Roger Serrano from Spain and Brigitta Poor from Hungary captured the elite titles at the XTERRA European Tour season-opener in Malta today. It’s the third XTERRA Malta win in a row for Serrano and the fourth straight for Poor.
The women’s race unfolded like many other races we’ve had in the past with Nicole Walters leading the swim, Brigitta Poor taking a big lead during the bike and staying there, Carina Wasle posting a consistent race to finish in second, and Helena Karaskova coming from well behind in the swim to ultimately finish in third.
The race might have been different towards the front had Walters and Morgane Riou not suffered flat tires on the bike that removed both from contention for podium spots.
At the swim-to-bike transition Walters had about 45-seconds on Diane Luethi from Switzerland and Ine Couckuyt from Belgium. Poor was about one-minute behind with Wasle, while Riou Carina right behind. Riou was about 2:20 back and Karaskova was more than three-minutes behind the swim leaders.
As for the weather, it was a perfect day, and we were lucky not to have wind storms like we experienced yesterday.
After one loop of bike (15km) Poor was more than two-minutes ahead of Walters, with Wasle in third, Luethi in fourth, and Karaskova in fifth. At this point Riou already had a flat, and she explained “I dropped my chain twice and started losing control. I went too fast on the next downhill and paid dearly for this mistake. I was feeling strong today and when I will finally got my new bike, I was sure I would be able to fight more with those girls.”
For Walters, her flat came on the second loop. We will have to wait to see the true results of all her winter improvements, especially coming off a three-week training camp in Lanzaroth, until next week’s race at XTERRA Cyprus.
By the end of the bike Poor had a solid lead, but still she pushed all the way to the finish line and won here for the 4th time in a row with a time of 2:42:29, almost five minutes ahead of Wasle.