Roger Serrano upset 3-time XTERRA World Champ Ruben Ruzafa and Helena Erbenova ran past Brigitta Poor to take the women’s title at the XTERRA Greece Championship in Vouliagmeni this morning.
It’s the second win in a row for Serrano, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champion, who also won the season opener at XTERRA Malta last month. For Erbenova, the 3x Euro Tour Champ, the win is her first this season, 5th straight in Europe dating back to last year, and the third time in four years she has won Greece.
With the win Serrano breaks Ruzafa’s streak of 13 straight victories in Europe dating back to 2013. It’s just Ruzafa’s third loss ever in Europe. He is now 14-for-17 all-time on the Euro Tour.
XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report.
A spectacular day and spectacular racing. The city of Vouliagmeni could not have ordered it better. Temperatures in the mid 70’s, a bit of a breeze and mostly sunny with some nice puffy clouds overhead. The sea was a typical Greek blue with a temperature of 19C (66F) so wetsuits were optional but many hardy Greeks forsake them.
There was a strong group coming out of the water on the first lap that included Malta winner and 2015 Euro Series champ Roger Serrano, new pro Pierre Antoine Guilem and age groupers including Julien Leroy, all fighting as they turned for the second lap. Out of T1 and up the streets onto the first long climb Guilem and Serrano were still hooked together and clear of the field. Brice Daubord was a solitary 3rd and young Aussie Max Neumann 4th. Favorite Ruben Ruzafa was stuck as a result of a poor swim back around 7th along with Francois Carloni. Not surprisingly Brigitta Poor led the women with young French woman Morgane Riou 2nd, Ladina Buss 3rd and Louise Fox 4th. Helena Erbenova was over 4 minutes back coming out of the water.
At the top of the first long climb starting the second lap Serrano had separated from his 2 first lap companions but Daubord was now on his tail. Coming back strong were Carloni and Ruzafa trading slots and pulling each other up to the leaders. At the top of the first climb there is a 4-way intersection. Coming up you turn right and make about a 5K look and return to the same intersection. When Ruzafa and Carloni came to the top they were 30 seconds behind… when they completed the 5K loop they were only 20 seconds behind. Not far back and tied together like Serrano/Daubord and Ruzafa/Carloni were Arthur Forissier and Kris Coddens. For the women Brigitta still had the lead and was riding beautifully. Morgane was gone with a flat tire and Ladina was now second with Erbenova 3rd and Fox 4th. Erbenova was looking very serious but was having problems overtaking some of the men age groupers and not gaining on the other women as fast as expected.
When Ruben made the road junction in the lead on the return, he attacked and only Roger was able to follow. At T2 it was Roger and Ruben together – François and Brice at 1’ – Arthur Forissier at 3’30” who had moved separated from Kris Coddens at 4’ – then Tomas Kubek /Jan Pyott at 5’.
Similar to the bike, the run must go up this great set of steps that curls its way up into the Greek hills. Then a jump over a curb and a gravely, rocky, steep section of about 200m. Ruben now led the race but Roger Serrano was no more than 2 feet behind. Daubord was still in 3rd but had Carloni in his shadow. At this point early in the first run loop it was led by two Spanish followed by two Frenchmen. The race fractured on the second run lap. Serrano headed up the hill with about 15 seconds on Ruzafa who had about 30 on Daubord. Carloni was still in 4th but suffering and young Arthur Forissier was charging on him.
The women did the opposite. Where Brigitta and the others were separated on the bike they were converging on the run. Poor still led but Ladina was close and Erbenova, while still back, could see them on the long climb. Poor Morgane was struggling with her flat and had lost all hope of a podium but she would not quit and continued in a distant 5th.
The race finished with a second straight win for Roger Serrano with Ruben Ruzafa 2nd and Brice Daubord coming hard in 3rd just 20 seconds back from the 3-time world champ. Forissier passed Carloni for 4th and last year’s Greece winner Kris Coddens had a strong run to come 6th.
It came down to the last downhill for the women. Helena was flying down and took the lead as the run came back to the steps. Brigitta stayed strong for 2nd and Ladina had a great race for 3rd.
All day long athletes were going up and down the hills running and riding, smiling and yelling. This was a hard race. Not super technical but unrelenting. No long downhills and no long uphills but there was also no relief. You had to push the whole way. The race uses some small side roads in Vouliagmeni that parallel the main road and passes by dozens of neat bistro’s and restaurants as well as really great Greek ice cream shops. Spectators were cheering and whistling and others just looked confused on why all these people in funny uniforms were running and riding their bikes in the middle of the city. But this is Greece where hospitality is a given and everyone had a wonderful day with few complaints. Finishers were treated with pasta and traditional grilled lamb on wooden skewers. Now that is a recovery first and they were gobbled up by the hundreds.
The move to Athens was a complete success. 23 Countries were represented at the race and more Greek triathletes than ever came to give XTERRA a try. There is no doubt this race will be another sellout and well over 500 participants next year. Better start thinking of making plans now.
|12||TIM VAN DAELE||2:28:59.7||27|
Complete Results available soon at: http://www.xterragreece.com/language/en/
|All-Time XTERRA Greece Pro Champions|
|2013||Ben Allen||Helena Erbenova|
|2014||Francois Carloni||Kathrin Mueller|
|2015||Kris Coddens||Helena Erbenova|
|2016||Roger Serrano||Helena Erbenova|
XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR UPDATE
Serrano and Poor sit atop the XTERRA European Tour standings after the second of 11 races in this year’s series. Pros count their best four Gold and three Silver scores to determine final points total. Learn more atwww.xterraeurope.com.
|2016 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR POINT STANDINGS|
|After 2 – 5.7.16|
|1||Roger Serrano, ESP||150||75||75|
|2||Brice Daubord, FRA||104||43||61|
|3||Pierre-Antoine Guilhem, FRA||82||61||21|
|4||Cedric Lassonde, FRA||69||30||39|
|5||Jens Roth, GER||67||67||DNS|
|6||Ruben Ruzafa, ESP||67||DNS||67|
|7||Maxim Chane, FRA||56||56||DNS|
|8||Arthur Forissier, FRA||56||DNS||56|
|9||Peter Lehmann, GER||51||51||DNS|
|10||Francois Carloni, FRA||51||DNS||51|
|11||Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA||47||47||DNS|
|12||Kris Coddens, BEL||47||DNS||47|
|13||Tomas Kubek, CZE||43||DNS||43|
|14||Dominik Wychera, AUT||39||39||DNS|
|15||Hannes Wolpert, GER||36||36||DNS|
|16||Jan Kubicek, CZE||36||DNS||36|
|17||Fabien Combaluzier, FRA||33||33||DNS|
|18||Jan Pyott, SUI||33||DNS||33|
|19||Max Neumann, AUS||30||DNS||30|
|21||Tim Van Daele, BEL||27||DNS||27|
|23||Sebastian Norberg, GER||25||DNS||25|
|24||Julien Buffe, FRA||23||DNS||23|
|1||Brigitta Poor, HUN||142||75||67|
|2||Morgane Riou, FRA||118||67||51|
|3||Helena Erbenova, CZE||75||DNS||75|
|4||Sandra Koblemueller, AUT||61||61||DNS|
|5||Ladina Buss, SUI||61||DNS||61|
|6||Maud Golsteyn, NED||56||56||DNS|
|7||Louise Fox, GBR||56||DNS||56|
|8||Alena Stevens, SVK||51||51||DNS|
|9||Diane Lee, GBR||47||47||DNS|
|10||Kristina Nec Lapinova, SVK||43||43||DNS|
|11||Danica Spiteri, MLT||39||39||DNS|
2016 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
The XTERRA Greece Championship was the 12th of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Oct 23.
|DATE||WORLD TOUR EVENT||LOCATION or WINNERS
|7-Feb||XTERRA Philippines||Brad Weiss/Lizzie Orchard|
|21-Feb||XTERRA South Africa||Brad Weiss/Flora Duffy|
|5-Mar||XTERRA Motatapu||Olly Shaw/Mary Gray|
|12-Mar||XTERRA Saipan||Brodie Gardner/Carina Wasle|
|20-Mar||XTERRA Costa Rica||Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset|
|26-Mar||XTERRA Argentina||Josiah Middaugh/Myriam Guillot-Boisset|
|3-Apr||XTERRA Malta||Roger Serrano/Brigitta Poor|
|16-Apr||XTERRA New Zealand||Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard|
|17-Apr||XTERRA La Reunion||Ruben Ruzafa/Carina Wasle|
|23-Apr||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship||Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard|
|7-May||XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship||Ben Allen/Jacqui Slack|
|7-May||XTERRA Brazil||Albert Soley/Sabrina Gobbo|
|7-May||XTERRA Greece||Roger Serrano/Helena Erbenova|
|21-May||XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park||Pelham, Shelby County, AL, USA|
|25-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland||Vallee de Joux|
|25-Jun||XTERRA Mine over Matter||Milton, Ontario, Canada|
|10-Jul||XTERRA Victoria||Victoria, B.C., Canada|
|16-Jul||XTERRA Beaver Creek||Beaver Creek, CO, USA|
|23-Jul||XTERRA Parry Sound||Ontario, Canada|
|31-Jul||XTERRA Italy||Lago Di Scanno|
|31-Jul||XTERRA Dominican Republic||Barahona|
|13-Aug||XTERRA Sweden||Hellsgaarten, Stockholm|
|14-Aug||XTERRA Canmore||Canmore, Alberta, Canada|
|20-Aug||XTERRA Germany – XTERRA European Championship||Zittau|
|27-Aug||XTERRA Sleeping Giant||Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada|
|27-Aug||XTERRA Korea||Daeahn Reservoir, Wonju City|
|4-Sep||XTERRA Denmark||Mons Klint|
|4-Sep||XTERRA Quebec||Quebec City, Quebec|
|11-Sep||XTERRA Woolastook||New Brunswick, Canada|
|17-Sep||XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship||Ogden, Utah, USA|
|23-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Kapalua, Maui|