Middaugh wins Xterra Quebec for his 4th victory in 2018 season | VailDaily.com

Middaugh wins Xterra Quebec for his 4th victory in 2018 season

Pamela Hunt
Special to the Daily

Eagle-Vail triathlete Josiah Middaugh captured the Xterra Quebec off-road triathlon elite title on Saturday, Aug. 18, at Lac Delage in Quebec, Canada.

It was his the fourth win of the season in the Xterra off-road triathlon's Pan Am Tour.

Fellow Colorado racer Branden Rakita posted the fastest swim split in the race, followed by Ian King, of Virginia Beach, and Canadian Karsten Madsen. Middaugh exited the water a little more than one-minute later with Tour leader Kieran McPherson, of New Zealand, and the chase was on.

"I had a good swim and started the bike with Kieran about 1:30 down, but Karsten was riding strong up ahead, putting time on me in corners and descents," Middaugh said. "I was pulling back time on some of the pedaling sections and finally caught him beginning the third loop."

'WAY OUT FRONT'

Madsen, who was on a mission to win for his home country, said he was putting time on everybody but Middaugh.

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"This course had 3,000 feet of climbing, so that created a lot of back and forth with Josiah," Madsen said. "I started to get the impression him and I were way out front."

Those two were out front, but McPherson has been running faster than all the regulars on the Tour this year and was still a threat.

"On the run I had a small cushion to Karsten and a big gap to the rest of the field," Middaugh said. "I looked at my Suunto and realized we were starting the run about the same time we would normally be finishing an Xterra, so I decided to fuel and pace the first lap and attack the second. The strategy worked and luckily I had something left in the tank."

Indeed, the course was one of the longer and harder on the Xterra World Tour this year, and heavy rain on Friday added some time to the already long and technical bike trails.

"The trails are amazing but the speeds are slow with so many twists, turns, ups, downs, roots and rocks," Middaugh said. "Made for a long, tough day."

Madsen agreed.

"I made a risk and tried to close back the gap that I heard was one-minute starting the run," Madsen said. "I pulled back within 15 seconds of (Middaugh) going into lap two but after climbing up I was cooked, just didn't have that gear."

McPherson, who has done 10 of the 11 races on the Pan Am Tour this year, was missing a gear, as well.

"Rough day at the office for me but credit to those boys," McPherson said. "It's been a long, challenging season and if you don't bring your A game each race you will be found out. Karsten and Josiah were too strong on the bike today, but what a great race Xterra Quebec put on. This will become one of those must-do races now for many."

Middaugh posted the fastest bike split of the day (1 hour, 56 minutes 8 seconds) and followed that with the quickest run (48:56) to take the tape in 3:06:37, nearly two-minutes ahead of Madsen in second. McPherson was third, Rakita came in fourth and Carlos Chang finished in fifth.

SHOWDOWN in Utah next

With just one event — the Xterra Pan Am Championship in Utah — remaining in the Pan Am Tour, McPherson holds a near insurmountable lead atop the men's standings.

A double points event, in Utah the winner will earn 200 points, second 180, third 164, fourth 150, fifth 138 and it goes down from there.

To secure the tour title, McPherson needs to cross the finish line in 13th or better at Snowbasin Resort on Sept. 15.

Madsen, who sits in second with 579 points, would top out at 779 points with a win. McPherson, with a 13th place finish, would end up with 781.

Middaugh is the reigning and two-time Xterra Pan Am Tour champ and while he has said he has not been attempting to earn a third straight tour victory this season, he finds himself just five points behind Madsen and in position to take advantage of any miscues from McPherson or Madsen ahead of him in Utah on Sept. 15.

Xterra Pan Am Tour overall standings

1 Kieran McPherson, NZL, 713 points

2 Karsten Madsen, CAN, 579 points

3 Josiah Middaugh, USA, 574 points

4 Branden Rakita, USA, 546 points

5 Alex Roberts, NZL, 368 points