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Stoltz unstoppable in Michigan

South Africa’s three time World Xterra champion, Conrad Stoltz, made it two from two when he won the XTERRA Midwest Cup in Battle Creek, Michigan on Sunday 17 May.

Stoltz won the first race of the year at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada earlier this month and his next race will be in Shelby County, Alabama for the third race, the Southeast Cup on Saturday May 23.

The return for XTERRA to the Midwest was greeted on Sunday morning with -1 Degree Celsius temperatures and ice in the shallow water.

The elite field got a 30-second head start on the age group mass start on a two-lap 500-metre per lap swim. Thirteen minutes later Craig Evans, Conrad Stoltz, Seth Wealing and Christine Jeffrey emerged out of the water for the bike leg.

Such is the class of Conrad Stoltz that he simply rode away from the pack. Fellow South African Dan Hugo started giving Stoltz something to worry about on the first lap.┬á ‘I kept looking back and Dan was still there and even closing a bit,’ said Stoltz.┬á ‘Then he suddenly was gone and I thought he hit a tree.’┬á It was not a tree, but the fact that Hugo lost a contact lens and was having depth perception troubles.

At the end of lap one Hugo was still close to Conrad, Josiah Middaugh was coming up fast and Mike Vine had pulled up into 4th with Nico Lebrun also coming quickly.

Once out on the run, the race for second place was still furious. Dan Hugo was second with Josiah Middaugh and Mike Vine coming up on him fast.┬á Lebrun was not as strong as usual on the run in fifth, with a pretty close pack of Wealing, Brian Smith, Craig Evans, Branden Rakita and Michigan’s own Ryan Decook chasing him very hard.

Hugo’s impaired vision caused him no end of difficulties as he dropped two places to finish fourth, but Stoltz had no such problems winning by more than a minute.

1  Conrad Stoltz  35             2:03:16  (100 competition points)  ($1,800 prize money)
2  Mike Vine  35                 2:04:13  90  $1,250
3  Josiah Middaugh  30         2:04:27  82  $800
4  Dan Hugo  23                 2:05:27  75  $500
5  Nico Lebrun  35             2:06:00  69  $400