This Sunday it was time for the big final. Rebild National Park offered some spectacular courses and terrain for the XTERRA Duathlon Rebild European Championship 2018. It was both an European Championship and the final of the XTERRA Duathlon Series.
Some serious contenders had found their way to Rebild and the field looked deeper than in any other race in the XTERRA Duathlon Series, that has consisted of 5 races every 2nd weekend from the end of February until today, on April 22.
JANNI SPANGSBERG (DEN) WITH YET ANOTHER WIN – THIS TIME AS EUROPEAN CHAMPION
The big favourite in today’s race on the women’s side was Janni Spangsberg from Denmark. And she lived up to that role. She had three strong legs – first through the 5 km run, then building her lead on the bike, and yet again a strong finish so that she could cross the line first. Janni has won several XTERRA races in Denmark. Now she can add the title as XTERRA Duathlon European Champion to her collection. On second was place Emma Lyngholm, also from Denmark, and strong contender Carol Rasmussen from Denmark.
With three victories in the XTERRA Duathlon Series, Spangsberg also took the win in the overall series. Rasmussen came second two 1st places and one 2nd place.
JENS EMIL SLOTH NIELSEN (DEN) TOOK HOME THE TITLE AS EUROPEAN CHAMPION
When it’s XTERRA time, nothing can be predicted. However, we had predicted some favourites. Both it moved around a lot in the top 3. Strongest man on the first run was the Norwegian Øivind Bjerkseth. But shortly after came strong MTBer Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, who was the Danish favourite. Right after Sloth Nielsen, a strong internationale name mounted his bike. It was Kris Coddens from Belgium.
Øivind kept the lead but unfortunately had a flat tire. He kept going however with his tubeless setup but it was hard. Sloth Nielsen and Coddens were less than 30 sec. after Øivind. They worked well together and shared the front position in the wind. Eventually Sloth Nielsen used his strong MTB skills, rode away from Coddens and watched Bjerkseth on the last long hill before transition T2. They all knew that they couldn’t sit up for too long, because Chris Fischer from Denmark was in fourth position, followed by some more strong MTB riders.
Sloth Nielsen entered transition just 8 sec. in front of Bjerkseth. However, Bjerkseth looked to be struggling with some cramps in transition. Sloth Nielsen started the second run first but with his eyes looking over his shoulder. He knew Bjerkseth had the fastest run on the first run, so nothing was safe. Bjerkseth couldn’t close the gap and Sloth Nielsen managed to keep the lead and run further away from Bjerkseth.
Sloth Nielsen crossed the finish line and claimed his first ever international title in XTERRA. Something he couldn’t really believe he said when coming across the finish line. Bjerkseth came 2nd and Coddens managed to take the last spot on the podium and a bronze medal. Fischer held on strong and came fourth in a strong field, remarkably in his first ever offroad event. Afterwards he said that it was fun to try something new and he definitely took away a lot preparing for XTERRA Aarhus and eventually Cross Triathlon World Championship here in Denmark in July.
CHARLOTTE LONGHI WON THE SHORT DUATHLON
Besides the distance for the European Championship there was a Short Duathlon, which is a new distance this year. It was thought as being a distance for beginners but the competition has become very strong in fact. Several podium getters from the last races were in Rebild to fight for it. One of them was the strong Danish athlete Heidi Thranum who is one of the best short distance triathletes in Denmark. She came 3rd on Maui at the XTERRA World Championship in 2017. And even though her favourite discipline wasn’t here, she had still found her way to the startline. Thranum ran fastest on the first run but Charlotte Longhi was 39 sec. after.
Longhi passed Thranum on the 15 MTB and was the first woman out onto the last 2,5 km run where she kept the lead until the finish line. Thranum reached the finish line and captured yet another podium. On 3rd place was Sidsel Møller Hvas, a clubmate of Thranum in Aalborg Triathlon Klub. Another athlete from Aalborg Triathlon Klub came 4th. It was the winner from XTERRA Duathlon Gribskov, Jannie Blicher Jakobsen.
Even without her favourite discipline the swim, Thranum can now call herself the winner of the XTERRA Duathlon Series on the short distance. Jakobsen took 2nd in the overall series.
CARSTEN STRASZEK WITH HIS FOURTH WIN IN THE SERIES ON SHORT DUATHLON
A man that has been unbeatable and set the level on Short Duathlon on the men’s side is Carsten Straszek. Being a former elite duathlete Straszek knows how to get the job done. And he has showed this season that he can still be a contender. Carsten has won three races before this race in Rebild so he was a clear favourite. Though the competition could be a bit better on the final of the XTERRA Duathlon Series.
But nothing could stop Carsten. With a lead on 1:03 min. after the first run, Carsten did what he usually does. Run away from the rest and never look back. The lead was increased by a minute on the 15 km MTB and with even more when he came across the finish line as the winner, 2:38 min. ahead of 2nd place Jens Trærup Nielsen. Andreas Tange took 3rd place and rounded off the podium.
THANK YOU FOR A GREAT DAY AND SEE YOU SOON AGAIN IN JUNE
The XTERRA Duathlon Rebild European Championship was a success in many ways. The field was deep, the competition and racing was at a high level, the courses were challenging, the sun was out and the spectators cheered all the XTERRA Warriors over the hills and across the finish line.
Now the XTERRA Duathlon Series is over and we look forward to the next event, XTERRA Aarhus on June 9-10, which is the 2nd largest XTERRA event in the world. You can still save your spot but not for long – the last spots are soon sold out.
Watch results from the day here.
PICTURES AND VIDEO
Look back upon a fantastic day in the beautiful Rebild National Park and enjoy some specially selected pictures here from Christian Jørn and pictures of the athletes here from Lasse Hyllehøj.
Additionally, you can already get that special chill when watching video from the event. Watch a shorter teaser from the day here made by our videographer Christian Jørn.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS AND PARTNERS
And lastly, a big thanks to all of our sponsors and partners that make it possible to make our events awesome for all of you XTERRA Warriors. Read more about our sponsors and partners here.