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Gomez Noya wins Xterra on first try

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:30 a.m. HST, Oct 29, 2012

Javier Gomez Noya won the 2012 XTERRA World Championship held Sunday on Maui.

He completed the course (1.5-kilometer swim, 30K mountain bike, 10K trail run) in 2 hours, 26 minutes, 54 seconds. The 29-year-old Spaniard won the silver medal in the triathlon at the 2012 Olympics and followed that up with Sunday's win at the XTERRA in his first appearance.

"I didn't expect that," Gomez Noya said after his victory. "I had a really good swim, ... but I knew these guys like Conrad (Stoltz) and the good mountain bikers, they are much better than me, especially on the technical sections, so my tactic was try to push really hard uphill because they you can go hard uphill and then on the downhill just not even try to go crazy fast, just try to recover and avoid crashing. It worked pretty well."

Gomez Noya built a big lead after the swim, but lost it to Stoltz late on the bike. He regained the lead in the run portion of the gruelling race and never looked back.

XTERRA USA champion Josiah Middaugh of Colorado passed Stoltz during the run to finish second in 2:27:41. Stoltz, who holds a record four XTERRA World Championships, was third in 2:30:04. Leonardo Chacon (Costa Rica), Victor Del Corral (Spain), Brent McMahon (Canada), Asa Shaw (France), Tim Don (United Kingdom), Yeray Luxem (Belgium) and Olivier Marceau (France) rounded out the rest of the top 10.

Lesley Paterson was the top female with a time of 2:44:12.

"It was perfect from start to finish for me," she said. "I've done some great training leading up to this. This was my big focus of the year, and it panned out exactly how I wanted it to."

The 32-year-old from Scotland took the lead early in the bike and then built a huge advantage in the run. She won by more than four minutes over second-place finisher Barbara Riveros (2:48:19) of Chile. South Africa's Marie Rabie placed third in 2:53:56. Heather Jackson from Carlsbad, Calif., was fourth. Riveros, Rabie and Jackson made their XTERRA debuts.

Paterson won her first XTERRA World Championship last year.

Among the age-group amateurs, a pair of California teenagers took the spotlight. Neilson Powless from Roseville, Calif., was the top overall amateur with a time of 2:42:36, while Hannah Rae Finchamp from Altadena, Calif., was the top female amateur in 3:05:56.

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