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Ruzafa, Wasle win XTERRA Reunion

Author : Press Release

La Saline les Bains (Trou d'eau) - Reunion Island – Ruben Ruzafa from Spain and Carina Wasle of Austria captured the third-annual XTERRA Reunion off-road triathlon elite titles for the second year in a row on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017. It's the 24th career XTERRA major win for Ruzafa and the 15th for Wasle. Ruzafa's winning time of 2:18:50 was more than two-minutes ahead of Frenchman Brice Daubord and four-minutes in front of 2015 Reunion Champ Bradley Weiss.  "It was a great victory, but it was hard-earned," posted Ruzafa to his twitter account.

In the women's race Wasle, who won XTERRA Saipan earlier this year, led from wire-to-wire with the fastest swim, bike, and run times.  "Mission completed," she exclaimed on her Facebook page. "Easter Sunday fun at XTERRA Reunion! Very happy to win this year again."
In the men's race Daubord was first out of the water in 20:18 followed closely by Weiss then Ruzafa 38-seconds later. "It was one of my best swims in recent memory," said Weiss, who broke his wrist in a mountain bike accident in December. "It's been a rocky road back to full fitness since my injury and I'm happy with a solid swim after months of hard work. My injuries are now a thing of the past."

Daubord's lead didn't last long as the four-time champion of France's cross-country triathlon championship suffered a brief mechanical issue, giving way to Ruzafa and Weiss. From there Ruzafa posted the fastest split of the day in 1:11:23, more than two-minutes quicker than Weiss, and took a lead into the run he would not relinquish. "Having Ruben in a race always changes the dynamics, including my race tactics, and I was determined to give him everything I had on the bike," said Weiss.

Ruzafa's lead grew to about 40-seconds on Weiss after a technical single-track section, and Ruzafa began the run with a two-minute lead. Daubord had the fastest run split of the day and passed Weiss halfway to the finish to move into second-place. "Brice is a phenomenal runner," said Weiss. "When I saw him on the run, I knew I was in trouble. He came past me at the 5K mark. I hung in for a while but he broke the elastic first."

Nico Sterk finished eight-minutes behind Weiss in fourth, with Dominik Wychera in 5th.

As for Wasle, she went relatively unchallenged as South African Vicky Van Der Merwe, who placed 4th at XTERRA South Africa in February, had a tough fall on the bike that made for a long day. "Yesterday was the deepest I've had to dig to finish a race," she posted to her FB page. "After a bad crash on the bike I ran the last 5km of the bike leg with a fractured wrist. The 10km run after that was purely on adrenaline! Silly mistake but happy just to have finished."

Truly a gutsy performance for Van Der Merwe, who basically ran nine miles with a broken wrist, "and massive thanks to organizers and doctors for looking after me so well," she added. Organizer Yannick Desfarges called the event a huge success.  "Everyone I spoke with said it was a magnificent race with beautiful trails.  We are proud to provide this unique experience in the Indian Ocean, on the island of Reunion we call the 'intense island!'"

More than 500 participants took part in the weekend events, include 180 kids on Saturday.

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