Luxem, Poor win XTERRA Cyprus

Apr. 23, 2017

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…

Complete Results / Pictures

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.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points Run1 Bike Run2
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
Pos Name, NAT Time Points Run1 Bike Run2
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!

After 2 - 4.23

Men S S
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

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