Germany's Ronny Dietz and France's Marion Lorblanchet won the 10th running of the XTERRA Czech Championship in Spindleruv Mlyn on Saturday. XTERRA managing director "Kahuna Dave" Nicholas was at the race and brings you this report.
Two great efforts put in today. In my pre-race report I mentioned a local Czech racer Helena Erbanova. In her case the promise was fulfilled. Helena came out of the water in 9th place for the women; proceeded to pedal the 4th fastest bike time and smoked the women by putting in the fastest run of the day and passing eventual 3rd place Renata Bucher on the last of three run laps.
The 32-year-old recent mom is the product of a long line of Czech athletes with Father, Mother and Grandfather all being Olympians in winter sports. She’ll be in Zittau next week to race the XTERRA one day European Championship and I would not bet against another podium finish. Marion “Bubu” Lorblanchet rode past swim leader Jacqui Slack on the initial climb to get into first place and never let it go. World Champ Shonny Vanlandingham had a bad day in Czech being uncomfortable in the very cold water.
“It was a good thing it was only 1,000m," the world champ said. Shonny has been racing with a severely sprained thumb since she hit it on a rock during the swim in Richmond.
“This course was just so bumpy with a lot of elevation changes and was jarring my thumb so much that I simply could not hold on,” explained Vanlandingham, who managed a 5th place after she was passed by Austria’s Carina Wasle late in the run. The women’s podium had Bubu first followed by Erbenova, Bucher, Wasle and Vanlandingham. Five places, five different nations.
I also mentioned German Ronny Dietz was having a great year and was second in the XTERRA European Tour standings behind three-time Olympian Olivier Marceau. Well, he is now in first place with a fantastic win in the mud and rain of Spindleruv Mlyn. Marceau started fine but said later that he just did not have anything in his legs today. Normally among the fastest riders, the two time European Champ could muster no better than 19th on the bike. American Seth Wealing came here after a great win in Mexico and his form has been so good I was thinking he could sweep all three internationals in a row. And he darn near did with a great second place only 35 seconds behind Dietz.
“Ahh” said Wealing “This course was just not right for me. Too short a swim and too long a bike”.
There were a few hundred other guys out there who wished they had it so bad. The other great prediction was about Czech pro Jan Kubicek. Jan has been one of those guys who is blistering fast one race and nowhere in the next. One never knows which Kubicek will show up. When I talked to him before the race he seemed more settled than ever.
“Now I am 31 years old and have a nice girlfriend and life is good for me” smiled Kubicek.
It showed up on raceday as Kubicek ran his way into a best ever 3rd overall. He came down the slippery hill leading to T2 in 5th place behind eventual 4th and 5th place Jim Thijs (Belgium) and Mikko Vastaranta (Finland). Then Jan put in the fastest run of the day gaining more than four minutes on Thijs and Vastaranta. Jimbo Thijs (pronounce it Theese) rode brilliantly. He is primarily a mountain bike racer who turned to XTERRA a few years ago. His swim has greatly improved but today “I rode too hard” he said. “It was so much fun, especially the downhills that I just could not stop – and I had nothing for the run”.
Vastaranta showed some true speed last year and we had not seen him until yesterday. We welcome him back and hope to see this very brilliant young gun the rest of the season. Speaking of young guns Yeray Luxem, also from Belgium, got the lead on the bike but kept crashing to the extent he needed stitches in his hip and still managed 6th place. We have a great crop of young male pros in Europe and they are knocking hard on the door of a win. With two to go in 2011, I would not bet against it happening this year. The podium for the men was a varied as the women with Dietz, Wealing, Kubicek, Thijs and Vastaranta all from different nations.
The weather on race day was typical middle Europe. This is to say, changeable. Gray in the morning, it started raining just 30 minutes before the start and turned cold. The reservoir that was at 16 degrees C (61F) on Friday morning dropped at least a couple of degrees because of the chilly overnight rains. The rain stopped for a great majority of the day and in the middle of the two lap bike course the sun came out and warmed everything up. Alas the rains came back for one last slap in the face and to make sure everything and everybody was soaked and muddy. By the time Dietz came across the line the sun was back out and it became a pleasant rest of the day. Despite the weather there were loads of smiles everywhere. It seems XTERRA people just don’t mind having Mother Nature throw some body punches at them.
All in all it was a great 10th year for XTERRA Czech. By far the longest running race on the European Tour. The place, the people and the culture are just wonderful. We will continue to combine it with XTERRA Germany as we have the past two years and it makes a great two week excursion into Europe for the Tribe. Start making some plans for 2012.
Top 10 Men
Pos First Last Country Time
1 Ronny Dietz GER 2:26:54
2 Seth Wealing USA 2:27:29
3 Jan Kubicek CZE 2:27:57
4 Jim Thijs BEL 2:30:44
5 Mikko Vastaranta FIN 2:31:31
6 Yeray Luxem BEL 2:32:32
7 Peter Possible SVK 2:32:47
8 Olivier Marceau SUI 2:33:07
9 Pierre Facomprez FRA 2:34:28
10 Ian Leitch GBR 2:34:30
Also: David Janda, Alexander Haas, Felix Schumann, Ben Allen, Will Kelsay
Top 10 Women
Pos First Last Country Time
1 Marion Lorblanchet FRA 2:52:21
2 Helena Erbenova CZE 2:53:41
3 Renata Bucher SUI 2:54:35
4 Carina Wasle AUT 2:59:02
5 Shonny Vanlandingham USA 2:59:08
6 Maud Golsteyn NED 3:05:06
7 Heather Holmes GER 3:06:34
8 Bridget Poor HUN 3:08:22
9 Jacqui Slack GBR 3:11:01
10 Dagmar Sverak CZE 3:21:27
Photo Credit: XTERRA