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Llanos set to defend tomorrow

Dibens seeks her 4th XTERRA World title.

Eneko Llanos, the reigning XTERRA World Champion from Spain, checked in to the Makena Beach & Golf Resort with thoughts of becoming the first XTERRA athlete to win four World Titles tomorrow.

Two weeks ago, Llanos finished seventh at the Ironman World Championship in 8:22:02, a full 15 minutes faster than his time last year when he placed 14th. When asked what he’s been doing since last Saturday, he replied “not much, just resting and visiting the Islands. I started training again a couple days ago but just short sessions. I’m feeling good and recovered, and I hope to be competitive on Sunday.”

Being competitive shouldn’t be a problem for Llanos, who has won in Maui three times, finished second twice, and been in the top six in seven of 10 attempts since 2000. While his focus has been on long-distance road triathlons over the past several years, he still loves the dirt and checks up on what’s going on with the XTERRA tour all year long.

“I follow the XTERRA season, and check in after each race because I want to know what the XTERRA triathletes are doing,” said Llanos. “Last month I saw the results from the U.S. Championships and Conrad (Stoltz) looks like he’s very strong. He’s flying on the bike and for sure will be very tough to beat.”

This is Llanos’ 11th trip to Maui, an annual visit that has become part of his lifestyle.

“Since the first time I came here it’s always been a great experience, and I enjoy very much the atmosphere here and the competition,” said Llanos. “I love riding and running off-road, and for me it’s always fun to be here. If I can be the first to win a fourth XTERRA World Championship, that would be awesome.”

Julie Dibens, third at the Ironman World Championships, is back to get her fourth XTERRA World title. Check out her pre-race interview here.

Check out our earlier story for more race information.