It’s the second win in as many weeks for Osborne and Poor, who took the wins at XTERRA Poland last week, and it is also the fifth major title of the season for both.
XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report…
There’s a habit forming here in Europe as Osborne and Poor won for the second straight week, this time in the Saxony mountains. The forecast all week was doom and gloom. They called for rain on Friday at 17:00 (5pm), and rain all day on Saturday. It never came on Friday until about 23:00 (11pm) and it came hard. At the venue a bunch of expo tents were ripped from the ground and tossed meters away. But as quickly as the storm came – it went. Race day morning was cool and cloudy but no rain.
The swim start here is a show. The athletes are announced and walk to a blue line of plastic tiles laid in the sand. Everyone toes the line until the gun goes off and it is a fabulous sight as 60+ pros head to the sea to splash and dive towards the first buoy.
The winners won it in a very similar fashion to last week.
“I knew if I was with the fast guys at the top of the mountain I could rest a bit on the way down,” grinned the Kiwi, Osborne. “We all worked together and everyone pulled so we came into T2 and it became a running race.”
Brigitta after the race was, well, typical Brigitta.
“Oh, my swim was not so good and then I got on the bike and could hardly go,” she said as she looked to the sky. “On the run, I was flat but after a few K it felt better.”
This was said by a woman who won by nearly six-minutes, turned in the 2nd fastest swim, the fastest bike and the 3rd fastest run. In second was series leader Helena Erbenova-Karaskova, who was a bit more jubilant about her performance.
“My swim was good, I liked it, but I just could not make time on the bike or the run. I felt good but the high performance was not there,” she said.
Carina Wasle had a very tidy 3rd place. She did not like her swim and felt her power was down on the bike. “I really liked the run and I felt fast. Last week my run was not so good, today it was great. I have to put all 3 together soon,” she smiled with that cute little turn of her head. “I am really happy with 3rd today.”
|1||Brigitta Poor, HUN||03:00:56||100|
|2||Helena Karaskova-Erbenova, CZE||03:06:51||90|
|3||Carina Wasle, AUT||03:08:11||82|
|4||Elizabeth Orchard, NZL||03:11:18||75|
|5||Diane Lee, UK||03:24:36||69|
|6||Daria Rogozina, RUS||03:24:43||63|
|7||Louise Fox, GBR||03:25:00||58|
|8||Isabelle Ferrer, FRA||03:25:39||53|
|9||Leicester Johandri, RSA||03:27:56||49|
In the men’s race it was a great fight the entire day, until Osborne decided to literally run away with the race. At the 12K mark on what is known as the Hochwald Aussichtsturm – the high woods observation tower- the fight was on. Osborne led with Jens Roth and Roger Serrano right on his heels. Just a handful of seconds later came Arthur Serrieres, Bradley Weiss and OMG, is that Pavel Andreev. We knew the Russian was fast, he won in Finland and had a nice 5th in Poland but none of us expected him to be challenging the lead group this quick. The Russian had improved his swim enough to catch and hang with the leaders.
No one had seen Xavier Dafflon until this morning at transition. Dafflon is the big surprise of this year winning in Italy and showing considerable strength in Belgium and France. This man can power a bike like nobody currently on the tour. Yes, in the races they went head-to-head, Dafflon had faster bike times than “The Boss” Ruben Ruzafa. Dafflon lost over 7-minutes coming out of the water to Osborne, Serrano and Roth but by the top of the Hochwald he was back just under 4-minutes.
“I was very happy with my swim and the bike was going fast. After the climb, I was flying coming down the hills and got a flat tire,” he said. “In mountain biking we say a flat tire is your fault and I know exactly what I did wrong.”
At the final, rocky downhill Dafflon was missing and we knew something had gone wrong. Also, MIA was the Spaniard Serrano who had picked up a stick somewhere that got caught inside and broke his rear derailleur.
It was simply wonderful watching these top five guys swarm down a rocky, gnarly descent that hundreds of age groupers simply walk down. The surprise at that point was young Arthur Serrieres in the lead and Pavel in 2nd. Then came Sam in 3rd, Bradley in 4th, and Jens Roth in 5th. Not far back was the other young Frenchmen Maxim Chane and Francois Carloni.
“We were all in a pack coming into T2 and I just took off as fast as I could,” said Osborne. “The ITU boys would have been proud of my first 2K’s. Out of sight, out of mind.”
As fast as Serrieres can run, he was still almost a minute slower than Sam and that’s how they finished. Pavel came onto the run in 3rd but Weiss hunted him down and finished less than a minute back of Arthur for 3rd, Pavel had a fabulous 4th and Roth rounded out the top five and was also the first in the German cross triathlon championship category. Rui Delores (POR) ran himself up into 6th and will have a great shot to finish 5th in the European series.
|1||Sam Osborne, NZL||02:36:57||100|
|2||Arthur Serrieres , FRA||02:37:52||90|
|3||Bradley Weiss, RSA||02:38:44||82|
|4||Pavel Andreev, RUS||02:39:53||75|
|5||Jens Roth, GER||02:42:56||69|
|6||Rui Dolores, POR||02:43:12||63|
|7||Maxim Chane, FRA||02:43:44||58|
|8||Jan Kubicek, CZE||02:44:55||53|
|9||Peter Lehmann, GER||02:45:10||49|
|10||Francois Carloni, FRA||02:45:40||45|
It is such a pleasure to make our annual visit to Zittau and Olbersdorf. The race is a classic with one big loop on both the bike and run. It is difficult and challenging, but achievable. The city and villages are picture-perfect postcard places with great restaurants, dozens of hotels and guest homes and super friendly people. Speaking a bit of German won’t hurt, but smiles and hand gestures can get almost anything done. Benno Schwager and his team have a huge, impressive setup with live TV from around the course shown under the BIG canopy, bands Friday and Saturday nights and everything in the race venue from pizza to ice cream and never forget those fabulous German brats. To wash it all away are three beer stands with dark, light and non-alcoholic options for you to choose from. From opening ceremony to awards, this is simply a superlative event.
And it didn’t rain. Not a drop.
ALL-TIME XTERRA GERMANY ELITE CHAMPIONS
|2017||Zittau||Sam Osborne||Brigitta Poor|
|2016||Zittau||Ruben Ruzafa||Michelle Flipo|
|2015||Zittau||Ben Allen||Helena Erbenova|
|2014||Zittau||Ruben Ruzafa||Kathrin Mueller|
|2013||Zittau||Ruben Ruzafa||Jacqui Slack|
|2012||Zittau||Asa Shaw||Helena Erbenova|
|2011||Zittau||Olivier Marceau||Marion Lorblanchet|
|2010||Zittau||Cancelled due to flooding|
|2009||Zittau||Franky Batelier||Renata Bucher|
|2008||Zittau||Ronny Dietz||Renata Bucher|
|2007||Titisee||Franky Batelier||Carina Wasle|
|2006||Titisee||Sebastian Kienle||Carina Wasle|
|2005||Titisee||Nicolas Lebrun||Carina Wasle|
|2004||Titisee||Olivier Marceau||Katrin Helmcke|
|2003||Titisee||Nicolas Lebrun||Jamie Whitmore|
|2002||Titisee||Ronny Dietz||Ute Schaefer|