Serierres, Riou Win XTERRA European Championship
Press Release / Photo : XTERRA / 07.08.2019
Arthur Serrieres and Morgane Riou from France captured the 2019 XTERRA European Championship and 16th annual XTERRA Czech off-road triathlon elite titles with winning times of 2:31:41 and 3:01:03, respectively, on Saturday, August 03, 2019 in Prachatice.
For Serrieres, it was his fourth XTERRA World Tour win and his second in 2019 after taking the victory at XTERRA Greece in April. For Riou, it was her sixth career win on the XTERRA World Tour and fourth in a row this season.
The very best professional and amateur off-road triathletes from across Europe and around the world gathered in Prachatice for a point-to-point race that combined a 1500-meter swim in the warm waters of Kristanovicky Lake with a challenging 35-kilometer point-to-point mountain bike through Sumava National Park, and ending with a grueling 10K trail run that finished along the cobblestone streets in the city center.
In the men’s elite race Matteo Bozzato was first out of the water followed by Maxim Chane along with Ben Allen 27 seconds back. A big group including Ruben Ruzafa, Doug Hall, Brad Weiss, Butte, Tiago Maia and local favorite Lukas Kocar, was just 10 seconds back followed closely by Serrieres.
Once on the bike, Ruzafa took charge and was all by himself after 18K. Weiss was holding second 35 seconds back. Serrieres was working with Chane to close the gap and were one minute and 37 seconds behind the leader. Hall was holding fifth place behind the French duo followed by Carloni, Forissier and Allen another 20 seconds behind. Just before reaching T2, Ruzafa had opened the lead over Weiss to one minute and 25 seconds.
"The race today was good for me," said Ruzafa. " I had a good swim and on the bike I tried to push to gain some time. On the run I was confident as I had one minute and 30 seconds lead but at the last 2 kilometers I saw Arthur Serrieres behind me. He passed me, I tried to follow him but he's a very, very good runner. I'm happy for Arthur - for what he's done. He's doing very well."
Forrissier pushed hard from behind and was riding together with Serrieres and Chane just three minutes behind the leader. One minute back from the three Frenchmen was Hall with Carloni. Dafflon had made a big move to ninth place with Zadak, the best Czech elite athlete of the race today. Local favorite Lucas Kocar broke his saddle early on the bike and had to pull out of the race.
On the run, Serrieres managed to push hard and closed the gap to Ruzafa and Weiss with every passing kilometer. At the start of the second lap he was just 20 seconds behind Weiss and only 50 seconds behind Ruzafa. Serrieres kept his amazing running pace and by the second half of the second lap he took the lead and crossed the finish line to win his first ever XTERRA European title.
“It’s amazing, I am so happy,” said Serrieres. “It’s my first big win of my XTERRA career. For the first time I was with the lead pack on the swim. On the bike I knew I had to save some energy for the run as this year I know that I can run very fast. I am sharing the same room with Weiss and we said that one of us should win this today. I will not celebrate my victory tonight as I want to perform well tomorrow at the Short track”
Ruben finished second and Weiss finished third. Forrisier, who was the only one in the field that can keep pace with the other Arthur, was paying for his efforts earlier on the bike and settled for fourth. Chane, with a very stable performance all day long, finished fifth. Dafflon finished sixth leaving local Zadak in seventh.
"Coming back from injury has definitely been a big battle as a lost two months of run training," said Weiss. "Having the European Championship here in Prachatice is awesome. I've never managed to win this race but I've been on the podium almost every time. It treats me well - but not well enough. Starting the run I knew I was in a bit of trouble, especially with both Arthurs racing so well.I am very happy I managed to hold off Arthur Forissier - that's a big step in the right direction. And Arthur Serrieres, who ended up winning the race from 3 minutes down off of the bike, was very impressive."
Riou Times Her Run Perfectly
In the women’s elite race, UK’s Nicole Walters was first out of the water with fellow country woman, Jacqui Allen, hot on her heels. 20 seconds behind them was local Tereza Durdiakova followed by Brigitta Poor another 40 seconds back. After them was a group including Penny Slater, Maria Calleja and Pavlina Vargova.
On the bike Allen took the lead but was caught by Loanne Duvoisin and they rode together at the half way point. Poor was in third two minutes behind the duo followed by Peroncini, Slatter and Buss. Karaskova and Riou who exited the water together were now 4 minutes behind the leader and pushing hard to close the gap. Walters was struggling and dropped back to ninth.
"It was a really tough race as I was freezing after the swim without wetsuit,” said Karaskova. "I had a crash at the beginning of the bike and was feeling empty after that. I stayed with Riou on the bike and the first part of the run. Duvoicin pushed me to the limits for the last 2k, so I am really happy with second place. The crowd was amazing today cheering my name. I was smiling all the time.”
Entering the second and hardest part of the bike loop the rain poured down but the shower quickly passed. Duvoisin suffered some mechanical problems which allowed Allen to extend her lead and arrive first into transition. Peroncini moved to second after passing Poor and Duvoisin.
“It was a hard day,” said Duvoisin. “I had a good swim. I wanted to stay focused on the bike but had some mechanical problems with my wheel and lost about 5 minutes. I came in to transition in fifth place but found the power to push on the second run loop to finish third.”
Riou and Karaskova were still together entering transition for the run. The duo pushed hard on the first loop of the run to close the gap and was just 10 seconds behind Allen heading into the second lap of 5K.
For the fourth XTERRA race in a row she was unstoppable, passed Allen and crossed the finish line to capture her first XTERRA European Champion title. Karaskova passed Peroncini and Allen to finish second. Duvoisin who exited transition in fifth place pushed hard on the run and finished third with Allen in fourth. Peroncini had a good day overall to finish fifth.
“I had a really bad swim today,” said Riou. “At the start of the bike I had a small crash and I was little worried as I broke my collarbone early this season. I pushed hard on the bike and was able to start the run with Helena. She is a very good runner but I was feeling good and kept pushing. This is my first European title and I am so happy.”
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