September 3, 2017 - Pierric Brochet from France and Eva Garcia Gonzalez from Spain won the XTERRA European Championship amateur titles on a beautiful blue-sky day in Mons Klint, Denmark this afternoon.
In the men’s race Steve Ferguson from Great Britain was first out of the water but Allan Mansson from Denmark was first up the 497-stairs to transition and out on to the bike, followed by Brochet 45-seconds later.
Brochet, who is a wine maker from Reims in the champagne region of France, pushed hard on the bike and had a 30-second lead after the first of two laps, was a full minute ahead by the bike-to-run transition, and then ran away with the victory in 2:42:52, more than four-minutes ahead of Mansson in second.
“I think we’ll pop a few bottles of champagne when I get back home,” smiled Brochet after the race. “I didn’t expect to win today because there was so many good guys. It was really hard because I did all the run alone, and I didn’t know where the others were so it was hard on my head. I just ran as hard as I could, and was so happy to come up those stairs and not see anyone behind me.”
Brochet will now head to the XTERRA World Championship with hopes of winning a world title and possibly pursuing a pro career after that.
In second place, Mansson, who raced as a pro 15 years ago (and finished 7th at XTERRA Worlds in Maui in 2002) is just happy to be back in the sport.
“I took a long time off, had two kids, got serious into the career and this year I just started up again with XTERRA,” said Mansson, an IT Systems Manager. “When you have been on the pro level you still think as a pro, but if you don’t train and have the power that you used to have it’s a dilemma.”
Mansson actually had plenty of power today. Brochet was the only racer to pass him on the bike and he ran by himself in second place all the way to the finish.
“It’s a very nice course, quite hard with all those small short hills, and super challenging run,” he said.
In third for the men was Sebastian Kuefner from Germany, who was 13th out of the water, in forth position heading on to the run, and on the podium by the time he got to the finish line.
“I had no idea what position I was in during the bike but out on the run someone said I was in 4th and then I passed someone early, so I knew I was in third position. I was totally euphoric.” said Kuefner, who only decided to drive the 8-hours to this race from his hometown in central Germany five days ago so he could protect his lead in the European Tour standings. “Still, I didn’t know who was coming behind me so I just went all out. The beach part of the run was very tough, and on the stairs, I almost died.”
Kuefner, who raced in Belgium, France, Poland, and Germany, said that today was his best result of the season for sure.
“I’m very happy we decided to come. I saw last week that I was leading the age group in the Euro Tour, and the guy behind me was coming here so I decided to take the last days of my holiday to come and get the jersey,” said the software developer, who traveled to Mons Klint with his parents. “My dad did the race too, and my Mom did the trail run yesterday. That's what I love about this sport, is being with my family in the nature. Nothing compares to XTERRA.”
Finn Kaczmarek finished fourth on the day and perhaps Denmark’s most famous athlete, 5x Olympian Eskild Ebbesen finished fifth.
“XTERRA is harder than Dancing with the Stars,” joked Ebbesen.
Male Age Group European Champions
GARCIA GONZALEZ STAYS PERFECT
Eva Garcia Gonzalez finished a perfect season with a perfect race to solidify her position as the fastest amateur woman on the XTERRA European Tour.
She won her division at every race she did this year – XTERRA Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Denmark, and would have been competitive with the elite women as well.
“I think next year I’ll go pro,” she said, to the delight of the rest of the amateur women’s field. She was sixth out of the water, second off the bike, turned in the fastest run of the day by far with a 52:39 10K time that was second only to elite champions Brigitta Poor’s run time) and took the tape in 3:13:43, more than 10-minutes ahead of runner-up Carol Rasmussen.
“I’m very happy, this was a spectacular race,” said Garcia Gonzalez, who is a physical therapist by trade. “I loved the swim, the bike, the run, the whole thing was wonderful.”
In second was the magnificent Danish triathlete and three-time XTERRA World Champion Carol Rasmussen, who at 53-years-old seems to be getting faster and faster.
“It was amazing, I loved it. It was hard all the way through like it was supposed to be,” she said after the race. “I’m so proud of Denmark, we put on some of the best races in the world. The scenery here with the cliffs and the hills, it says its rough. It’s rough all the way through, and that is what makes it special. XTERRA has to be rough and beautiful all at the same time, and this race is both.”
In third was another XTERRA legend, 14-year veteran Riikka Vreeswijk-Kelja from the Netherlands. Kelja did her first XTERRA back in 2003 when she won the amateur double award for having the fastest combined Ironman and XTERRA World Championship times. She went pro the next year and had a solid career racing the XTERRA European Tour.
“I still enjoy it,” said Kelja, who works as a swim instructor so can “swim as much as I want.”
“I love the atmosphere of XTERRA, and I love the adventure.”
Indeed, the atmosphere in Mons Klint, Denmark was incredible today. The weather was perfect, the organization was top-notch, and the nature around Geo Center is simply magnificent.
Female Age Group European Champions
|W35-39||Eva Garcia Gonzalez||ESP||03:13:43||29:51:00||01:43:51||52:39:00|
XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR CHAMPIONS
After 14 races around Europe the last chance to collect points towards winning an XTERRA European Tour age group title was today in Mons Klint, and several athletes took advantage of the opportunity.
For the men, Steve Ferguson from Great Britain finished eighth in his division and collected enough points to move up one spot from No. 2 to No. 1 and win the 35-39 division. Michal Mogrovics from the Czech Republic stole the tour title from GL Brown by winning his division, and the inspirational Jose Manuel Candon Ballesteros from Spain, who is blind and races on a tandem bike, also earned his tour jersey on the final day.
In the women’s chase Carol Rasmussen made her move from 7th to the top step, and Riikka Vreeswijk-Kelja also won it today with the win.
“It was fun to watch all of this unfold,” said XTERRA European Tour Director Nicolas Lebrun. “I was so happy to see so many of the Tour winners race here today in Mons Klint. They worked really hard for this and should be very proud of their achievements, just as we are.”
Here’s a look at the 2017 XTERRA European Tour Champions:
|Eva||Garcia Gonzalez||ESP||FEMALE 35-39|
|Emilie||Le Fur||FRA||FEMALE 40-44|
|Jose Manuel||Candon Ballesteros||ESP||PC-M|
The XTERRA European Championship was the last of 14 races on the XTERRA European Tour 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|
|25-Feb||XTERRA South Africa||Richard Murray / Flora Duffy|
|4-Mar||XTERRA Motatapu||Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox|
|18-Mar||XTERRA Saipan + Silver||Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle|
|25-Mar||XTERRA Argentina # Silver||Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder|
|1-Apr||XTERRA Thailand + Silver||Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher|
|1-Apr||XTERRA Chile # Silver||Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros|
|2-Apr||XTERRA Malta * Silver||Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor|
|8-Apr||XTERRA New Zealand + Silver||Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen|
|9-Apr||XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver||Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder|
|16-Apr||XTERRA La Reunion||Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle|
|23-Apr||XTERRA Danao + GOLD||Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle|
|23-Apr||XTERRA Cyprus * Silver||Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor|
|29-Apr||XTERRA Langkawi + GOLD||Osborne,Allen,Weiss,McPherson/Wasle|
|30-Apr||XTERRA Greece * Silver||Ruben Ruzafa, Helena Erbenova|
|6-May||XTERRA Tahiti + Silver||Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen|
|13-May||XTERRA Brazil # Silver||Felipe Moletta / Sabrina Gobbo|
|14-May||XTERRA Spain * Silver||Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova|
|20-May||XTERRA Oak Mountain # GOLD||Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder|
|27-May||XTERRA Portugal * Silver||Ruben Ruzafa / Brigitta Poor|
|10-Jun||XTERRA Belgium * Silver||Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova|
|17-Jun||XTERRA Mine over Matter ^||Karsten Madsen / Heather Pady|
|18-Jun||XTERRA Finland * Silver||Pavel Andreev / Louise Fox|
|24-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland * GOLD||Arthur Forissier / Michelle Flipo|
|2-Jul||XTERRA France * GOLD||Ruben Ruzafa / Laura Philipp|
|9-Jul||XTERRA Victoria # Silver||Karsten Madsen / Suzie Snyder|
|15-Jul||XTERRA Beaver Creek # GOLD||Josiah Middaugh / Lesley Paterson|
|30-Jul||XTERRA Abruzzo * Silver||Xavier Dafflon / Helena Karaskova|
|5-Aug||XTERRA Mexico # GOLD||Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder|
|5-Aug||XTERRA Norway * Silver||Ruben Ruzafa / Maud Golssteyn|
|13-Aug||XTERRA Dominican Republic||Josiah Middaugh / Morgane Riou|
|13-Aug||XTERRA Poland * Silver||Sam Osborne / Brigitta Poor|
|19-Aug||XTERRA Germany||Sam Osborne / Brigitta Poor|
|2-Sep||XTERRA European Championship||Bradley Weiss / Brigitta Poor|
|16-Sep||XTERRA Pan Am Championship||Ogden, Utah, USA|
|29-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii|