Francois Vie (POR) and Beatriz Ferreira (POR) won the XTERRA Portugal off-road triathlon with winning times of 2:40:57 and 3:13:29, respectively, on an uncharacteristically overcast day in Golegã, Portugal on Saturday, May 20, 2023.
It's the first XTERRA World Tour win for both athletes, and what a time to do it at their home country event.
The event marked the sixth stop on the XTERRA EMEA Tour and the ninth time Golegã has played host to XTERRA Portugal.
In the men’s elite race, Afonso Garcia (POR) was first out of the water in 18:53, followed by French elite Brian Tetard just 5 seconds in arrears, but with no daylight to eventual race winner Vie exiting right on the heels of the front two in 19:01.
From there onwards it was the Vie show, who put down a heater of a bike leg to comfortably pull away from his peers en route to the fastest split of the day, a 1:43:10.
“I felt pretty confident today. I know this course well and I know that my level is quite good, so I could push hard on the first part of the bike to take the lead before riding within myself for the remainder of the lap,” said Vie.
While Antonio Barata would not trouble Vie, he quickly made up a 58 second deficit after the swim to enter the bike-to-run transition in second place after a 1:48:03 split. Dominik Wychera (AUT) and Tiago Mia (POR) both had excellent rides to put themselves in contention for third place at T2.
“I had a slow start today, I forgot my wetsuit so it took a while to warm up,” exclaimed Wychera. “But once I caught my friend Tiago [Maia] on the bike, we both pushed hard sharing the work so that was nice to ride with some company.”
Even with his comfortable gap, Vie didn’t stop pushing, posting a race-best 36:58 to extend his lead further with almost eight minutes to spare by the time he lifted the finish tape. Barata ran 39:09 across the arable fields to secure second position, with Wychera besting Maia with a 39:06 to claim third at the line.
“Conditions were perfect today, with some clouds and even a little rain. Quite strange for Golegã but good for me,” laughed Vie. “I love how unique this race is, there is nothing quite like it on the rest of the circuit so it's an advantage for me to race so close to home, and to win my first XTERRA race in my home country is really special.”
Maia ended up fourth, with age group athlete Afonso Garcia rounding out the top five.
In the women’s elite race, Emma Ducreux (FRA) posted a 20:39 in the water, exiting with a healthy 41 second lead over Spain’s Maria Calleja with Ferriera a further minute back exiting in 22:19.
Once onto the bike, Ducreux held her gap, posting a race-best 2:05:05 over the difficult hilly terrain. Behind her, however, the race was being turned on its head. Calleja fell back as Ferreira and Italian Matilde Bolzan almost equalled the Frenchwomen’s bike split with times of 2:05:06 and 2:05:33, setting things up for a showdown on the run.
“I had such a bad swim, no idea why but it gave me the motivation to push hard on this unique course - it's so nice to ride different terrain than what we normally see in XTERRA European races. It's hard but it's nice to be able to ride through towards the front of the race,” said Bolzan.
Ferreira set out onto the run with the full support of the home crowd as she attempted to run down the gap, and she did just that posting a race-best 43:59 to take the lead at the 7.5km mark before lifting the tape at her home race.
“I just had to race my own race today - not to think too much about those around me and just do my best individual effort, and it worked,” exclaimed Ferreira. “I wasn’t phased when I entered [the second] transition in second place as I knew that my performance has improved, the gap wasn’t impossible to close, and I had some great feelings out on the course. I’m happy that it all paid off with a win here in Golegã.”
Decruex held on for second, with Bolzan finishing in third place.
“I knew I would lead the swim, and that I could expect to lead the bike, but I crashed yesterday in the pre-ride so I knew I would struggle on the run,” said Ducreux. “When Ferreira caught me on the run it was not a surprise, but I couldn’t do anything but keep pushing for second.”
Kerri-Ann Upham from the UK finished fourth, with Calleja rounding out the top five.
All-time XTERRA Portugal Elite Champions
Year - Male/Female
2014 - Ruben Ruzafa/Coralie Redelsperger
2015 - Ruben Ruzafa/Kathrin Mueller
2016 - Ruben Ruzafa/Helena Erbenova
2017 - Ruben Ruzafa/Brigitta Poor
2018 - Ruben Ruzafa/Brigitta Poor
2019 - Rui Dolores/Eleonora Peroncini
2021 - Felix Forissier/Saleta Castro
2022 - Arthur Serrieres/Solenne Billouin
2023 - Francois Vie/Beatriz Ferreira
For news, event updates, stories and more.