Xterra Weston Park: Alistair Brownlee and Lizzie Orchard Winners

In a thrilling showdown at the inaugural Xterra Weston Park off-road triathlon, Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain and Lizzie Orchard of New Zealand claimed victories.

Xterra Weston Park: Alistair Brownlee and Lizzie Orchard Winners

Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee and New Zealand's Lizzie Orchard emerged victorious at the inaugural Xterra Weston Park off-road triathlons on May 13, 2023. The thrilling, competitive racing took place on a stunning, sunny day in Staffordshire, England, making it a perfect backdrop for the elite athletes.

Men’s Elite Race

The men’s elite race witnessed a fierce competition between two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee, making his Xterra debut, and France's Maxim Chane. Brownlee was the first out of the 1.5K lake swim, clocking a time of 19:18, with Chane entering the 27K mountain bike portion only a minute behind.

Chane, despite a tough swim, managed to outpace Brownlee in the first lap of the bike segment, posting a time of 33:12 against Brownlee's 34:32. This led to an exciting switch of positions throughout the ride. As the athletes approached the 11K trail run, they were neck-and-neck. Chane was the first out of the bike-to-run transition, but Brownlee swiftly reclaimed the lead, showcasing his phenomenal foot speed. He clocked a first lap time of 16:30, and with the fastest run split of the day, 34:18, he secured a winning time of 2:04:27. Chane, displaying commendable endurance, finished second in 2:05:13, followed by Morgan Rhodes with a time of 2:12:54.

Women’s Elite Race

The women's elite race was no less thrilling, with Lizzie Orchard securing her fourth Xterra World Tour win. Megan McDonald of Great Britain led the swim with a time of 22:15, followed by Kerri-Ann Upham and Orchard. However, Orchard displayed exceptional biking skills, taking the lead halfway through the first bike lap and maintaining it until the bike-to-run transition.

Despite a late surge from Bonnie van Wilgenburg, who posted the fastest bike and run times, Orchard's strong bike performance was enough to secure her victory with a time of 2:36:06. Kerri-Ann Upham secured third place, marking a successful pro debut.

Race Analysis and Insights

Men's Race

Alistair Brownlee's victory demonstrated his strong all-around skillset and his ability to maintain a steady pace throughout the race. His exceptional swim provided him a significant lead, and his smooth transition from swimming to cycling, even when outpaced by Chane, showcased his strategic approach.

The deciding factor in the race was Brownlee's impressive running ability. His pace out of the bike-to-run transition was the key to his victory. On the other hand, Maxim Chane's performance was noteworthy, showing excellent recovery on the bike segment after a difficult swim. However, his lack of technical prowess due to the sunny weather conditions hindered his performance during the mountain biking segment.

Women's Race

Lizzie Orchard's win was a result of her strength in the cycling segment and a well-paced run. Despite not leading in the swim, she remained in contention, demonstrating the importance of consistency across all three disciplines. Her calculated approach during the bike segment was crucial to her victory.

Megan McDonald's strong swim put her in a favorable position early on, but a less dominant bike and run saw her miss out on a podium spot. Kerri-Ann Upham's debut in the pro field was commendable. Her performance indicates a strong potential for In an exciting turn of events, Bonnie van Wilgenburg almost staged a comeback with impressive bike and run splits. Despite finishing 50 seconds behind Orchard, her late surge added an extra layer of thrill to the race.