her season. “It’s a great way to cap off the best year in my tri career,” said Duffy. “It was pretty cool to win the ITU and XTERRA World Championships in one year – and it was a great motivator to keep me focused at the end of the year.”
Just three weeks after he won his first Ironman 70.3 Cozumel and a summer in which he won three XTERRA European Tour events, Mendez passed 3-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa of Spain with 2 kilometers to go on Maui’s rugged trail run.
“It was amazing how it all came together today,” Mendez told Slowtwitch. “I have admired Ruben for a long time. He is a great athlete and an amazing person. At the finish he told me he was happy I was the person to beat him. That was one of the greatest feelings ever in my life – that a person like that was telling me such a thing.”
Mendez came out of the swim in 3rd place, 24 seconds behind the leader, and then fought hard to stay within 2:28 of Ruzafa’s race-best mountain bike leg. On his way to a race-best 42:45 trail run, Mendez passed Ruzafa at the crest of a final hill just 2 kilometers from the finish. After cruising to the finish in 2:49:39, Mendez enjoyed a 1:24 margin of victory over Ruzafa and 4:11 over 3rd-place Ben Allen of Australia.
“It was a very mental thing when I passed [Ruzafa],” said Mendez. “I was very tired but I tried to enjoy the moment. I talk to myself often in a race and told myself it is very important to enjoy it. So when I passed him it was the biggest combination – a lot of feelings came together at the moment.”
XTERRA World Championship
October 23, 2016
S 1.5 mi. / B 30k / R 11k
1. Flora Duffy (BER) 3:15:00
2. Lesley Paterson (GBR) 3:25:02
3. Suzie Snyder (USA) 3:29:04
4. Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA) 3:30:52
5. Helena Erbenova (CZE) 3:32:55
6. Michelle Flipo (MEX) 3:35:49
7. Jacqui Slack (GBR) 3:41:46
8. Lizzie Orchard (NZL) 3:42:15
9. Carina Wasle (AUT) 3:44:20
10. Joanna Brown (CAN) 3:57:00
1. Mauricio Mendez (MEX) 2:49:39
2. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:51:03
3. Ben Allen (AUS) 2:53:50
4. Braden Currie (NZL) 2:55:49
5. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:57:07
6. Leonardo Chacon (CRC) 2:57:15
7. Ben Hoffman (USA) 3:01:42 *Kona-Maui Double winner
8. Courtney Atkinson (AUS) 3:02:23
9. Sam Osborne (NZL) 3:02:53
10. Rom Akerson (CRC) 3:05:17
16. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 3:07:45