Forissier, Riou win XTERRA France

Monday 08 July 2019
Arthur Forissier and Morgane Riou captured the 13th annual XTERRA France off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful day in the Vosges mountains of Xonrupt on Sunday, July 7, 2019.

For Forissier, the victory was the seventh of his XTERRA career, second in as many weeks following his win at XTERRA Switzerland on June 29, and third on the European Tour this season.  He also won the ITU Cross Tri World Title in April.  For Riou, its her fifth career win on the XTERRA World Tour and third in a row this season.

In the men’s elite race Jens Roth was first out of the water followed by Will Crudgington, then Maxim Chane together with Stephen Bayliss one-minute back.  All the contenders including Forissier, Arthur Serrieres, Ruben Ruzafa, Francois Carloni, and Rui Dolores were yet another minute back.

Once on the bike Chane took charge and was all by himself at the 10K mark with the two Arthurs 20-seconds back and working together to bridge the gap. Roth was 40-seconds back at that point with Carloni, Ruzafa, and Cedric Fleureton one-minute behind the French duo. Another group with Dolores and Felix Forissier, the young brother of Arthur, was riding strong another 20 seconds back.

“I felt quite good on the bike and after leading the race expected to be caught by the faster guys,” said Chane.  “When the two Arthurs caught up with me, I realized they were not riding that hard and saving their energy to battle it out on the run. This allowed me to ride with them and conserve some energy for the run myself, as I knew I would lose some time on the run.”
Further into the second loop on the bike Chane, Forissier, and Serrieres were together in the lead with Ruzafa and Carloni two minutes back.  At the bike-to-run transition it was Forissier and Serrieres together, Chane just a few seconds back in third, then Ruzafa and Dolores.

Forissier started the run with a strong pace but Serrieres was able to stay with him. Chane lost some time exiting transition and Ruzafa was coming fast from behind to fight for the third place on the podium as the two Arthurs chased the title.

In the end Forissier held off Serrieres by just nine seconds to win the race and break Ruzafa’s 5-year winning streak at XTERRA France.

“I am very happy because it is my first time to win here and also because it is a big race and maybe the toughest on the European Tour,” said Forissier.

“I was feeling strong before the start and I wanted to win because last year I finished second, and I want to improve each year. The run was really hard because I was with Arthur Serrieres, who I know is a very strong runner and he was also strong on the bike, so I was afraid of him. I was in front of him after T2 then he passed me, and I passed him again on a downhill section and then I had to manage this advantage because he pushes hard until the finish line and that’s what happened. I know him well because we often race against each other, and he took the win at XTERRA Greece in front of me by just a few seconds, and now it was the other way around,” said Forissier.

Ruzafa finished third, Chane fourth, and Dolores finished just six seconds later in fifth.  Arthur’s younger brother Felix, who won the Sprint distance last year, came in sixth with Xavier Dafflon in seventh.

Elite Men
1 Arthur Forissier, FRA 2:54:32
2 Arthur Serrieres , FRA 2:54:41
3 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 3:00:19
4 Maxim Chane, FRA 3:01:59
5 Rui Dolores, PRT 3:02:05

In the women’s elite race Nicole Walters from the UK was first out of the water with the reigning XTERRA Pan Am Tour Champ, Fabiola Corona from Mexico, in second place, then Carina Wasle and Maria Aquayo two minutes back. Riou, Alizee Paties, Sandra Mairhofen, Helena Karaskova, Ladina Buss, and Ana Tomica followed another 1:10 behind the group with Corona.

At the 10K mark of the bike Walters was still in the lead with Paties, a strong mountain biker, one-minute back followed by Riou 30 seconds later.  Corona was in fourth and Karaskova was riding strong in fifth about 3:30 back of the leader.

At the end of the first loop on the bike Paties (pictured) was in the lead, about 1:45 ahead of Riou in second and Walters in third. Karaskova and Corona were riding in fourth and fifth another 30-seconds behind.

At the bike-to-run transition Paties had two minutes on Riou, and 2:20 on Karaskova in third. By the halfway point on the run Riou had narrowed the gap and was closing fast. She ended up with the fastest run split of the day and passed Paties in the last K of the run to take the victory with a time of 3:31:29. Paties finished second and Karaskova in third place.

“It was a beautiful race,” said Riou.  “It’s always unique if you are a French and you win your home country race, but it was very difficult.  Between Paties and Karaskova, I had to push hard to take the victory.  Three wins in nine days is unbelievable, it’s a great feeling. Now, I need some rest and to prepare for the rest of the season.”
Paties said she was happy with her runner-up performance, saying, “I had a good swim and I know the bike is my strength, so I had to make that count. It was great to lead off the bike, but I know that Morgane is a much faster runner, so I’m really happy with my result.”

XTERRA France was the ninth of 14 stops on the 2019 XTERRA European Tour and an important gold-scoring event that attracted the best amateur and professional off-road triathletes from around the world.  For the 10th time the event was staged at the beautiful lake of Longemer in northeastern France where huge crowds come out to watch thousands of competitors take on the XTERRA challenge.

Elite Women
1 Morgane Riou, FRA 3:31:29
2 Alizee Paties, FRA 3:32:20
3 Helena Karaskova, CZE 3:33:22
4 Fabiola Corona, MEX 3:38:30
5 Carina Wasle, AUT 3:39:18
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