(Lake Plastira, Greece) –Francois Carloni (28, Frejus, France) and Kathrin Mueller (30, Freiburg, Germany) won the XTERRA Greece Championship on a beautiful day at Lake Plastira this morning.
It marks the first major XTERRA victories for both.
XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report...
Sometimes I get my predictions right and most times not. I hit it on the head today and we had a great Greek contest that resulted in two new winners on the European Tour circuit. You could see it coming. Kathrin Mueller has been fast since she first did XTERRA back a few years ago in Germany. Francois Carloni has always been quick on the bike and made his breakthrough a few weeks ago with a second in Portugal. Those were my picks.
Today - each can say they are a Champion. It was not easy for either of them. Mueller faced the specter of two-time Euro Champ Helena Erbenova; Francois had Roger Serrano and Albert Soley of Spain plus some very fast men from the UK and a Greek Olympian to deal with.
The start was opposites for the winners. Mueller blitzed the swim and came out far ahead of Erbenova with Brigitta Poor and Louise Fox in 2d and 3rd. Carloni had a decent swim but Serrano and Scottish racer Rory Downie were about 45 seconds ahead of him and pedaling hard and Gregoris Souvatzoglou was up another minute on all of them.
The start and swim were fabulous. We watched on Friday as the Greek Federation official Andreas did a superb GPS job for the swim buoys, marking waypoints even on the ground to make an exact 750m swim. About 10 minutes before the start time Roger Serrano asked me if they had cut the swim as a buoy was missing. Ahh the Greek tragedy begins. It seems the men putting out the buoys - the actual swim buoys from the 2004 Olympics in Athens - dropped the anchor and weights for the final turn buoy exactly where the marker had been placed. What they failed to realize is nobody tied the rope to the buoy. So in a matter of minutes the buoy floated away; the lifeguards scrambled to catch it and pull it ashore to tie another anchor or weight but there was none to be had. What can they use?? Already the start time was blown and things were tense. The substitute weight was one of the things most plentiful, a bike. So the final turn buoy was taken to its spot, a bike tied to the rope and dropped into Lake Plastira.
Let The Games Begin
Serrano and Carloni were neck and neck at the end of the first bike lap but Carloni was able to gap the Spaniard on the initial climbs of the second lap. "He was much faster than me climbing. I could catch him on the downhills, but then I took a drink of water, made a turn onto a trail and found out I went the wrong way" said Roger. This put him down a few minutes and also behind his friend and fellow Spaniard Albert Soley. Rory Downie was having a strong ride and had a firm grip on 4th. For the women, Kathrin still held first but the Czech wonder woman was closing fast and was now just two minutes behind starting the second lap.
Onto the first lap of the run Francois Carloni had a nice three-minute lead on Soley followed a minute later by Serrano followed a minute later by Downie. Slovakia's Tomas Kubek was having a great race and was not far behind the Scotsman and the old fox Sam Gardner was hanging in 6th.
I knew that Francois had broken a small bone in his foot earlier this year and it was tender. So tender he lays off running between races to let it heal. But the Frenchman kept his cool and his pace and actually put some time on the two Spaniards. However, now it was Serrano in second with Albert not looking so good in 3rd. At the time I thought Downie could catch Albert and possibly even Kubek as well. Kathrin Mueller had only 30 seconds on Helena Erbenova who has always been among the fastest women runners. But today was Mueller's day and as she started the 2d run lap the gap had opened. She came in almost two minutes ahead of Helena and that is an accomplishment.
"I just could not run today. I was so happy with my bike, but when I start to run my body would not go" said Erbenova. Mueller had a grin from ear to ear and said "I had a great day - good swim, good bike and my run was consistent. I knew if I could keep up my pace on the run I could win".
And our Frenchman with the broken foot? "I was so worried about the two Spanish guys" he said "I take the first lap at a good pace and as I start the second lap my foot feels much better. I think I did the second lap faster than the first". The balance of the top 5 stayed put about a minute apart.
In 6th, poor Sam Gardner was having a tough time on the run as first his young friend Llewellyn Holmes passed him and then the Greek champion Gregoris Souvatzoglou got by Sam and then ran past Holmes about 150m from the finish pushing Sam to 8th.
As for the bike anchor? It was pulled out and washed off none the worse. Good thing Plastira isn't salt. Tonight a nice awards ceremony and big bash at the Kazarma resort. If it is half as good as last year, it will be memorable.
1. Francois Carloni, FRA, 2:23:28
2. Roger Serrano, ESP, 2:27:44
3. Albert Soley, ESP, 2:28:46
4. Rory Downie, GBR, 2:29:55
5. Tomas Kubek, CZE, 2:30:45
1. Kathrin Mueller, GER, 2:40:52
2. Helena Erbenova, CZE, 2:42:45
3. Brigitta Poor, HUN, 2:51:07
4. Louise Fox, GBR, 3:01:01
2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING EVENTS
XTERRA Greece was the 18th of 36 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014. Up next, the XTERRA Switzerland Championship.
|Date||Race||Location / Pro Winners
|23-Feb||XTERRA South Africa||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|8-Mar||XTERRA Motatapu||Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels|
|15-Mar||XTERRA Philippines Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Guam Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Costa Rica||Leonardo Chacon / Shonny Vanlandingham|
|30-Mar||XTERRA Great Ocean Road
||Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack|
|5-Apr||XTERRA Saipan Championship||Ben Allen / Carina Wasle|
|12-Apr||XTERRA New Zealand Championship||Conrad Stoltz / Barbara Riveros|
|13-Apr||XTERRA West Championship||Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy|
|26-Apr||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|3-May||XTERRA Malaysia||Dan Hugo / Jacqui Slack|
|17-May||XTERRA Southeast Championship||Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy|
|24-May||XTERRA Mauritius||Sam Gardner / Karyn Southgate|
|24-May||XTERRA Spain Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova|
|1-Jun||XTERRA Portugal||Ruben Ruzafa / Coralie Redelsperger|
|8-Jun||XTERRA Brazil Championship||Felipe Moletta / Sabrina Gobbo|
|15-Jun||XTERRA East Championship||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|21-Jun||XTERRA Greece||Francois Carloni / Kathrin Mueller|
|28-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland Championship||Vallee de Joux|
|5-Jul||XTERRA Ontario - Canadian Cross Tri Championship||Milton, Ontario, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA France Championship||Xonrupt, Gerardmer|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Victoria||British Columbia, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Freedom Fest||Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii|
|19-Jul||XTERRA Mountain Championship||Beaver Creek Resort, Avon, Colorado|
|26-Jul||XTERRA Italy Championship||Abruzzo, Scanno|
|2-Aug||XTERRA Mexico Championship||Tapalpa, Jalisco|
|9-Aug||XTERRA Czech Championship||Prachatice|
|16-Aug||XTERRA Germany Championship||Zittau|
|17-Aug||XTERRA Canmore||Alberta, Canada|
|24-Aug||XTERRA England||Cranleigh, Surrey|
|31-Aug||XTERRA Quebec||Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada|
|7-Sep||XTERRA Sleeping Giant||Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada|
|20-Sep||XTERRA USA Championship||Ogden/Snowbasin, UT|
|26-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Maui, Hawaii|
About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA
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