ALLEN, ERBENOVA WIN XTERRA CZECH
August 8, 2015 (Prachatice, Czech Republic) – Ben Allen of Australia and Helena Erbenova of the Czech Republic captured the 13th edition of the XTERRA Czech Championship on a hot afternoon in Prachatice.
With the win Erbenova also secured her third XTERRA European Tour (XET) Championship crown in four years (she also won in 2012 and 2013). XTERRA Czech was the ninth of 12 races in the XET and the fifth of seven Gold level events. Elite athletes count their best four Gold and three Silver finishes. In her seven scoring races this year Erbenova won three Gold events (Spain, Italy Czech), two silver events (Greece and Sweden) and was second at France and Portugal for a total of 607 points (625 is max possible).
It’s the former winter Olympians third win in a row on the European Tour and third win in four years at her home country championship race.
For Allen the victory marks his third XTERRA World Tour win this season (16th lifetime) but his first victory in the Czech Republic after five tries.
“I’ve raced here many times before, and have always dreamed to take the win,” said Allen, who was making his first appearance on the XTERRA European Tour this season. “I’m so stoked to have accomplished that dream today. It wouldn’t have been possible without the love and support of my team.”
XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas was on-site to take in the action and brings us this report…
The posters say 2002 – 2015 and the Czech XTERRA race keeps going. We never saw one like this however. The sun burned most of the day and the temps were in the high 80’s. The organizers were on it and put out lots more water and the local population turned out in droves, and while not exactly legal, houses offered bottles and cups of water to passing runners and bikers.
It was Welcome Back Ben and Jacqui Day with Allen coming out of the swim second, passing Roger Serrano until he finally broke free on the 2nd lap going up the first technical climb.
“Ben pulled me a bit and I forgot where I was” said the soaking wet Serrano. “I got to the steep part and was in the wrong gear and had to unclip and run the bike. After that I never saw him.”
Allen continued to hammer the bike having the fastest time by more than one-minute. He led by nearly three-minutes coming into T2 and ran a smart two, tough laps.
“I knew I had a gap on Roger but did not know where Bradley (Weiss) was” said Allen.
Weiss, the South African who won the XTERRA Asian Tour Championship this year, had rear tire problems on the first lap and had to stop. “There was a small cut that was just in the wrong place and no way I could fix it” he said while watching the race out on the course.
Serrano was worried about Weiss as well. He came by me on a nasty uphill asking “where is Bradley?” Brad was right next to me and when Roger completed the mountain loop the second time and came down the hill Brad ran out yelling “Here I Am.” Everybody laughed in the middle of a very hard race; but that is the XTERRA way isn’t it?
Tomas Kubek had a great day – almost. The man from Slovakia was right on Serrano’s heels coming into T2 after posting the 2d fastest bike. They were together going up the hill on the first lap, but when they came down Tomas was clearly in pain and had dropped back giving 2nd to Serrano by a wide margin.
There is a super fun, tricky, technical part on the bike loop that has a steep up ramp that turns 90 degrees and goes down over a small rock jump and then into a series of bermed esses that is just a joy to watch. Everyone from the best biker to the most tentative rider has to do it and the differences are amazing. Ben came by in the lead, Serrano second, Kubek third, Jan Pyott fourth and then you could hear screeching brakes, crunching tires locking up on the sandy base and four bikes came through so fast and furious I had no idea who was who until I looked back into my photo file. Vaclav Holub led with Lubos Truhlar on his rear wheel followed by Czech champ Jan Kubick and Austrian Michael Szymoniuk.
Things started settling down as the weather and a tough course started taking its toll. Allen had it pretty much his way, Roger was solid in second. Poor young Tomas Kubek had given it all on the bike and was headed backwards. First Jan Pyott passed him and then the battling Szymoniuk and Kubick. These two had dropped the others and ran to a photo finish with the Austrian less than two-seconds ahead. Kubek never gave up and had a grand 5ht place. He’s only 24 and has a lot of years in front of him.
“Great to be back on the Euro Tour again,” said Allen after the race. “Spending some time away has left me hungry to come back! Roger and I exited the water with a handy lead and we worked together on the bike for 12km before Roger faded and wasn’t able to stay with me. I know the bike course in Czech extremely well having raced here five times before. It’s not easy and if you red line on any of the climbs you will pay for it later in the race. I rode within myself and really enjoyed the race. Loads of the locals came out to support all the athletes on a very hot and humid day! The course in Czech is extremely challenging, steep climbs, rocky descents and encompasses the Czech culture riding/running in and out of the town square. Michal (Pilousek) and his team do an amazing job creating a fun filled weekend for all the participants. The food and beer is cheap and you will always walk away, never forgetting your Czech adventure!”
Pl Name Time Points
1 Ben Allen, AUS 2:40:19 100
2 Roger Serrano, ESP 2:44:27 90
3 Jan Pyott, SUI 2:45:02 82
4 Michael Szymoniuk, AUT 2:46:08 75
5 Jan Kubicek, CZE 2:46:10 69
6 Tomas Kubek, SVK 2:46:21 63
7 Lubos Truhlar, CZE 2:47:17 58
8 Pavel Andreev, RUS 2:47:44 53
9 Vaclav Holub, CZE 2:49:54 49
10 Jan Francke, CZE 2:52:41 45
Also: Veit Honle (41), Markus Benesch (37), Pavel Jindra (34), Malte Plappert (31)
DNF: Brad Weiss, Theo Blignaut, Clement Briere, Christopher Schwab, Lukas Kocar
The women put on an equally, maybe more interesting race. Jacqui Slack won the swim with Brigitta Poor second. Brigitta was wise in taking a few weeks off and missing Italy to recover. She had not missed a race in a very grueling season and showed some fresh legs today. Carina Wasle was 3rd and coming strongly on the bike but it was not to be her day. She flatted and fell far behind.
Up front Jacqui maintained a minute to minute and a half lead over Poor. Czech Champion Helena Erbenova was caught in a gaggle of men and was having problems getting past them. The same problem for Austrian Sandra Koblemueller.
“I am Austrian and my strength is climbing” she Koblemueller. “I was so far back in the swim I would get to a hill I could climb but people in front could not and I had to walk. I need to learn to swim,” she smiled.
Erbenova is such a racer that she never leaves anything on the table. If she is strong she wins, if not, she still pushes until her body gives up.
“Today was so different” she sighed. “I would be super strong and then my legs would go away. Carina passes me going up the hill and I pass her coming down. And oh, getting by those men was so hard.”
The heat began to get to Slack and while Erbenova had passed Brigitta for second, the Hungarian was not about to give in. Brigitta passed Erbenova to come into T2 with all three leading women together. It became a foot race and this is no pushover run course. Some is flat and some is on pavement but there are two really tough hills and two equally tough, steep, loose downhills. Helena was able to hold off Brigitta, but not by much (just 52 seconds). Jacqui fought a valiant battle against fatigue and came home a wonderful 3rd. As for our slow swimmer Sandra? She ran a fabulous 45-minute run segment beating the second fastest woman by nearly 4 minutes, actually having the 8th fastest run of the day and was able to pass Wasle for 4th.
So XTERRA Czech XIII is in the books. Awards and free beer tonight; a great race from a neat fresh water lake to a tasty, technical bike and run to a postcard perfect Bohemian village. What more could you ask for?
Pl Name Time Points
1 Helena Erbenova, CZE 3:07:04 100
2 Brigitta Poor, HUN 3:07:56 90
3 Jacqui Slack, GBR 3:12:04 82
4 Sandra Koblmueller, AUT 3:13:59 75
5 Carina Wasle, AUT 3:19:29 69
6 Verena Eisenbarth, GER 3:23:04 63
7 Lenka Cibulkova, CZE 3:27:06 58
8 Elke Innerebner, ITA 3:27:39 53