Kieran McPherson (NZL) and Samantha Kingsford (NZL) won the 9th annual XTERRA Québec off-road triathlon elite races at Manoir du Lac Delage in the French-speaking region of eastern Canada on Sunday, July 16, 2023.
It’s the sixth career XTERRA World Tour win for McPherson - his second in as many weeks following his victory at XTERRA Victoria in British Columbia, Canada last Sunday - and the 10th big win for Kingsford.
In the men’s elite race Sam Osborne (NZL) was first out of the water in 21:36 with local favorite Edmond Ray right on his heels. Branden Rakita (USA) and Steve Croucher (USA) were next about 20 seconds back and McPherson was 1:20 behind the leaders.
Once on the bike Osborne and Roy set the pace up front and caught big air on the jumps through the mountain bike course at the end of the first lap to the delight of spectators gathered about despite the steady rain.
“Edmond put me under pressure on the first lap. The local boy knows these trails like the back of his hand and I was just holding on for dear life just trying to stay in touch,” said Osborne. “I saw an opportunity at the start of the second lap and pushed by him trying to build a lead.”
Osborne was able to build a gap and had the fastest bike split of the day to arrive first into the bike-to-run transition with Roy not far behind, but the race was ultimately won on the run when McPherson turned on the jets.
“I got a time split saying that I was maybe three minutes back going into T2 so I knew I had to run pretty aggressively,” said McPherson. “I attacked the first run climb as hard as I could and took a whole bunch of risks coming down the back side of the climb. And, if you run hard on the downhill your legs will hurt for the next uphill and they hurt a lot on the second climb but I kept getting splits that I was closing time so I kept hurting more.”
McPherson caught Roy at the top of the second climb and took even more risks on the last downhill to reel in Osborne about a mile from the finish. He posted the fastest run split (48:37) by far, five minutes faster than Osborne, and took the tape in 2:56:11, about 45-seconds ahead of his fellow Kiwi.
“I spent the last three days on the phone with Air Canada trying to find my bags so I didn't really get a chance to check out the course much. Finally got my bags late last night, put my stuff together, and turned up with a reasonably positive attitude so really happy with the win,” said McPherson. “This and Victoria have to be the best circuits on the XTERRA World Tour. It’s a mountain bike park and on mountain bike trails, and it’s the same for the run, just a bunch of great single track and I really enjoyed it.”
Osborne was also separated from his bike en route to Québec and didn’t have the chance to ride and run the course as much as he wanted, but still gave all the credit to McPherson.
“He’s pretty magical on a run course like this,” said Osborne. “It's a hard run and all the rain turned the trails into custard so it was a total mud bath on that second lap. I was slipping all over the place and he passed me when I was flat on my back after a fall.”
Roy held on for third and was the top Canadian, with Xavier Plouffe (CAN) and Croucher rounding out the top five.
Top 5 Elite Men
XWR - Name, NAT (Time)
1 - Kieran McPherson, NZL (2:56:11)
2 - Sam Osborne, NZL (2:56:57)
3 - Edmond Roy, CAN (2:58:11)
4 - Xavier Plouffe, CAN (3:05:38)
5 - Steve Croucher, USA (3:13:09)
In the women’s elite race Kingsford led from wire-to-wire, posting the fastest swim (23:21), bike (2:01:43), and run (1:11:15) times to take the tape in 3:37:57, more than 12 minutes ahead of first-year elite Maude Plouffe from Canada.
“It was pretty wet out there but still an epic course,” said Kingsford. “I didn’t have a great swim so on the first lap of the bike I put the hammer down to put a decent gap on the girls. The mountain bike course is what XTERRA is all about, true mountain biking, and I was having a ball out there. When I got to the run it was muddy and wet and rivers were going down the course so to make it home with my ankles intact, I’m pretty happy with that. Really an amazing course, I’ll definitely be telling everyone to come check this one out.”
Plouffe had the second best bike split and was strong all day to finish in second, with local amateur Leya Masson in third, American elite Amanda Presgraves in fourth, and former age group XTERRA World Champion Courtney Kaup in fifth.
Top 5 Women
XWR - Name, NAT (Time)
1 - Samantha Kingsford, NZL (3:37:57)
2 - Maude Plouffe, CAN (3:50:34)
3 - Leya Masson, CAN* (4:03:20)
4 - Amanda Presgraves, USA (4:07:59)
5 - Courtney Kaup, USA* (4:08:07)
XTERRA Québec was the 14th of 25 stops on the XTERRA Americas Tour and one of 22 majors in the XTERRA pro series, attracting a high quality elite field to the mountain biking mecca for the first time since 2019.
Find event coverage on Instagram.
Photos by Louis Charland and Nicolas Hallet @ LA SHOT
All-time XTERRA Quebec Elite Race Champions
2018 - Josiah Middaugh/Fabiola Corona
2019 - Josiah Middaugh/Katie Button
2023 - Kieran McPherson/Samantha Kingsford
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