Asa Shaw and Helena Erbanova won the XTERRA France Championship under muddy conditions in Xonrupt, France on Sunday, July 8.
For both, it’s their first-ever XTERRA championship, and it came on perhaps the longest and toughest course on the World Tour.
While Shaw (pictured above) is no stranger to XTERRA, having raced in Maui (14th in 2010) and Europe for years, today he had a breakthrough performance. The Englishman who lives in France put together the third-best swim (behind only Aussie Ben Allen and his brother Karl), the fastest bike, a 2:15:06 split that was a minute-30 better than eventual runner-up Alexander Haas, and the second-best run for a combined winning time of 3:17:04 – more than three minutes ahead of Haas.
Haas, the overall amateur XTERRA World Champ last year, is proving the transition to racing as a pro was the correct decision. His runner-up in France follows a third-place showing at the season-opener in Italy.
“I was running scared and thought I could hear Nico (Lebrun) behind me the whole way,” laughed Haas after the race.
Lebrun was indeed behind him, and posted the fastest run of the day to pull within just 24 seconds at the finish line for third place.
Cedric Lassonde, a Frenchman living in England, posted his best XTERRA European Tour result of his career in 4th, and Llewellyn Holmes rounded out the top five.
“I took quite a few tumbles on the bike to remind me the taste of the Vosgian mud. Love it. To celebrate I’ve missed the podium, missed my plane and will now spend the night at a Formula 1 Hotel. How glamour is that…” posted Lassonde, a famous DJ by trade, to his Facebook status.
Also of note, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champion Olivier Marceau broke a chain and did not finish, and Francois Carloni finished in sixth for the second straight race.
XTERRA FRANCE TOP 10 MEN
1 Asa Shaw GBR 3:17:04
2 Alexander Haas GER 3:20:15
3 Nicolas Lebrun FRA 3:20:39
4 Cedric Lassonde FRA 3:24:11
5 Llewellyn Holmes GBR 3:26:20
6 Francois Carloni FRA 3:28:26
7 Jim Thijs BEL 3:30:33
8 Benoit Augueux FRA 3:31:05
9 Ben Allen AUS 3:31:43
10 Graham Wadsworth GBR 3:31:52
ERBANOVA WINS FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP
In her rookie season of 2011 Helena Erbanova placed 5th in the XTERRA European Tour and an impressive 3rd at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui.
This year the former Olympic cross country skier from the Czech Republic finished 2nd at XTERRA Italy and won her first XTERRA title in France. Six races, six straight top 5 finishes.
Four-time XTERRA European Tour Champ Renata Bucher got within one minute of Erbanova heading out on the run but could not keep up, ultimately finishing nearly seven minutes back in 2nd place.
XTERRA Italy champ Jacqui Slack had the fastest swim and a strong all-around performance to finish in third, followed by Carina Wasle and Carla Van Huyssteen.
XTERRA FRANCE TOP 10 WOMEN
1 Helena Erbenová CZE 3:50:01
2 Renata Bucher SUI 3:56:54
3 Jacqui Slack GBR 4:00:34
4 Carina Wasle AUT 4:02:52
5 Carla Van Huyssteen RSA 4:04:03
6 Laura Philipp GER 4:05:06
7 Maud Golsteyn NED 4:07:24
8 Brigitta Poòr HUN 4:15:22
9 Coralie Redelsperger FRA 4:26:25
10 Daz Parker GBR 4:42:54
Next on the XTERRA World Tour: The XTERRA France Championship was the eighth XTERRA World Tour Championship and second XTERRA European Tour race of the season offering pro prize money and quaifying spots to amateurs into the XTERRA World Championship. Next up XTERRA Mexico and XTERRA Czech, both on August 4.
Aug 4 – XTERRA Czech Championship*, Prachatice, South Bohemia
Aug 4 – XTERRA Mexico Championship, Tapalpa, Jalisco
Aug 11 – XTERRA Germany Championship*, Zittau
Aug 25 – XTERRA Japan Championship, Marunuma
Sept 2 – XTERRA Canada Championship, Canmore, A.B.
Sept 8 – XTERRA Switzerland*, Prangins
Sept 16 – XTERRA Venezuela, Villa Caribe
Sept 22 – XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
Oct 28 – XTERRA World Championship, Maui