Germany – Lukáš Kočar (CZE) and Diede Diederiks (NED) win the XTERRA Short Track Germany off-road triathlon
Lukáš Kočar (CZE) and Diede Diederiks (NED) win the XTERRA Short Track Germany off-road triathlon
In the women’s race, a group of four exited the water together, with Loanne Duvoisin reaching transition first, closely followed by Sandra Mairhofer (ITA), Solenne Billouin (FRA) and Jindrinska Zemanova (CZE).
It was all change on the bike course, with Solenne Billouin taking the lead and holding onto her position for the first two las. Matilde Bolzan (ITA) was the star of the show on the bike however, riding into the lead and putting on a spectacle for the fans as she flew over the jumps and traversed the technical sections with ease.
The flying Italian was first into transition, followed by Jindrinska Zemanova (CZE) and Solenne Billouin. A faster transition from Billouin saw her move up into second early on as she tried to hunt down Bolzan in front.
As a non-ranked athlete, Diede Diedericks (NLD) was the surprise of the day. She had been involved in the race from the get-go, but it was on the run that she really dominated and showed her talents. Despite leaving transition in 6th, it wasn’t long before she had passed both Eleonora Peroncini (ITA) and Sandra Mairhofer (ITA) and then the top three girls to find herself in the lead.
After crossing the line, Diedericks said, “This is my first cross-triathlon under XTERRA and it was really great, I loved it and I had a good outcome. Now to see if my legs can recover for tomorrow!”
It was a sprint finish for Bolzan and Billouin, with seconds between the two competitors. Billouin managed to find an extra gear and pass Bolzan at the last moment, collapsing over the line having given everything.
“I wasn’t feeling amazing before the race, but I came out of the water in the top three. I pushed on the bike, but the girls came back on me. On the run I kept trying to push hard but there are some super strong girls. I managed one final push to pass Bolzan on the finishers straight.”
Bolzan was over the moon with her first XTERRA race this season, after coming back from injury. She commented, “I came here for fun and I tried to make a big show on the bike for the supporters. When I started the run, my legs were destroyed, and I wanted to stop but by the second lap I improved, and I am so happy to finish third.”
In the men’s short track race, the swim was dominated by Jens Roth (DEU) who was also returning after a break due to injury.
No other athletes managed to hold his feet during the swim, but they were hunting him down once out of the water and into transition. One of the hunters in the chasing pack included Lukas Kocar (CZE) who was quick to overtake and establish a lead. The Czech athlete went all-out on the bike, extending his position each lap.
Speaking after the race he said, “It feels amazing to win today, what a great feeling! For me, I went full gas from the start of the bike and all the way to the finish. I knew Serrieres was a strong runner so I went all-out on the first lap and halfway into the second before I could relax a little bit and enjoy the finish.”
Second and third into transition were Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen (DNK) and Maxim Chane (FRA) but it wasn’t long before Arthur Serrieres (FRA) and Arthur Forissier (FRA) showed their running strength to finish in 2nd and 3rd place.
Arthur Serrieres said, “I tried to be as smart as possible to keep some energy for tomorrow but when you are in a race environment you can’t help but push a bit. I am the defending champion here for the full distance so it is definitely the goal of the weekend to defend this. I feel a bit of pressure and I am hoping for the win but if I do not win then I know the winner deserved to win and raced really well.”
Third place, Arthur Forissier also loved being out on the short track course. He commented, “On the bike I was trying to follow the group and catch the small groups ahead. I didn’t even see Kocar on the bike, he was so strong. It was a really fun race!”
image credit: XTERRAplanet