September 11, 2010 (Prangins, Switzerland) - Olivier Marceau and Marion Lorblanchet won the XTERRA Switzerland Championship in Prangins yesterday.
What a fantastic ending to the 2010 European season. The race in Switzerland had everything an XTERRA addict could want. The weather was perfect, the organization fabulous and the racing fast and furious. The day was a long one with XTERRA light starting at 9am, about 100 kids in two separate races starting at noon and the BIG ONE kicking off at 2pm.
Aussie Ben Allen, making his first XTERRA appearance, led Olivier Marceau out of the two lap swim with about 280 of their best friends following. Olivier quickly got the lead on the first 17K lap, but Allen was hanging tough. Franky Batelier was his usual powerful self and pulled his way up to second before suffering a race ending flat tire. He was philosophic about his bad luck and cheered his fellow competitors on the entire race. Young Belgique Yeray Luxem is the story of the race with a personal best 2nd overall just 2 minutes behind Marceau. At 24 years of age he just keeps getting quicker and quicker. We could see the potential earlier in the year with a 4th in Portugal and top 10’s in Italy and France.
The race for third was as tight as one could ask. Ian Leitch came out of the water about 3 minutes back from the leaders in 38th place. He rode like a demon posting the fastest bike and came into T2 in 7th. This Brit can run. At the end of the first 5K lap he had pulled himself up to 3rd place about one meter in front of Ronny Dietz. Ronny has had bad luck this season and it was great to see this German Champion having a trouble free race. At the start of the second run lap Ronny passed back in front of Leitch but the Englishman would not give up or give in. They stayed together the entire lap, but Ian’s efforts on the bike and the first run lap finally caught up to him and he had to settle in 30 seconds behind Ronny for a fabulous 4th overall but with the fastest bike and run times.
On the women’s side it was a magnificent day for Marion (call me Bubu) Lorblanchet. Always among the fastest swimmers Bubu put 4 minutes on Championship leader and Swiss Miss Renata Bucher. Renata has been riding like a demon all season and passed Bubu on the second bike lap to lead out on the run by over one minute. “She went past me so fast, I could not keep up with her” smiled Bubu. “But I knew I was not so far behind and had a chance”. A fabulous fastest women’s run caught Renata on the second lap and the French woman was able to get in front and keep the lead. Emma Ruth Smith repeated her 3rd place Czech finish and will be a force come next season.
What a great experience. The day was so clear that the fantastic Mont Blanc smiled down with her snowy white peaks and the 400’ high Jet d’Eau was easily seen some 25K away in Geneva. Crowds lined the roads and trails and the Surprise 100m from the finish provided laughs and fun the entire day. What was it? The organizers placed three 4’ high round hay bales across the run path so that every finisher had to vault over them. Needless to say there were 300 answers to the solution, some like Olympians and some like, well a bit less glamorous.
For next season we will see the return of XTERRA Austria along with all the races from this season. Three of our races this season sold out, so make your plans early and come see some fantastic places and even better races.
On to the US champs in two weeks and then the Granddaddy of them all – Maui.
Click here for the complete results.