Sweethearts Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack aim for another twin victories when they lead participants in tomorrow's 2013 Tagaman Triathlon.
Slack will try to defend the women's title after winning the longest-running triathlon race in the western Pacific region in her debut last year. The Great Britain bet completed the 2-kilometer swim, 60K bike, and 15K race in 3:18:42 to prevail over Austria's Carina Wasle (3:22:54) former Saipan pro Mieko Carey (3:24:05), Switzerland's Renata Bucher (3:26:01), Japan's Al Hirano (3:51:19), and Dawn Hammermeister (4:04:59).
“I would love to win Tagaman, again. After my XTERRA win, I still feel strong and have gained more confidence. However, I have high respect to my competitors, Renata, Carina, Mieko, and Daz (Parker), so I have to work harder and remain focus to get to the top again,” said Slack, who cruised to XTERRA Saipan victory last Saturday, stunning the seven-time champion Bucher and finishing over six minutes ahead of Wasle.
Wasle, who got a lot of breaks last weekend despite the treacherous weather on XTERRA Saipan day, hopes to end her series of bridesmaid finishes in Saipan races with a big win in Tagaman.
“I am really happy after finishing XTERRA Saipan in second and not having a bad fall in the bike race. However, I will be happier if I could win Tagaman this time. Hopefully, the weather will be great on Saturday,” Wasle said.
Wasle will be pressured to win Tagaman by no less than six minutes to take the PIC Double title, which is determined by combining the pros time in XTERRA and Tagaman.
Allen has a big lead in the men's division, going into tomorrow's race after timing in at 2:36:36 in XTERRA Saipan against the 2:52:04 of fourth finisher and United Kingdom's Sam Gardner, sixth placer and Switzerland's Olivier Marceau (2:59:45), and Scotland's Rory Downie (3:03:49). Runner-up Dan Hugo (2:44:18) and Bradley Weiss (2:50:54) of South Africa are not competing in tomorrow's race.
“I guess my Saipan trip will be complete if I win Tagaman, too. I look forward to having a strong finish on Saturday,” said Allen, who had the lead in last year's race before eventual champion Cedric Lassonde snuck past him near DFS Galleria in the run leg and won the race by just 20 seconds.
“I am better prepared this year than last's and improved my techniques a lot so I am hoping that the meltdown will not happen again,” the Aussie pro said.
Meanwhile, motorist and pedestrians in the San Antonio and Beach Road areas in the south to the Bird Island in the north are advised to take extra caution from 7am to 12pm and give way to bikers and runners.