Arthur Serrieres and Laura Philipp captured the XTERRA Czech off-road triathlon elite titles in Prachatice on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.
It’s the sixth XTERRA World Tour victory for Serrieres (FRA) and the second for Philipp (GER), who won XTERRA France in her off-road triathlon debut in 2017. It’s also the duos second win in as many days after taking home the made-for-TV XTERRA ShortTrack titles on Friday afternoon.
The event, operating within Czech national and local health guidelines, combined a 1.5K swim in Kristanovicky Lake with a 33K mountain bike in the Sumava National Park and a 10.5K trail run that finished in the city center of the 14th century South Bohemian town.
In the men’s race Chane (pictured above) was first out of the water with local favorite Lucas Kocar just seconds behind. The two rode together for the first two-thirds of the bike course before Chane attacked on the last technical session to create a 1:20 gap entering the bike-to-run transition. Serrieres and Carloni came into T2 together 2:14 back.
“On the first part of the bike I was riding with Kocar, just trying to be as smooth as possible,” said Chane, who won his first major at XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine last week and finished third at yesterday’s ShortTrack race. “On the second half, with more technical downhills and climbs I pushed full gas to build a gap and take as much time as possible on Serrieres. At the end of the run Arthur caught me, but I’m happy with my second place.”
Serrieres lost about 1:30 to Chane in the swim and was another 45-seconds slower on the bike, but more than made-up for both with a blistering 42:05 run split, best of the day. He crossed the line in 2 :33 :26, 37-seconds ahead of Chane in second.
“It was maybe one of the toughest races of my life,” exclaimed Serrieres. “Even though I’m one of the best on the XTERRA circuit I still wasn’t able to keep up with these guys in the swim and then François was pushing really hard on the bike. Having Chane, who improved a lot this year, pushing hard in the front has really increased the level of XTERRA. These hard efforts make the win even better.”
Sebastien Carabin from Belgium (pictured above) was the surprise of the day as he exited the water in 85th place overall but then put up the days’ best bike split to enter T2 in 5th, and followed that with second-best run time and passed Carloni (5th) and Kocar (4th) for third-place.
“I’m really not a good swimmer,” smiled Carabin. “I only started swimming two years ago and still have a long way to go. Today I was able to use my MTB skills and power to come back to the front, and on the run I was feeling really good and had the legs to push hard and get my first-ever XTERRA podium.”
In the women’s elite race Laura Philipp (pictured above) led from wire-to-wire ; posting the fastest swim (20 :52), bike (1 :41 :43), and run (48 :09) times to take the tape in 2 :52 :43, five-minutes ahead of runner-up Sara Mairhofer from Italy.
"I had a good swim and from there just tried to stay focused on the bike and find a good rhythm and it worked well,” said Philipp. “I started the run with heavy legs and was praying that the rest of the women had the same feeling. I am very happy with my wins here in Czech and happy to be back racing again.”
Mairhofer (pictured above) exited the water in second-place with Menditto 30-seconds back in third. The two Italians rode together on the bike until the end, when Mairhofer pushed hard and entered T2 with a 45-second gap.
“It was a great race for me, and an incredible weekend,” said Mairhofer, whose runner-up performance today marked her best result in XTERRA yet. “Yesterday I was fighting in the front in the ShortTrack race but missed the podium. It was an amazing event and so many people at home watched it. And today, my best XTERRA result ever, I’m so happy.”
Menditto (pictured above) finished third, local favorite and five-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Helena Karaskova-Erbenova finished fourth, and the reigning XTERRA European Champion, Morgane Riou, placed fifth.
“It’s amazing for me to finish third, and so nice to be able to ride with Sandra during most of the bike loop, but she was faster than me on the last part. Then I had to fight hard on the run as I knew Helena was not far behind,” said Menditto.
XTERRA ShortTrack Wrap: On Friday, Sept. 4, Serrieres and Philipp put on a brilliant show of speed in winning the made-for-TV XTERRA ShortTrack off-road triathlon. Kocar and Chane (FRA) finished 2/3 for the men; Alizee Paties and Menditto placed 2/3 for the women. The live coverage from yesterday’s men’s and women’s races can be seen on Facebook.com/XTERRAEurope.