Why it matters: The inaugural Xterra Weston Park off-road triathlons marked a significant win for two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee and Lizzie Orchard, setting a new trajectory for their respective careers in Xterra World Tour.
Setting the pace: Weston Park House in Staffordshire, England, provided a picturesque backdrop for the fifth stop on the Xterra EMEA Tour, the first in England since 2015. The race combined a 1.5K lake swim, 27K mountain bike, and an 11K trail run, challenging athletes with diverse terrains.
What they are saying
- "Winning is always special, but most importantly, I just really enjoyed racing hard and off-road," said Brownlee.
- “Victory today is pretty special as it's been awhile since I've lifted the tape," said Orchard.
- "The location here is amazing, it’s a perfect spot for Xterra, and it was special to race Alistair," shared Chane.
By the numbers
- Brownlee completed the race in 2:04:27, with Chane coming in second at 2:05:13.
- Orchard finished with a time of 2:36:06.
- The fastest swim time in the men's elite race was 19:18 by Brownlee.
- Megan McDonald, a local favorite, posted the fastest swim in the women's elite race at 22:!5.
Between transition: The transition from the swim to the bike proved crucial in both the men's and women's elite races, with athletes like Brownlee and Orchard capitalising on their strengths and making key strategic moves to maintain and gain leads.
Through Time: This marked the first Xterra World Tour win for Brownlee and the fourth for Orchard. Brownlee, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was making his Xterra debut, while Orchard celebrated her first win since the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in 2016.