Paphos, Cyprus – Yeray Luxem from Belgium and Brigitta Poor from Hungary captured the inaugural XTERRA Cyprus off-road triathlon, which turned into a duathlon, on Sunday, April 23, 2017.
It’s the second career XTERRA major win for Luxem, who won his first at XTERRA Poland last year, and the second win this season for Poor, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champ, who also won the opener at XTERRA Malta earlier this month.
XTERRA World Tour managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report…
The weathermen were right. They called for high winds and big waves and that was what we were served for breakfast this morning. Why is it when you plan an outing because the weather is supposed to be good – it rains?
So, the first XTERRA Cyprus became a duathlon. Not only were the waves high and the shore chop brutal, but the undercurrents were super strong. The wave action was so severe there was no way we could keep our swimmers safe as navigating in white water was impossible. We had to change the run as well because the waves were pounding the white cliffs we originally came down through.
XTERRA European Tour director Nico Lebrun and the crew found a passage just down the beach that connected with a more inland path and that became the final kilometer of each lap of the run.
Regardless of all these chaotic challenges, race director Sgt. Ferguson called the troops to order and we started with only a few minutes delay. The run was one lap of our course and it was led by Belgium’s Yeray Luxem followed closely by Oivind Bjerkseth. Who, you say? This is a super young man from Norway whose sport is mountain biking. He watched XTERRA Maui live on the web and said, “That is for me.”
Norwegians are not noted for being swimmers and Oivind had his first open water swim just last November. You can see from the Malta results he had the 7th fastest bike and a swim that was 10 minutes slower than the winners. He was a very happy man to hear he would not have to face those ferocious waves today.
Francois Carloni had a good first run and took off quickly after Luxem. Today was not the Frenchman’s day, however, “I felt strong after the first run, got on my bike and went out quick but then my legs said no,” he explained. He did pass Oivind quickly on the bike but soon faded. Carloni only arrived the day before and while France is not a long way – the travel may have contributed to his lack of power.
Thomas Kerner was quickly in 4th followed by his German buddies Sebastian Neef, Hannes Wolpert and Stephan Radeck. Julien Buffe is a strong swimmer and as such, he was not happy about the duathlon, however, he came out swinging and rode an excellent race.
The best story of the day involves our winner, Yeray Luxem. At the pre-race briefing, one slide showed a herd of sheep grazing on one of the trails of the bike course. The director said quickly, “They will be gone on race day.” Luxem was riding hard trying to drop his chasers and had to slow to a crawl.
“The sheep were there in the same place as the photo, exactly the same,” laughed Luxem. His speed had the sheep running and bleating and cleared the way for the rest of the bunch.
For the women, Brigitta Poor was simply too strong today. It looked as if Morgane Riou would be a contender as she is not a swimmer but runs very quickly, however, Brigitta simply took off at the start and never looked back. Riou was riding well but suffered a flat that became hard to fix and lost considerable time. She kept at it and ran an equal final 10K to Poor but was far back because of the bike. Sweden’s Cecilia Jessen was alone in 3rd with our bubbly Brit Daz Parker a fine 4th outrunning Marika Wagner.
At the end of the first lap we could see two riders together in the lead. We thought it must be Carloni and Luxem but no; it was the upstart Norwegian Bjerkseth.
“I tried to pass him on the downhills but could not do it and he pulled away from me on the climbs. These guys do a fast pace,” smiled Bjerkseth.
Luxem got passed on one downhill and said “Oh, here comes Carloni,” and looked over and saw it was not. “It was Oivind,” he said. “He would look at me and when I took a drink he would push hard.”
Thomas Kerner had trained hard in the off season and was easily in 4th but pushing hard as Buffe was less than one-minute behind. On the last climb before T2 Luxem pedaled hard and created a gap between Bjerkseth. He used his transition skills to gain another seven-seconds on the inexperienced Oivind.
“I was feeling very strong and I know I am a fast runner but I did not know what he could do so I went out at a good pace,” said Luxem.
“I tried to follow him as best I could but after the first lap I knew I could not catch him,” said Bjerkseth.
Carloni came out of T2 in 3rd but was passed first by Kerner, then Buffe, and finally Neef to finish 6th.
|1||Yeray Luxem, BEL||2:32:14||75||00:17:14||01:36:11||00:37:56|
|2||Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR||2:35:15||67||00:17:18||01:36:30||00:40:09|
|3||Thomas Kerner, GER||2:42:04||61||00:17:20||01:45:18||00:38:36|
|4||Julien Buffe, FRA||2:44:16||56||00:18:40||01:45:04||00:39:46|
|5||Sebastian Neef, GER||2:45:10||51||00:23:37||01:40:19||00:40:24|
|6||Francois Carloni, FRA||2:46:08||47||00:17:32||01:43:28||00:44:15|
|7||Hannes Wolpert, BEL||2:46:22||43||00:18:26||01:44:54||00:42:10|
|8||Stephan Radeck, GER||2:47:46||39||00:18:11||01:48:32||00:40:10|
|1||Brigitta Poor, HUN||3:02:54||75||00:19:58||01:57:59||00:43:56|
|2||Morgane Riou, FRA||3:13:19||67||00:20:22||02:08:16||00:43:36|
|3||Cecila Jessen, SWE||3:23:15||61||00:21:39||02:12:33||00:47:31|
|4||Daz Parker, GBR||3:33:34||56||00:22:04||02:20:36||00:49:25|
|5||Marika Wagner, SWE||3:38:48||51||00:23:43||02:19:25||00:54:23|
While a bit different than planned, XTERRA Cyprus came off fine. The organizers did a great job; things happened on time, there was good information about the changes and our athletes enjoyed themselves.
“I’ve been to many XTERRA’s all over the world and these guys did a great job, especially for a first-time event,” said Canadian age group standout Chuck Fortier. “The awards were wonderful handmade dishes and the booming voice of Race Director Sgt Neal Ferguson needed no microphone for the presentation.”
I have to think that once the world has seen the photos and read the reports and talked to their friends that Cyprus will triple in size for next year. Think about it. Take 10 days and do a fabulous Mediterranean Holiday in Cyprus and Greece and do it with your XTERRA family.
XTERRA European Tour Elite Standings
Francois Carloni and Brigitta Poor hold the early lead in the XTERRA European Tour standings after the first two of 15 events in this year’s tour. Up next: XTERRA Greece next Sunday!
2017 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR PRO POINTS STANDINGS
After 2 - 4.23
|1||Francois Carloni, FRA||108||61||47|
|2||Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR||100||33||67|
|3||Roger Serrano, ESP||75||75||DNS|
|4||Yeray Luxem, BEL||75||DNS||75|
|5||Maximilian Sasserath, GER||67||67||DNS|
|6||Stephan Radeck, GER||64||25||39|
|7||Thomas Kerner, GER||61||DNS||61|
|8||Jan Pyott, SUI||56||56||DNS|
|9||Julien Buffe, FRA||56||DNS||56|
|10||Jörg Scheiderbauer, GER||51||51||DNS|
|11||Sebastian Neef, GER||51||DNS||51|
|12||Tomas Kubek, SVK||47||47||DNS|
|13||Mark Hamersma, NED||43||43||DNS|
|14||Hannes Wolpert, BEL||43||DNS||43|
|15||Jim Thijs, BEL||39||39||DNS|
|16||Geert Lauryssen, BEL||36||36||DNS|
|17||Maxim Chane, FRA||30||30||DNS|
|18||Doug Hall, GBR||27||27||DNS|
|19||Callum Hughes, GBR||23||23||DNS|
|1||Brigitta Poor, HUN||150||75||75|
|2||Cecila Jessen, SWE||100||39||61|
|3||Helena Erbenova, CZE||67||67||DNS|
|4||Morgane Riou, FRA||67||DNS||67|
|5||Nicole Walkers, GBR||61||61||DNS|
|6||Maud Golsteyn, NED||56||56||DNS|
|7||Daz Parker, GBR||56||DNS||56|
|8||Carina Wasle, AUT||51||51||DNS|
|9||Marika Wagner, SWE||51||DNS||51|
|10||Kristina Lapinova, SLK||47||47||DNS|
|11||Louise Fox, GRB||43||43||DNS|
|12||Anna Pauline Sasserath, GER||36||36||DNS|
|13||Kathrin Mueller, GER||33||33||DNS|
|14||Marta Menditto, ITA||30||30||DNS|
2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule
XTERRA Cyprus was the 12th of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.
|Date||Race||Elite Winners or Location|
|Feb 25||XTERRA South Africa||Richard Murray / Flora Duffy|
|Mar 4||XTERRA Motatapu||Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox|
|Mar 18||XTERRA Saipan + Silver||Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle|
|Mar 25||XTERRA Argentina # Silver||Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder|
|Apr 1||XTERRA Thailand + Silver||Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher|
|Apr 1||XTERRA Chile # Silver||Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros|
|Apr 2||XTERRA Malta * Silver||Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor|
|Apr 8||XTERRA New Zealand + Silver||Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen|
|Apr 9||XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver||Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder|
|Apr 16||XTERRA La Reunion||Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle|
|Apr 23||XTERRA Danao + GOLD||Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle|
|Apr 23||XTERRA Cyprus * Silver||Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor|
|Apr 29||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship / Malaysia + GOLD||Langkawi, Malaysia|
|Apr 30||XTERRA Greece * Silver||Vouliagmeni|
|May 6||XTERRA Tahiti + Silver||Moorea|
|May 14||XTERRA Spain * Silver||Taragonna|
|May 14||XTERRA Brazil # Silver||Ilha Bella, Sao Paolo|
|May 20||XTERRA Oak Mountain # GOLD||Pelham, AL, USA|
|May 27||XTERRA Portugal * Silver||Golega|
|Jun 10||XTERRA Belgium * Silver||Namur|
|Jun 17||XTERRA Mine over Matter ^||Milton, Ontario, Canada|
|Jun 18||XTERRA Finland * Silver||Imatra|
|Jun 24||XTERRA Switzerland * GOLD||Vallee de Joux|
|Jul 2||XTERRA France * GOLD||Xonrupt|
|Jul 9||XTERRA Victoria # Silver||Victoria, B.C., Canada|
|Jul 15||XTERRA Beaver Creek # GOLD||Beaver Creek, CO, USA|
|Jul 30||XTERRA Abruzzo * Silver||Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy|
|Aug 5||XTERRA Mexico # GOLD||Tapalpa|
|Aug 5||XTERRA Norway * Silver||Norefjell|
|Aug 6||XTERRA Canmore ^||Canmore, Alberta, Canada|
|Aug 12||XTERRA Quebec ^||Quebec City, Canada|
|Aug 12||XTERRA Parry Sound ^||Ontario, Canada|
|Aug 13||XTERRA Dominican Republic # Silver||Barahona|
|Aug 13||XTERRA Poland * Silver||Krakow|
|Aug 19||XTERRA Germany * GOLD||Zittau|
|Aug 26||XTERRA Sweden * Silver||Hammarbybacken, Stockholm|
|Aug 26||XTERRA Sleeping Giant ^||Thunder Bay, ON, Canada|
|Sep 2||XTERRA Japan + Silver||Hokkaido|
|Sep 3||XTERRA European Championship / Denmark * GOLD||Mons Klint|
|Sep 16||XTERRA Pan American Championship / USA # D-GOLD||Ogden, Utah, USA|
|Oct 29||XTERRA World Championship||Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii|
* XTERRA European Tour / # XTERRA Pan American Tour / + Asia-Pacific Tour
Silver = Min. $7,500 pro purse & 75-point scale // GOLD = Min $15,000 pro purse & 100-point scale