XTERRA Portugal May 27th
The XTERRA European Tour continues next Saturday, 27th of May, at the unique city of Golega in Portugal.
It’s the fifth of 15 stops on this year’s tour and Jaime Rosa, the race organizer and his crew, promise to provide another great experience to the athletes of the XTERRA Tribe.
Golega is the town known as the ‘Capital of Horses’ located at the top of the Ribatejo and is home to many of the famous Lusitano Breeders. Every November and for ten days, it holds a festival dedicated to the worship of the Lusitano horse. This is one of the country’s most typical fairs, attracting thousands of people .
Lot’s of people and great athletes from all over the world, will also be there for the XTERRA Portugal and this looks like it will be epic again!
For the fourth time in our 2017 season, we will see two girls fighting for the victory!
Again, it will be Helena vs Brigitta! The score is already 2-1 and we are looking forward to another battle between them in Golega.
When the two met up previously, Brigitta won XTERRA Malta and Helena Erbenova won XTERRA Spain and XTERRA Greece. Brigitta Poor took also the win at XTERRA Cyprus, but Helena was not racing there.
Helena was very strong in the last two races and Brigitta thought of not coming to Portugal, staying home, putting on some mile,s and getting back in shape. But at the same time, she knows that in Spain she was leading, feeling great and if she didn’t have a crash that changed everything, she might have won the race.
On the other hand, Helena is a real Warrior. She gives everything she has in every race and fights from the start till the end. In Portugal things might be little different for her. As this race might be a non-wetsuit swim, Brigitta will be faster and Helena will need to push harder to come back behind her during the bike. Additionally, the run in Portugal is flat and suited better to the Hungarian. So although the prognostics are for Helena this will be a chess game that nobody can predict the next move.
Two other girls will be the outsiders in this race. This will be Ladina Buss’s first race of the season. Carina Wasle, who is returning to Europe after three wins in Asia this winter, will also be racing XTERRA Portugal.
Ladina, was a surprise last year and was very strong in Greece, so we should keep an eye on her. Carina is more skilled and in better shape than the others. Additionally, she knows the course and was fourth last year just 3 minutes behind Brigitta.
Additionally, we will have Louise Fox and Maud Golsteyn. Maud was faster on the last race they had in Malta, but last year in Portugal, Louise was 13 minutes ahead of Maud, so it’s a toss-up as to who will be close to the leaders.
It’s always good to see local athletes racing in their own country. Sheila Marques is one of them. She may know every corner of the course, have the crowd with her, and might surprise us all.
On the men’s side, who will be the guy to beat Ruben? Roger Serrano will be drinking beer with Ian Pyott in Switzerland as the first man at Ian’s wedding, so he won’t be a contender.
Yeray Luxem may be a contender. He loves Portugal and Jaime, the race organizer and his family, have strong relations with Yeray. He won XTERRA Cyprus earlier this year and looks stronger than ever, so this might be his day.
The second guy to keep an eye on is François Carloni. Carloni had some great moments here in the past and was able to follow Ruben for all the bike part and the beginning of the run. Not many can keep up for Ruben for that long. Carloni is coming from a third place finish at the French Championship, so maybe in Golega he might have a chance to be on the podium.
If we check back on the performance of some athletes back in Greece where we had a very strong field, Xavier Daflon stands out. In his first race as a pro, he came sixth in front of Carloni. Daflon is the amateur World Champion for 2016, he has a mountain bike background, and this mountain bike loop suites him well.
We should not forget the strong Portuguese field that is becoming stronger and stronger every year. Riou Dolores did an amazing job in Greece and Spain and finished in the top ten in both of those races. Portugal is his home turf, and I am sure that he is dreaming of finishing in the top five. Additionally, Tiago Maia and Octavio Vincente will be on fire as both have two XTERRA’s already on their legs.
There are another few guys to watch:
Matia De Paoli, was top 5 last year in Switzerland at the ETU Euro Champs and can be powerful.
Hannes Wolbert raced a lot this year and will also fight for some extra points. It’s always good to see those young athletes racing a lot to learn and get better and better.
Oivind Bjerkseth from Norway, was second in XTERRA Cyprus and has a good position in the Euro tour ranking. However, he will for sure struggle in a non-wetsuit swim. With 36k on the bike, he will have the time to come back, but maybe not in the top five.
Dominik Wychera is also following XTERRA regularly, will be certainly in the top 10 and for sure will come up with a nice video about his race.
in Golega we will also have some solid and constant AG XTERRA Athletes, One of them will be on his 5th race out of 5 so far. This is Christophe “the Frenchman”Maury, who is leading the 45/49. Another athlete to mention is Didier Bucheler leader of the 50/54 category, who has done already 4 out of 4 races, but will miss Portugal. They are not always the best in their AG, but they love our sport, they love to travel and they know the value of wearing a European champion jersey.
We will be happy to see Chloe Carloni, our 25/29 AG 2016 Champion, starting the season in Portugal to defend her jersey.
Nicolas Durin is maybe the best AG we know, stronger than many pros and might be again the best amateur in Golega.
Armand Survilo from Poland already raced in Spain, got second in his AG and will also grab more points to defend his 2016 jersey.
In the 55/59 category, Maxim Danon was in the top 10 overall in Malta and will be for sure one of the best amateurs. Finally, we will keep an eye on the Portuguese, Rui Galinha, who was the first amateur overall last year.
Jaime, his family and his team are putting a lot of hard work in Golega, and they create an amazing race each year.
Some of the unique points of this race are the wooden sticks for the bikes in transition and the painted stones for the marking of the bike loop.
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