Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee wins his Xterra debut
British star continues comeback to racing with impressive off-road winPhoto by: Xterra
We’ve always known he’s insanely talented, and after leading for much of the way at last weekend’s PTO European Tour event in Lanzarote, we knew he was getting into good shape. The end result was an impressive Xterra debut for Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee, who dominated the inaugural Xterra Weston Park event held in Staffordshire, England.
Brownlee has struggled over the last few years with a number of injuries, but proved that he’s rounding into good form again with a win over the challenging off-road event. Brownlee was an accomplished fell and cross country runner as a junior (he finished second at the national cross country championships one year), so he’s no stranger to off-road running. Adding a cross-country bike to the mix, though, was new for Brownlee.
Saturday’s race was the first Xterra event held in England since 2015 and included a 1.5 km swim, a 27 km mountain bike followed by an 11 km trail run.
Fastest swim and run legs
Brownlee was first out of the water (19:18) by over a minute over France’s Maxim Chane (20:27). The Frenchman had hoped for really tough conditions on the bike, but a sunny day wasn’t in his favour. While, he led the way off the bike, Brownlee was close enough into T2 to quickly take control of the race on the run.
“The conditions were good and the course had dried up a lot in the last few days,” added Brownlee. “I really enjoyed some of the fast single track through the wooded sections and the quarry on the run.”
Brownlee was in the lead by 3 km into the run and never looked back, taking the win in 2:04:27. Chane would hang tough for second in 2:05:13, with Great Britain’s Morgan Rhodes a distant third in 2:12:54.
Brownlee plans to focus on the PTO Tour events along with qualifying and racing at The Ironman World Championship in Nice, but hopes to add the Xterra World Championship to the mix, too.
“And if all goes well, I’d love to be in Molveno in September for the XTERRA World Championship,” he said.
Orchard takes the women’s race
New Zealand’s Lizzie Orchard took the women’s race in 2:36:06. The Kiwi trailed Great Britain’s Megan McDonald out of the water by almost three minutes. Orchard, a two-time podium finisher at the Xterra worlds, was in front by T2, though, and narrowly held off a charging Bonnie van Wilgenburg, who used the day’s fastest bike and run splits to finish 50 seconds behind. Kerri-Ann Upham rounded out the podium.
You can see full results here.