Roger Serrano from Spain and Brigitta Poor from Hungary emerged victorious at XTERRA Cyprus today. It's the second win in as many weeks for Serrano and Poor, who took home the titles at XTERRA Malta last weekend, and it's the second year in a row Poor has won here in Cyprus.
XTERRA European Tour director Nicolas Lebrun was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report…
After the disappointment of the swim being cancelled in 2017, Lara Beach offered perfect swimming conditions and calm waters today. This beach can be a real handful when the winds picks up and the swells grow larger and larger. Luckily the wind stayed away which got XTERRA Cyprus off to the perfect start.
I had my doubts that Serrano would perform his best today, as during warm-ups I noticed him flinch when he entered the water and the salty Mediterranean water started working on his wounds.
The siren went off on time and although all the athletes entered the water in a vigorous fashion, no one wanted to take the lead. Maybe they wanted to see if Serrano was feeling strong and it took a while for Maxim Chané to take the lead on the pack. After the first loop Maxim was in the lead but not by much as Roger was hot on his tail with Hannes Wolpert, Sebastian Neef, Tiago Maia and Anthony Pannier not far behind.
After a big crash in Malta, Serrano was not sure if he would make the start line.
"I had a fever because of the crash earlier this week and was quite tired, but slowly it became better,” said Serrano.
Chane and Serrano realized they would have to work together on the bike to get away from Victor Del Corral who they knew would be riding hard to catch them.
"I was able to stay with Maxim on the swim, but was not able to move my arm to push all the way, and had to shorten my stroke which made it impossible to get ahead of him,” said Serrano.
Meanwhile in the women's race Barbara Riveros had the lead but Nicole Walters was right on her feet.
"I was happy with my swim today, staying with Barbara was ideal to put a bigger gap on Brigitta” said Walters.
On the second loop, Riveros pushed hard and ended up leading Walters buy 25 seconds with Poor 1min45s behind.
"I didn’t have a good swim today," said Poor. "Early on in the swim I got kicked in the head and lost my googles, and had a hard time getting back on pace.”
Serrano and Chané headed out on the bike course together with the chase pack of Pannier, Maia and Wolpert 45-seconds behind. Those three were trying to catch up with the lead pair, and at the same time keep the dangerous Victor Del Corral at bay. He was two minutes down after the swim but made up time quickly and joined Serrano and Chané.
"The first loop was easy with Roger, but I knew it was a good pace, this race is long, and I wanted to had a good run this time” said Chane.
Serrano expected Del Corral to catch up to him as the Cyprus bike course is long and very technical and he knew the 4x Ironman winner would be very strong.
"I had very good legs today," said Del Corral. "I caught Roger and Maxim on the top of the second long climb, Roger was able to come with me, but not Maxim.”
Maxim kept a cool head and had learnt from his mistakes in Malta, saying "When Victor passed us and accelerated the pace I did not want to kill myself. I know they are faster runners than me anyway. I had to focus on my own race and save some energy for the run."
Sadly, Del Corral suffered a puncture on a fast fire road and lost any chance of a victory. Roger took the lead and entered T2 with less than a minute on Maxim and four-minutes on Victor.
Barbara Riveros did the best she could on a borrowed bike that she only received on Friday, but she made no excuses. "The goal today was to have fun and come back in one piece,” said Riveros.
Riveros and Walters headed out on the bike with Poor not far behind and by the end of the first loop she had passed both Barbara and Nicole and seemed determined to put the hurt into the Chilean as she has never been able to beat her.
"I had a very good first loop on the bike, but then had to manage the long distance of this course and in very hot conditions,” said Poor.
Poor entered T2 with a lead of three minutes while Riveros and Walters arrived at the same time.
"I wanted to push hard and try to take the lead on the first loop, and I had very strong legs today on the bike," said Riveros. "But it’s a long race so I paced myself on the second lap so I could save energy for the run.”
The men were running strong at this point. Roger was under no pressure as he managed to control the race from the front to take his second win in two weeks. Chane was delighted with his second place which just happens to be the first XTERRA podium for this young 22-year-old.
"I had a good run this time, everything started to work, so see you in Greece,” said Chane.
Victor on the other hand was quite disappointed after finishing in third. His puncture on the bike might have cost him the race and chance to fight for his first XTERRA victory in many years.
"This is part of the game, of course I’m not happy with 3rd place, because this race was good for me, but I’m still on the podium and it’s not that bad,” said Del Coral.
The veteran Jan Kubicek had the fastest run split and finished in 4th with Doug Hall 5th.
Back to the women's race, Poor was running for the win.
"At the 5K turning point I saw Barbara not far behind and had to start pushing harder, but I was happy because my legs reacted and I was able to accelerate,” she said.
Like Roger, Brigitta managed to pull off two wins in as many weeks. Barbara held on to second and Nicole crossed the line in 3rd to finish off the podium spots. Cecilia Jessen finished 4th and Ania Tomica 5th.
Tentative Elite Women's Results
|1||Brigitta Poor, HUN||3:03:41||75||0:23:45||1:55:08||0:44:49|
|2||Barbara Riveros, CHL||3:04:37||67||0:22:02||1:59:41||0:42:54|
|3||Nicole Walters, GBR||3:07:48||61||0:22:27||1:59:21||0:46:00|
|4||Cecila Jessen, SWE||3:26:56||56||0:26:36||2:11:55||0:48:25|
|5||Ania Tomica, POL||3:43:21||51||0:28:11||2:20:00||0:55:09|
|6||Ksenia Chernykh, RUS||4:00:10||47||0:40:19||2:18:59||1:00:51|
Tentative Elite Men's Results
|1||Roger Serrano, ESP||2:41:02||75||0:19:57||1:40:10||0:40:55|
|2||Maxim Chane, FRA||2:42:33||67||0:19:48||1:41:13||0:41:32|
|3||Victor Del Corral, ESP||2:44:30||61||0:22:11||1:41:48||0:40:31|
|4||Jan Kubicek, CZE||2:45:51||56||0:22:19||1:43:19||0:40:13|
|5||Doug Hall, GRB||2:47:52||51||0:21:34||1:44:00||0:42:18|
|7||Markus Benesh, AUT||2:52:36||43||0:22:35||1:46:17||0:43:44|
|8||Tiago Maia, PRT||2:53:58||39||0:20:46||1:50:01||0:43:11|
|9||Grigoris Souvatzoglou, GRC||2:54:26||36||0:21:52||1:50:40||0:41:54|
|10||Clement Briere, MTQ||2:55:22||33||0:22:25||1:49:37||0:43:20|
|11||Hannes Wolpert, GER||2:57:16||30||0:20:48||1:53:06||0:43:22|
|12||Emil Stoynev, BGR||2:58:16||27||0:22:10||1:50:48||0:45:19|
|DNF||Sebastien Neef, GER||DNF|
Next week: XTERRA Greece, April 29
All-Time XTERRA Cyprus Elite Champions
Year - M/W
2018 - Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
2017 - Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor
Euro Tour Ranking
|1||Brigitta Poor, HUN||150||75||75|
|2||Nicole Walters, GBR||108||47||61|
|3||Cecila Jessen, SWE||95||39||56|
|4t||Carina Wasle, AUT||67||67||DNS|
|4t||Barbara Riveros, CHL||67||DNS||67|
|6||Helena Karaskova-Erbenova, CZE||61||61||DNS|
|7||Morgane Riou, FRA||56||56||DNS|
|8t||Maud Golsteyn, NED||51||51||DNS|
|8t||Ania Tomica, POL||51||DNS||51|
|10||Ksenia Chernykh, RUS||47||DNS||47|
|11||Diane Luethi, SUI||43||43||DNS|
|12||Ine Couckuyt, BEL||36||36||DNS|
|1||Roger Serrano, ESP||150||75||75|
|2||Victor Del Corral, ESP||128||67||61|
|3||Maxim Chane, FRA||118||51||67|
|4||Doug Hall, GBR||90||39||51|
|5||Maximilian Sasserath, GER||61||61||DNS|
|6||Clement Briere, FRA||58||25||33|
|7||Francois Carloni, FRA||56||56||DNS|
|8||Hannes Wolpert, GER||53||23||30|
|9t||Geert Lauryssen, BEL||47||47||DNS|
|9t||Anthony Pannier, FRA||47||DNS||47|
|11||Veit Hoenle, GER||43||43||DNS|
|12||Markus Benesch, AUT||43||DNS||43|
|13||Tiago Maia, POR||39||DNF||39|
|14||Rui Dolores, POR||36||36||DNS|
|15||Gregorios Souvatzoglou, GRC||36||DNS||36|
|16||Peter Lehmann, GER||33||33||DNS|
|17||Jose Estrangeiro, POR||30||30||DNS|
|18||Tomas Kubek, SVK||27||27||DNS|
|19||Emil Stoynev, BGR||27||DNS||27|
|20||Damien Guillemet, FRA||22||22||DNS|
Photos by Carel Du Plessis/XTERRA