Sandra Mairhofer (ITA) and Lukas Kocar (CZE) won the second round of the XTERRA Short Track off-road triathlon series with winning times of 40:43 and 34:31, respectively, on a beautiful day in Prachatice, Czech Republic on Sunday, August 14, 2022.
It’s the first XTERRA Short Track win for Mairhofer, who captured the full-distance XTERRA European Championship race yesterday, and the second for Kocar - who won his first in Germany last year.
The race combined a two-lap, 400-meter swim with an exciting four-lap, 7.6K mountain bike course and a tough two-loop, 2.4K trail run.
In the women’s race a young wild card entry from Italy, Anna Gazzari, had the fastest swim (6:33), with Amanda Felder (USA) and Maria Calleja (ESP) about 15 seconds back.
By the second of four laps on the bike the leaderboard changed completely with Mairhofer in front followed by Alizee Paties (FRA), Solenne Billouin (FRA), Loanne Duvoisin (SUI), and Jindriska Zemanova (CZE) - which would end up being the top five into transition and the finish line in that same order.
Mairhofer posted the fastest bike split and looked dominant all morning long.
“I’m over the moon, and full of adrenaline,” said Mairhofer. “My swim was better than yesterday, and I felt fine swimming in the group at my own pace. It was a pretty messy swim actually, I just tried to survive and stay above the water. And then I really loved the course, loved the rocks, and I was feeling really confident on the technical parts. This is my first Short Track win, so I’m pretty happy.”
Paties, who finished second at the first Short Track race of the season in France, was also second in yesterday's XTERRA European Championship race.
"It's my place," she said after the race. "I've got good fitness right now and am pleased with the weekend and look forward to more racing in Germany next week."
In similar fashion, Billouin (pictured) was third at XTERRA Short Track France and third again today. She placed fourth at the EU Champs on Saturday.
Loanne Duvoisin (SUI) had the best run of the day to finish fourth, with home country favorite Jindriska Zemanova rounding out the top five.
Place - Name, NAT (Final Time) Points
1 - Sandra Mairhofer, ITA (40:43) 100
2 - Alizee Paties, FRA (41:07) 90
3 - Solenne Billouin, FRA (41:14) 82
4 - Loanne Duvoisin, SUI (41:18) 75
5 - Jindriska Zemanova, CZE (44:16) 69
6 - Amanda Felder, USA (44:26) 63
7 - Carina Wasle, AUT (44:34) 58
8 - Beatriz Ferreira, POR (44:48) 53
9 - Georgia Grobler, RSA (44:55) 49
10 - Anna Gazzari, ITA (45:38) 45
Complete Women’s Results
Fastest swim: Anna Gazzari (6:33)
Fastest bike: Sandra Mairhofer (21:30)
Fastest run: Loanne Duvoisin (10:26)
In the men’s race Michele Bonacina (ITA) made quick work of the swim in 5:54 but was chased by a massive group of 20 men just a few seconds behind.
Once on the bike, things changed quickly with Federico Spinazze (ITA) up front on the first lap and Lukas Kocar taking the lead early in the second lap to the delight of the home crowd.
Maxim Chane (pictured) and Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) were putting on a great show for the crowd by speeding over the rock gardens and flying over the jumps, while Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen (DEN) rode his way through the field with the fastest bike split of the day.
Kocar took a big lead into the run and never looked back. Chane was second out of T2 and held that spot through the finish, with Sloth Nielsen (pictured) working his way to third. The speedy Arthur Serrieres, yesterday’s XTERRA European Championship full-distance race winner, had the best run of the day to finish in fourth position with Ruzafa rounding out the top five.
“What an amazing atmosphere,” said Kocar. “I just pushed hard from start to finish, and tried not to make any mistakes and wow, this is absolutely the best feeling to win here in Prachatice in front of the home crowd. It’s really special.”
Place - Name, NAT (Final Time) Points
1 - Lukas Kocar, CZE (34:31) 100
2 - Maxim Chane, FRA (34:45) 90
3 - Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DEN (34:50) 82
4 - Arthur Serrieres, FRA (35:00) 75
5 - Ruben Ruzafa, ESP (35:07) 69
6 - Francois Vie, POR (35:10) 63
7 - Felix Forissier, FRA (35:15) 58
8 - Sam Osborne, NZL (35:20) 53
9 - Michele Bonacina, ITA (35:28) 49
10 - Arthur Forissier, FRA (35:38) 45
Complete Men’s Results
Fastest swim: Michele Bonacina (5:54)
Fastest bike: Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen (18:06)
Fastest run: Arthur Serrieres (8:47)
All-time XTERRA Short Track Champions
Date (Location) - Men’s Winner/Women’s Winner
August 4, 2019 (Prachatice, Czech Republic) - Arthur Forissier/Loanne Duvoisin
September 4, 2020 (Prachatice, Czech Republic) - Arthur Serrieres/Laura Philipp
October 3, 2020 (Trentino, Italy) - Ruben Ruzafa/Marta Menditto
June 5, 2021 (Lake Garda, Italy) - Arthur Forissier/Loanne Duvoisin
June 20, 2021 (Prachatice, Czech Republic) - Arthur Forissier/Marta Menditto
August 20, 2021 (Zittau, Germany) - Lukas Kocar/Diede Diederiks
August 29, 2021 (Pujols, France) - Arthur Serrieres/Michelle Flipo
July 2, 2022 (Xonrupt, France) - Panagiotis Bitados/Loanne Duvoisin
August 14, 2022 (Prachatice, Czech Republic) - Lukas Kocar/Sandra Mairhofer
Today's XTERRA Short Track Czech race was the second of four big events in seven days awarding €50,000 in prize money to the sport's top elite athletes who have flocked to central Europe for the contests. Next week, the action heads to Zittau, Germany for XTERRA Short Track on Friday, August 19, and full-distance racing on Saturday, August 20. The Short Track season finale will be held on October 2, 2022 in Trentino, Italy - the day after the XTERRA World Championship.
Photos by Carel du Plessis/XTERRA
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