Lake Plastira, Greece – Ben Allen (28, North Wollongong, Australia) and Helena Erbenova (34, Balatkova, Czech Republic) won the inaugural XTERRA Greece at Lake Plastira this afternoon.
It is Allen’s sixth XTERRA World Tour win of the season (to go with a pair of runner-ups) and his first career win on the European Tour. It's the first win of the year for Erbenova, who won four straight in Europe to end last season as the Tour champion.
XTERRA managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas was on-site and brings us this initial report from Lake Plastira.
A fabulous day for racing, sunny and warm with a small breeze. Ben Allen and three relay swimmers were first out of the water with Asa Shaw just 30 seconds back. At the end of the first lap, Shaw and Allen were inches apart working together to gap the field. Third was first year pro Marvin Gruget, fourth was Belgian Yeray Luxum. Shaw dropped his chain early in the second lap, hooked it back up only to have it break just a few K farther into the bike.
“I had a little gap exiting the water and once I jumped on my Giant Bike I laid it all on the line,” said Allen after the race. “Asa Shaw road strong to bridge the gap and we road together increasing our lead on the chasing pack of athletes. Unfortunately for him he suffered a broken chain and I was left solo as I started the bike and managed to enter T2 with a handy lead going into the run leg. I felt great coming off the bike and managed to settle into my rhythm early. I knew I wasn’t going to have it easy with the caliber of world class athletes chasing me down. I managed to run comfortably on the muddy grass fields and through the forest sections.”
Allen had a solid performance in every respect and was not challenged after Shaw dropped back. The big surprise was Belgian Kris Coddens, who has raced XTERRA in the past but today he and fellow Belgian Yeray Luxum were on fire. Luxum swam faster, Coddens caught him on the bike and they ran back and forth the entire race with Coddens finishing just 10 seconds ahead of Luxum for second.
“Wrapped to finally get the monkey off my back & win a European XTERRA World Tour Race,” said Allen. “I’m honored to win here today at the very first XTERRA Greece and be engraved on the trophy as this year’s champion. What a fantastic location for an XTERRA, surrounded by beautiful mountains and the pristine Lake Plastira. It was an awesome XTERRA experience.”
Top 10 Pro Men
1 Ben Allen, AUS 2:17:37
2 Kris Coddens, BEL 2:19:05
3 Yeray Luxum, BEL 2:19:16
4 Nicolas Lebrun, FRA 2:21:58
5 Asa Shaw, GBR 2:21:59
6 Cedric Lassonde, FRA 2:24:42
7 Felix Schumann, GER 2:26:03
8 Marvin Gruget, FRA 2:29:22
9 Francois Carloni, FRA 2:33:45
10 Sergey Yakolev, RUS 2:35:59
For the women ITU racer Mignon Vatlach and Kathrin Muller were first out of the water, but at the end of the first lap Jacqui Slack was in front, Muller 2nd and Helena Erbenova closing fast.
Erbenova took command on the bike and never let up, while Muller and Slack had a great battle together for the second lap of the bike and the entire run.
Erbenova finished more than four minutes up for the win. Slack finally was able to pass Muller and put a small gap, but the German lass was not giving in and was less than a minute behind at the finish.
A sold-out field of 300 athletes from 23 countries took part in today’s race.
Top 5 Pro Women
1 Helena Erbenova, CZE 2:38:17
2 Jacqui Slack, GBR 2:42:51
3 Katrin Mueller, GER 2:43:40
4 Renata Bucher, SUI 2:48:08
5 Carina Wasle, AUT 2:50:42
Next on the XTERRA World Tour: XTERRA Spain was the second European Tour race and 10th World Tour event to qualify amateur athletes into the XTERRA World Championship to be held in Kapalua, Maui on October 27, 2013. Next up, XTERRA Brazil in Ilhabela next weekend for a highly anticipated showdown between Conrad "the Caveman" Stoltz and his younger countryman Dan Hugo.
Date - Race, Location
Feb 24 - XTERRA South Africa Championship, Western Cape
Mar 2 - XTERRA Philippines Championship, Cebu
Mar 9 - XTERRA Motatapu, South Island, New Zealand
Mar 9 - XTERRA Saipan Championship, Northern Marianas
Mar 23 - XTERRA Guam Championship, Piti
Apr 7 - XTERRA Great Ocean Road, Anglesea, Victoria, Australia
Apr 13 - XTERRA New Zealand Championship, Rotorua
Apr 28 - XTERRA Malaysia Championhip, Putrajaya
June 2 - XTERRA Spain Championship, Cieza, Murcia
June 15 - XTERRA Greece, Lake Plastira
June 22 - XTERRA Brazil Championship, Ilhabela, SP
June 29 - XTERRA Switzerland Championship, Vallee de Joux
July 7 - XTERRA France Championship, Xonrupt, Gerardmer
July 14 - XTERRA Victoria, Canada
July 20 - XTERRA Abruzzo, Lago di Scanno, Italy
Aug 3 - XTERRA Mexico Championship, Tapalpa, Jalisco
Aug 4 - XTERRA Canmore, Canada
Aug 10 - XTERRA Czech Championship, Prachatice
Aug 17 - XTERRA Germany Championship, Zittau
Aug 24 - XTERRA Japan Championship, Marunuma
Aug 31 - XTERRA Ecuador,
Sept 8 - XTERRA England, Cranleigh, Surrey
Sept 21 - XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
Oct 27 - XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii