Pre-race favourites Allen and Slack face stiff competition at 2014 Aussie Cross Tri Champs
Reigning Australian and British national champions Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack prep for a tough day at the Australian Cross Triathlon Championships in Bendigo this weekend…
Off-road triathlon specialists Ben Allen (AUS) and Jacqui Slack (GBR) will have their hands full if they want to end their 2014 season on a high in the elite division at the Australian Cross Triathlon Championships in Bendigo, Victoria this weekend, 13-14 December.
The reigning national champions have spent the year racing – and winning – all over the world. In total, the industry power couple have raced in 26 different countries this year, with Allen, 29, winning six races and finishing on the podium with an impressive third place at the Xterra World Championships in Maui in October. Slack, 31, recorded four victories this season and finished in the top 10 (ninth) in Maui.
Overall, the duo has a combined 22 Xterra off-road triathlon titles between them, and are looking to add the Aussie championships and a share of the AU$10,000 prize pool to their resumes and their bank accounts on Saturday.
Standing in Allen’s way will be 2013 national champion Dan Neilson (NSW) and current Queensland TreX series leader Max Neumann, as well as fellow Queenslanders Sam Stow, Brodie Gardner, Nick More and Russell Kennedy (VIC) round out the men’s elite field.
“This race is one of the most prestigious on my race calendar and for me to go there owning the national title and line up against Australia’s best off-road athletes is exciting,” said Allen. “I’m hungry and I know its not going to be an easy task but hopefully with the skills I’ve developed over the last couple of years, I’ve got the goods to get across the line first.”
For Slack, the women’s field may be smaller but perhaps more dangerous, with 2013 women’s national champion Connie Silvestri (QLD) and current Queensland series leader Louise Betts topping the list of competitors that also includes Renata Bucher (SUI), Dimity-Lee Duke (WA), Penny Hosken (VIC) and Belinda Hadden (VIC).
“This race is definitely not going to be easy,” said Slack. “I know Dimity and Belinda have been performing really well and I expect a tough race from Connie, Penny, well all of them really.
“It’s definitely not going to be a walk in the park.”
Allen and Slack, who are fresh off individual wins at the Bataan International Triathlon in the Philippines, will be joined by fellow elites and age-group athletes in the Dirt Master/Mistress Challenge, which combines results from the Australian Cross Triathlon Championships (1500m swim/30km mountain bike/10km trail run) on Saturday with a sprint triathlon (500m swim/15km mountain bike/5km trail run) on Sunday morning followed by a 10km trail run later in the afternoon.
“From past experiences, the race organisers always design really solid mountain bike courses,” said Slack, a native of Stoke-on-Trent, England. “In2Adventure always searches for lots of single track, obstacles and beautiful bushland, so I am expecting something similar.
“I don’t know if there will be any hills or not, but I am definitely expecting some good twisting and turning through the trees and I am sure they will make the run the same,” concludes Slack. “And all that plays into my strengths.”’
Prior to the weekend’s racing, In2Adventure is offering a free comprehensive adult training clinic hosted by reigning national champions Ben Allen (AUS) and Jacqui Slack (GBR) at 8am on Thursday, 11th December, as well as a free kids training clinic at 3.30pm that afternoon.
The following day, Allen and Slack will hold a free one-hour University learning lab at event registration starting at 5pm. The University will cover everything race participants will need to know about the 1500m swim/30km MTB/10km trail run course. Plus, preparations for race day and tips and tricks to help each athlete achieve their personal best.
With TreX offering both clinics and the university free of charge, bookings are essential and can be made by contacting event director Robyn Lazenby via email.
About the Australian Cross Triathlon Championships:
The Australian Cross-Triathlon Championships and Multisport Weekend is based in Victoria’s Gold Region in the City of Greater Bendigo just 90 minutes from Melbourne airport. Located in the Murray Darling Basin, Bendigo is surrounded by parkland and nature reserves and Crusoe Reservoir, just 10 minutes from the heart of the city provides an idyllic backdrop for a weekend of off-road action. The feature race consists of 1500m Swim, 30km XC Mountain Bike and 10km Trail Run. The multisport component offers two trail runs and a free kids adventure run. For more information about the event or the training clinics visit the event page HERE
For seven years TreX has positioned itself as the pinnacle of the cross – or off-road – triathlon racing series in Asia-Pacific. Presented by the premier outdoor adventure event specialists In2Adventure, TreX consists of a reservoir swim, mountain bike and trail run. While each TreX event features an elite category with industry-leading prize purses, including $10,000 for the Australian Cross Triathlon Championships and $40,000 for the Oceania Cross Triathlon Championships, the TreX Cross Triathlon national series invites participation from all ages and skill levels. For more information visit TreX HERE
In2Adventure are Asia-Pacific’s premier adventure event specialists. With a full calendar of national events scheduled throughout Australia, including adventure races, cross triathlon, XC Mountain Bike, trail runs and corporate events, In2Adventure fully embraces all things ‘off road’ and ‘off the beaten track’ and offers a unique, individual experience for all ages and skill levels. For more information visit In2Adventure HERE
Upcoming Events (2014/15):
- Australian Cross Triathlon Championships – Bendigo, VIC, 13/14 December 2014
- Snowies MTB Stage Race – Snowy Mountains, NSW, 21/22 February 2015
- Oceania Cross Triathlon Championships – Snowy Mountains, NSW, 28 Feb-1 March 2015
- TreX Cross Triathlon Championships – Sunshine Coast, QLD, 2/3 May 2015
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Photo Credit: Courtesy In2Adventure
Aaron S. Lee
Media Manager | Public Relations
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