Via XTERRA – April 26, 2015 (Saint-Gilles, Reunion)
A pair of XTERRA stars from South Africa – Bradley Weiss and Carla Van Huyssteen – took the top spots at the inaugural XTERRA Reunion off-road tri in Saint-Gilles today.
It’s the second XTERRA World Tour win of the year for Weiss, who captured the season-opener at XTERRA Philippines in February – and a triumphant return from injury for Van Huyssteen, a two-time XTERRA South Africa Champ. Both will now head to Langkawi, Malyasia to compete for next Saturday’s XTERRA Asian Tour Championship.
In the men’s race local triathlon hero David Hauss – winner of the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup earlier this year – was more than one-minute faster than everyone out of the water and also posted the fastest run split of the day but in XTERRA the race is usually won on the mountain bike and that’s where Weiss took over.
Weiss had a race best 1:09:32 bike split and was able to hold off XTERRA Greece Champion Francois Carloni and Yeray Luxem from Belgium on the run to take the tape in 2:17:20.
“Awesome to take another championship win, especially on such a beautiful island,” said Weiss. “This place is fast becoming my favourite event location!”
Weiss said the race was a real battle between himself and Carloni.
“Hauss took an early lead in the swim but once the real climbing started on the bike his lack of mountain biking was evident,” said Weiss. “Myself and Carloni worked well together on the bike and opened up a big lead on third. I was unsure of his running abilities so really wanted to open a gap on the final technical descent into transition. Unfortunately, I took a hard fall and ended up cutting my leg on my pedal. Thankfully I was able to close the gap back up to Carloni before entering T2 and we started the run together. Early on it was clear that he had biked too hard and I was able to slowly open a gap on him. The run was technical but had a few flat faster sections which I was able to take advantage of. With a 1.5km beach run to the finish I was able to back it down and take in the moment. I am unsure how often this will happen so I was determined to enjoy it.”
Luxem ran his way into second and Carloni was able to hold off Hauss for third place. Jan Kubicek of the Czech Republic was 5th, followed by Theo Blignaut (South Africa), Sam Gardner (England) and Simone Calamai (Italy).
PL FIRST FINAL SWIM BIKE RUN
1 Bradley Weiss, RSA 2:17:20 0:19:24 1:09:32 0:47:02
2 Yeray Luxem, BEL 2:20:43 0:20:50 1:13:55 0:44:25
3 Francois Carloni, FRA 2:21:37 0:19:26 1:10:42 0:51:23
4 David Hauss, FRA 2:23:12 0:18:04 1:20:16 0:43:27
5 Jan Kubicek, CZE 2:24:42 0:21:50 1:15:10 0:46:25
6 Theo Blignaut, RSA 2:26:31 0:19:25 1:15:25 0:50:31
7 Sam Gardner, GBR 2:29:42 0:22:54 1:15:12 0:50:04
8 Simone Calamai, ITA 2:43:54 0:23:44 1:22:33 0:55:39
In the women’s race Van Huyssteen was locked in a back-and-forth battle with reigning XTERRA European Tour Champion Kathrin Mueller. The two posted near identical swim and bike times so it all came down to the run. Here is how Van Huyssteen described the action…
“The route suited me quite well. Hot and technical! It was quite a technical swim and I was happy to get onto some good feet and actually had a decent swim. I ran into T1 just ahead of Kathrin and we basically rode together all the way. She tried to drop me on some of the climbs, but I kept working hard and managed to stay on her wheel. I have been working on my bike, and hope it will make some difference in my racing this year. The last 5km on the bike was super rocky and technical but we stuck together and then I ran out of T2 in the lead and tried not to look back from there. The run was hard, technical, over sand, rock, and river crossings. I tried to just keep going. Kathrin got off course at some point, so apparently lost a bunch of time, so the time gap was massive, and would not have been that big but I think I still could’ve snatched the title this time around.”
The victory is especially reward for Huyssteen after having to sit-out her hometown race at XTERRA South Africa due to injury in February.
“It was a great privilege racing here in the Reunion Islands and the organizers really went above and beyond to put on an exceptional racing experience,” said Van Huyssteen. “Finally, a word of thanks to David Hauss for taking part in his home XTERRA and doing a race outside of his comfort zone.”
For Mueller, who won six majors in Europe last season, the past few months have been consumed by mountain biking (she did the Cape Epic four weeks ago) and skiing so she was uncertain how she’d come into it. “It`s a fantastic area and a very challenging bike and run course,” she said.
“I’m very thankful for the invitation from the very nice and friendly people here. It’s great organization.”
XTERRA Reunion technical director Yannick Desfargis finished 8th overall and top amateur on the day. Local triathlete Claire Baudis finished third woman overall and captured the amateur title.
PL FIRST FINAL SWIM BIKE RUN
1 Carla Van Huyssteen, RSA 2:38:47 0:21:18 1:24:20 0:51:58
2 Kathrin Mueller, GER 2:47:58 0:21:34 1:24:10 1:01:07
3 Claire Baudis, FRA 3:24:50 0:28:39 1:49:32 1:02:49