21 giu 2021
XTERRA Short Track Czech Republic
On Saturday 19th June, the best cross triathletes in Europe will take to the start line for the first full-distance race of the season and an action-packed weekend of racing at XTERRA Czech Republic.
As an event that has been part of the XTERRA series since 2002, the racecourse out of Prachatice, Czech Republic always delivers something special and is well known for its tough climbs, fast fire roads and technical single track. Alongside the challenging course, the full distance event will offer up a prize purse of 15,000 euros and all-important ranking points, plus qualification for the Short Track event on Sunday, meaning it is going to be an all-out battle from the get-go.
In the women’s race, Helena Karaskova Erbanova is the highest-ranked out of the 13 elite female athletes after her incredible bronze medal performance at the XTERRA World Championships in Maui back in 2019. As the local legend, the athlete has come out of retirement especially for the occasion and will be looking forward to having a strong hit-out on home soil.
“I have never missed an edition of XTERRA Czech and racing at home has always been very special”, said Karaskova.
Renown for hunting athletes down on the bike and run, Karaskova will have her work cut out to catch young favourites Loanne Duvoisin and Sandra Mairhofer. Finishing first and second respectively at the XTERRA Short Track event in Lake Garda, Italy earlier in the month, both athletes showed they were on fine form and more than ready for the season ahead after racing neck and neck for much of the fast-paced race.
ITU World Cross Tri Champion, Eleonora Peroncini will again be looking to the podium and to build on her third-place finish in Italy, while athletes such as Marta Menditto, Solenne Billoin, Carina Wasle and Jindriska Zemanova will also looking to battle it out at the front of the pack.
In the men’s race, we welcome Jens Roth back to XTERRA Racing. Nicknamed ‘the shark’, Roth will be looking to establish a strong lead in the swim, ahead of a stellar field of athletes that features 10 of the top 20 XTERRA ranked athletes, including Ruben Ruzafa, Francois Carlon, Maxim Chané and Karel Dusek.
The two Arthur’s – Serrieres and Forissier – will once again be gunning for the top spot after a thrilling battle at the XTERRA Short Track Lake Garda a few weeks earlier.
“So happy to be back in the Czech Republic. I won here in 2019 and then both full and short track races in 2020 and I hope to perform well again”, said Serrieres.
But there is no denying that they will have their work cut out, with all eyes also on the local powerhouse, Lukas Kocar who would love to win on home soil, especially after a crash on the course in 2018 and a broken seat post in 2019. While a dropped chain saw him lose precious time and finish in third place at the XTERRA Short Track race in Italy earlier this month, all the athlete needs is a race without drama to be able to show off his full potential.
With a packed field across both the men’s and women’s race, XTERRA Czech Republic is set to be an exhilarating weekend of racing as athletes take on the classic lake swim, point-to-point bike and a hilly run course, before racing for the finish line in the beautiful Prachatice town square.
Arthur Forissier (FRA) and Marta Menditto (ITA) captured the XTERRA Short Track Czech Republic elite race on Sunday, June 20, 2021, in a beautiful course around the Kristanovicky Lake with winning times of 35:14 and 42:33 respectively.
In the women’s race, Loanne Duvoisin, after a strong swim in the full distance yesterday, was first out of the water again yesterday, together with Aneta Grabmullerova and closely followed by Sandra Mairhofer and Marta Menditto.
Duvoisin took the lead early on the bike but suffered a crash on the second loop of the fast and technical bike course which saw her pull out of the race. Mairhofer rode with Billouin and Menditto for most of the bike, before attacking to establish a small lead.
Once into transition Menditto took the lead and started to push hard on the run, making a big gap early on. Billouin kept Mairhofer close on the run while Karaskova was closing the gap in fourth place.
Heading into the final loop of the run, the top positions changed with Billouin making her move and passing Mairhofer for second place. Menditto cross the line in a solid first place, with Billouin and Mairhofer earning podium positions behind, and Karaskova and Peroncini finishing in fourth and fifth place respectively.
Speaking after the race Marta Menditto said, “It was a really good race for me. I tried to push on the bike and stay together with Sandra. I had a really fast transition thanks to the tricks I learned from Francois Carloni and took the lead. I was feeling great on the run and I am happy with my victory today.”
Sandra Mairhofer sent her well wishes to Duvoisin after the crash, “I saw her crash in front of me on the bike. I felt sorry for her but tried to stay focused and prevent any mistakes. I was feeling great on the bike but on the run, I was out of energy, probably because of my efforts yesterday in the full distance. I am happy with third place today.”
Top 5 Women
Name (NAT) - Time
Marta Menditto (ITA) - 42:33
Solenne Billouin (FRA) - 43:01
Sandra Mairhofer (ITA) - 43:16
Helena Karaskova-Erbenova (CZE) - 43:39
Eleonora Peroncini (ITA) - 44:26
In the men’s short track race, the swim saw a repeat from yesterday’s full distance race with Maxim Chane first out of the water, followed by Kocar, Serrieres and Spinnaze.
Out onto the bike, it was Chane in the lead, with Spinnaze hot on his wheel and Kocar hunting them down behind. Two of the favourites, Arthur Serrieres and Arthur Forissier were working together out of transition until Forissier made his move up to fourth place before the end of the first loop.
Kocar was next to make his move, passing Spinazze early on in the second loop before pushing hard to pass Chane at the start of the third loop with Forissier on the attack behind and also moving up to second. Danish mountain biker, Sloth Nielsen was also in hunting mode, coming in fast to establish the third position on the bike.
A fast transition for Forisier saw him head out onto the run 11 seconds ahead of Kocar. The French athlete looked unstoppable on the run, increasing the gap on his opponents stride after stride. Crossing the finish line in first place, Forrisier has established himself as the King of Short track, having won all three events so far this season in XTERRA.
The full distance winner, Arthur Serrierres produced another stellar performance, passing Sloth Nielsen early on in the run before battling out with Kocar. However, the Czech local found an extra gear in the last 200m to hold onto his second-place position ahead of Serrieres, with Nielsen and Chane finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
Speaking of his performance, Arthur Forissier said, “Yesterday I was a little tired but this morning I had a good feeling. On the first loop of the swim, there was a big battle with the group, but I decided to keep calm and make my move on the second loop. I had a good transition and then was able to take the lead from Kocar on the bike. I opened the gap early on the run and was able to manage the race. I hope that my friends and fans from Saint-Etienne were able to see my race on the live feed from XTERRA. I won 3 out of 3 XTERRA Short Track races so far and we have 2 more to go this season.”
Local athlete, Lukas Kocar was proud to race in front of his supporters. He said, “I am so happy today. After the full distance yesterday, it was hard to fight in the Short Track today. I was feeling very confident and powerful on the bike but was losing some time on the downhill. I knew that Serrieres was very close, but I kept some power for the last 200 meters of the run to push and keep my position. There were so many spectators that gave me strength and power. It was a great event.”
Top 5 Men
Name (NAT) - Time
Arthur Forissier (FRA) - 35:14
Lukas Kocar (CZE) - 35:44
Arthur Serrieres (FRA) - 35:54
Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen (DEN) -36:31
Maxim Chane (FRA) - 36:35