Luxem, Poor win XTERRA Cyprus
Yeray Luxem from Belgium and Brigitta Poor from Hungary captured the inaugural XTERRA Cyprus off-road triathlon, which turned into a duathlon, on Sunday, April 23, 2017.
It’s the second career XTERRA major win for Luxem, who won his first at XTERRA Poland last year, and the second win this season for Poor, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champ, who also won the opener at XTERRA Malta earlier this month.
XTERRA World Tour managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report…
The weathermen were right. They called for high winds and big waves and that was what we were served for breakfast this morning. Why is it when you plan an outing because the weather is supposed to be good – it rains?
So, the first XTERRA Cyprus became a duathlon. Not only were the waves high and the shore chop brutal, but the undercurrents were super strong. The wave action was so severe there was no way we could keep our swimmers safe as navigating in white water was impossible. We had to change the run as well because the waves were pounding the white cliffs we originally came down through.
XTERRA European Tour director Nico Lebrun and the crew found a passage just down the beach that connected with a more inland path and that became the final kilometer of each lap of the run.
Regardless of all these chaotic challenges, race director Sgt. Ferguson called the troops to order and we started with only a few minutes delay. The run was one lap of our course and it was led by Belgium’s Yeray Luxem followed closely by Oivind Bjerkseth. Who, you say? This is a super young man from Norway whose sport is mountain biking. He watched XTERRA Maui live on the web and said, “That is for me.”
Norwegians are not noted for being swimmers and Oivind had his first open water swim just last November. You can see from the Malta results he had the 7th fastest bike and a swim that was 10 minutes slower than the winners. He was a very happy man to hear he would not have to face those ferocious waves today.
Francois Carloni had a good first run and took off quickly after Luxem. Today was not the Frenchman’s day, however, “I felt strong after the first run, got on my bike and went out quick but then my legs said no,” he explained. He did pass Oivind quickly on the bike but soon faded. Carloni only arrived the day before and while France is not a long way – the travel may have contributed to his lack of power.
Thomas Kerner was quickly in 4th followed by his German buddies Sebastian Neef, Hannes Wolpert and Stephan Radeck. Julien Buffe is a strong swimmer and as such, he was not happy about the duathlon, however, he came out swinging and rode an excellent race.
The best story of the day involves our winner, Yeray Luxem. At the pre-race briefing, one slide showed a herd of sheep grazing on one of the trails of the bike course. The director said quickly, “They will be gone on race day.” Luxem was riding hard trying to drop his chasers and had to slow to a crawl.
“The sheep were there in the same place as the photo, exactly the same,” laughed Luxem. His speed had the sheep running and bleating and cleared the way for the rest of the bunch.
For the women, Brigitta Poor was simply too strong today. It looked as if Morgane Riou would be a contender as she is not a swimmer but runs very quickly, however, Brigitta simply took off at the start and never looked back. Riou was riding well but suffered a flat that became hard to fix and lost considerable time. She kept at it and ran an equal final 10K to Poor but was far back because of the bike. Sweden’s Cecilia Jessen was alone in 3rd with our bubbly Brit Daz Parker a fine 4th outrunning Marika Wagner.
At the end of the first lap we could see two riders together in the lead. We thought it must be Carloni and Luxem but no; it was the upstart Norwegian Bjerkseth.
“I tried to pass him on the downhills but could not do it and he pulled away from me on the climbs. These guys do a fast pace,” smiled Bjerkseth.
Luxem got passed on one downhill and said “Oh, here comes Carloni,” and looked over and saw it was not. “It was Oivind,” he said. “He would look at me and when I took a drink he would push hard.”
Thomas Kerner had trained hard in the off season and was easily in 4th but pushing hard as Buffe was less than one-minute behind. On the last climb before T2 Luxem pedaled hard and created a gap between Bjerkseth. He used his transition skills to gain another seven-seconds on the inexperienced Oivind.
“I was feeling very strong and I know I am a fast runner but I did not know what he could do so I went out at a good pace,” said Luxem.
“I tried to follow him as best I could but after the first lap I knew I could not catch him,” said Bjerkseth.
Carloni came out of T2 in 3rd but was passed first by Kerner, then Buffe, and finally Neef to finish 6th.
|1||Yeray Luxem, BEL||2:32:14||75||00:17:14||01:36:11||00:37:56|
|2||Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR||2:35:15||67||00:17:18||01:36:30||00:40:09|
|3||Thomas Kerner, GER||2:42:04||61||00:17:20||01:45:18||00:38:36|
|4||Julien Buffe, FRA||2:44:16||56||00:18:40||01:45:04||00:39:46|
|5||Sebastian Neef, GER||2:45:10||51||00:23:37||01:40:19||00:40:24|
|6||Francois Carloni, FRA||2:46:08||47||00:17:32||01:43:28||00:44:15|
|7||Hannes Wolpert, BEL||2:46:22||43||00:18:26||01:44:54||00:42:10|
|8||Stephan Radeck, GER||2:47:46||39||00:18:11||01:48:32||00:40:10|
|1||Brigitta Poor, HUN||3:02:54||75||00:19:58||01:57:59||00:43:56|
|2||Morgane Riou, FRA||3:13:19||67||00:20:22||02:08:16||00:43:36|
|3||Cecila Jessen, SWE||3:23:15||61||00:21:39||02:12:33||00:47:31|
|4||Daz Parker, GBR||3:33:34||56||00:22:04||02:20:36||00:49:25|
|5||Marika Wagner, SWE||3:38:48||51||00:23:43||02:19:25||00:54:23|
While a bit different than planned, XTERRA Cyprus came off fine. The organizers did a great job; things happened on time, there was good information about the changes and our athletes enjoyed themselves.
“I’ve been to many XTERRA’s all over the world and these guys did a great job, especially for a first-time event,” said Canadian age group standout Chuck Fortier. “The awards were wonderful handmade dishes and the booming voice of Race Director Sgt Neal Ferguson needed no microphone for the presentation.”
I have to think that once the world has seen the photos and read the reports and talked to their friends that Cyprus will triple in size for next year. Think about it. Take 10 days and do a fabulous Mediterranean Holiday in Cyprus and Greece and do it with your XTERRA family.
XTERRA European Tour Elite Standings
Francois Carloni and Brigitta Poor hold the early lead in the XTERRA European Tour standings after the first two of 15 events in this year’s tour. Up next: XTERRA Greece next Sunday!
2017 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR PRO POINTS STANDINGS
After 2 – 4.23
|1||Francois Carloni, FRA||108||61||47|
|2||Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR||100||33||67|
|3||Roger Serrano, ESP||75||75||DNS|
|4||Yeray Luxem, BEL||75||DNS||75|
|5||Maximilian Sasserath, GER||67||67||DNS|
|6||Stephan Radeck, GER||64||25||39|
|7||Thomas Kerner, GER||61||DNS||61|
|8||Jan Pyott, SUI||56||56||DNS|
|9||Julien Buffe, FRA||56||DNS||56|
|10||Jörg Scheiderbauer, GER||51||51||DNS|
|11||Sebastian Neef, GER||51||DNS||51|
|12||Tomas Kubek, CZE||47||47||DNS|
|13||Mark Hamersma, NED||43||43||DNS|
|14||Hannes Wolpert, BEL||43||DNS||43|
|15||Jim Thijs, BEL||39||39||DNS|
|16||Geert Lauryssen, BEL||36||36||DNS|
|17||Maxim Chane, FRA||30||30||DNS|
|18||Doug Hall, GBR||27||27||DNS|
|19||Callum Hughes, GBR||23||23||DNS|
|1||Brigitta Poor, HUN||150||75||75|
|2||Cecila Jessen, SWE||100||39||61|
|3||Helena Erbenova, CZE||67||67||DNS|
|4||Morgane Riou, FRA||67||DNS||67|
|5||Nicole Walkers, GBR||61||61||DNS|
|6||Maud Golsteyn, NED||56||56||DNS|
|7||Daz Parker, GBR||56||DNS||56|
|8||Carina Wasle, AUT||51||51||DNS|
|9||Marika Wagner, SWE||51||DNS||51|
|10||Kristina Lapinova, SLK||47||47||DNS|
|11||Louise Fox, GRB||43||43||DNS|
|12||Anna Pauline Sasserath, GER||36||36||DNS|
|13||Kathrin Mueller, GER||33||33||DNS|
|14||Marta Menditto, ITA||30||30||DNS|
Weiss, Wasle win XTERRA Danao
Bradley Weiss from South Africa and Carina Wasle from Austria captured the 7th annual XTERRA Philippines Championship elite race titles on a brutally long, hot day in Danao on Sunday, April 23, 2017.
It’s the third straight XTERRA Philippines title for Weiss and the third win this season for Wasle, who now has 16 majors in her career.
“Brutally hot race and probably the longest, hottest, and hardest race ever in my six years of racing XTERRA,” said Weiss. “Very stoked to come out on top and winning my third race in a row here in the Philippines is the cherry on top for sure.”
As for Wasle, who won at XTERRA Saipan in March and XTERRA Reunion just last weekend, it’s amazing she was able to finish this grueling race having just broken her toe less than a week ago while entering the swim at Reunion.
“I knew I was in good shape, but I didn’t know if my toe would stop me from having a good run,” said Wasle. “Turned out okay and it was the perfect race for me today. I couldn’t be happier.”
In the men’s race the reigning XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion Ben Allen was first out of the water, with Sam Osborne following steps behind into transition. Weiss was about one-minute back, followed by Kieran McPherson another minute behind, then Olly Shaw in fifth.
“I had a pretty solid swim, lost about a minute to Ben and Sam,” said Weiss. “I closed the gap about 7km into the bike and didn’t really lose it from there. Sam pushed me hard but I got a gap at the start of the second 20km loop and opened it from there.”
As proof of how difficult the new Danao bike course was (40kms with 1,500-meters of elevation gain in searing heat and humidity) Weiss was the only racer all day to break the two-hour mark for the bike portion. His bike split of 1:59:40 was more than six-minutes better than Osborne’s.
“Had 6mins off the bike and just survived the run, really, to make it to the finish line,” said Weiss. “It was the most challenging bike course and I do enjoy the challenge, and I love mountain biking so I won the race through the mountain biking leg.”
Osborne, who won XTERRA New Zealand last weekend on a much cooler day in his hometown of Rotorua, said it was one of the hottest and hardest courses he’s ever done and was quick to praise Weiss on his effort, “Well done to Bradley, he was super strong today,” said Osborne.
Kieran McPherson finished third, followed by Ben Allen, who had several mechanicals on the bike, and former “Mr. XTERRA” award-winner Will Kelsay in 5th.
In the women’s race, it was Jessica Koltz was first out of the water (6th overall), followed 20-seconds later by Jacqui Allen then Wasle and Penny Slater two minutes behind.
Wasle took over on the bike, posting the fastest split by more than 13-minutes to Allen, and had the fastest run as well to take the tape in 4:07:49.
“I still don’t like the heat and humidity, but it’s the same for everyone,” said Wasle. “What I really do enjoy is traveling a lot to new places, seeing the different cultures, and making friends. I love racing too, it’s always a new challenge and that motivates me to do it all over again. Here in Cebu everything is perfect. Princess and the Sunrise Events team take care of us and we have quite a lot of fun beside the training.”
Jacqui Allen looked to be comfortably in second-place following the bike leg but suffered from dehydration and had to pull out. That left her pupil, Penny Slater in her rookie year as an elite, to take second-place followed by the American Jessica Koltz.
XTERRA Danao Elite Results
|1||Bradley Weiss, RSA||3:16:00||100|
|2||Sam Osborne, NZL||3:23:33||90|
|3||Kieran McPherson, NZL||3:34:27||82|
|4||Ben Allen, AUS||3:44:26||75|
|5||Will Kelsay, USA||3:50:48||69|
|6||Joe Miller, PHI||3:52:04||63|
|7||Olly Shaw, NZL||3:53:43||58|
|8||Taylor Charlton, AUS||4:13:44||53|
|9||Alex Roberts, NZL||4:24:04||49|
|1||Carina Wasle, AUT||4:07:49||100|
|2||Penny Slater, AUS||4:36:21||90|
|3||Jessica Koltz, USA||5:22:53||82|
All-Time XTERRA Philippines Champions
2011 – Sam Gardner, Shonny Vanlandingham
2012 – Ben Allen, Renata Bucher
2013 – Ben Allen, Lesley Paterson
2014 – Dan Hugo, Renata Bucher
2015 – Bradley Weiss, Flora Duffy
2016 – Bradley Weiss, Lizzie Orchard
2017 – Bradley Weiss, Carina Wasle
XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Standings
With his second-place finish today Sam Osborne retains his lead in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings after four events, followed by McPherson, Allen, Weiss, and Kelsay.
Carina Wasle leads the women’s chase having won both Saipan and the Philippines, with Penny Slater in second and Renata Bucher in third.
“I never won the APAC Tour or the European Tour,” said Wasle. “So, it would be great to win the APAC Tour this year. I’ll certainly try my best to finish strong at all the races.”
Next up is the big one, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in Langkawi, Malaysia, which boasts a tour-leading $25,000 USD prize purse, and just about everyone from the Philippines will make the trip to Langkawi to take a shot at the title.
2017 XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR POINT STANDINGS
After 4 (As of 4.22.17)
|1||Sam Osborne, NZL||240||75||DNS||75||90|
|2||Kieran McPherson, NZL||213||56||75||DNS||82|
|3||Ben Allen, AUS||203||61||67||DNS||75|
|4||Bradley Weiss, RSA||167||67||DNS||DNS||100|
|5||Will Kelsay, USA||163||47||47||DNS||69|
|6||Brodie Gardner, AUS||147||39||61||47||DNS|
|7||Olly Shaw, NZL||109||DNS||DNS||51||58|
|8||Markus Benesch, AUT||102||51||51||DNS||DNS|
|9||David Ballesteros, ESP||99||DNS||56||43||DNS|
|10||Taylor Charlton, AUS||96||DNS||43||DNS||53|
|11||Joe Miller, PHI||93||30||DNS||DNS||63|
|12||Alex Roberts, NZL||85||DNS||DNS||36||49|
|13||Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS||72||36||36||DNS||DNS|
|14||Hayden Wilde, NZL||67||DNS||DNS||67||DNS|
|15||Kyle Smith, NZL||61||DNS||DNS||61||DNS|
|16||Fynn Thompson, NZL||56||DNS||DNS||56||DNS|
|17||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||51||21||30||DNS||DNF|
|18||Yuichi Hosoda, JPN||43||43||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|20||John Mering, NZL||39||DNS||DNS||39||DNS|
|21||Dominik Wychera, AUT||33||33||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|22||Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA||33||DNS||33||DNS||DNS|
|23||Cedric Wane, FRA||33||DNS||DNS||33||DNS|
|24||Emil Duraj, SVK||27||27||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|25||Akihiko Maeda, JPN||25||25||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|26||Michal Bucek, SVK||23||23||DNF||DNS||DNS|
|1||Carina Wasle, AUT||175||75||DNS||DNS||100|
|2||Penny Slater, AUS||141||DNS||DNS||51||90|
|7||Renata Bucher, SUI||131||DNS||75||56||DNS|
|3||Jessica Koltz, USA||82||DNS||DNS||DNS||82|
|4||Jacqui Allen, GBR||75||DNS||DNS||75||DNF|
|8||Kelli Montgomery, USA||67||DNS||67||DNS||DNS|
|5||Mieko Carey, JPN||67||67||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|9||Hannah Wells, NZL||67||DNS||DNS||67||DNS|
|6||Marika Wagner, SWE||61||DNS||61||DNS||DNS|
|10||Josie Wilcox, NZL||61||DNS||DNS||61||DNS|
|11||Belinda Hadden, AUS||56||DNS||56||DNS||DNS|
|12||Rebecca Clarke, NZL||47||DNS||DNS||47||DNS|
|13||Lizzy Bunckenburg, NZL||43||DNS||DNS||43||DNS|