Coddens, Karaskova wins XTERRA Denmark

Monday 17 June 2019
Kris Coddens from Belgium and Helena Karaskova from the Czech Republic captured the sixth annual XTERRA Denmark off-road triathlon elite tittles on a beautiful day in Aarhus on Sunday June 16, 2019.

It’s the third XTERRA World Tour win for Coddens, who won his first at XTERRA Greece in 2015 and his second in Denmark the same year. For multiple XTERRA Winner Karaskova, this was the first victory in 2019 after finishing second in Greece and Lake Garda already this year.

It was a beautiful day here in Aarhus and the amazing forest around Moesgaard Beach for a competition that combined a two-loop swim of a total of 1.5- kilometer open water swim, a 30-kilometer mountain bike through amazing green forest trails and finished with a 10-kilometer trail run.

The event was the seventh of 14 stops on the XTERRA European Tour, attracting more than 40 elites from a dozen countries as well as the best amateur XTERRA triathletes from around Europe.

In the men’s elite race, local favourite, Ole Hemme Hansen was first out of the water with Germany’s Peter Lehmann 10 seconds back and Euro Tour leader Rui Dolores from Portugal another 15 seconds behind.

Around two minutes and 10 seconds later, Belgian Kris Coddens and Frenchman Corentin Duclos would enter transition.

The first 10km of the mountain bike included the most technical sections, Rui Dolores was pushing hard and was already in the lead with Lehmann dropping to second, 60 seconds off the pace. The strong Danish mountain biker Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen was the big mover, after a slow swim he had already moved to third place and was working with Coddens to close the gap.

Lehmann and Coddens were first into the bike-to-run transition, with Nielsen just 10 seconds behind them. Dolores had a flat during the bike and then made a wrong turn losing more than two minutes to occupy fourth place starting the run. Duclos would arrive in fifth place four minutes behind the leaders.

There was a great battle between the first duo for the victory today as Lehmann and Coddens ran shoulder to shoulder for the first lap. The Belgium dug deep and opened a gap on the second loop and took the tape in 2:11:04.

“I am so happy I took the win here. I was not expecting it at all,” said Coddens. “I was having some health issues recently and was not sure how I will perform. I must thank Jens for his performance on the bike, he pushed me hard to follow him which allowed us to catch up to the lead. After the flat and missed turn of Dolores it was just me and Lehmann. We had a great fight and we were pushing each other the whole way, but I was faster on the sandy part of the run which gave me those extra seconds to cross the finish line first! It was a hard day, but I’m very happy.”

Lehmann had the second fastest run of the day and finished second just 10 seconds behind Coddens

“I had a pretty good day,” said Lehmann. “I tried to follow Rui but it was difficult. I followed my pace on the bike and stayed with the other guys. The run was pretty hard Kris was stronger than me especially in the sand but finally I am happy with my second place”

Local favourite Nielsen who's just in his first season of XTERRA racing finished third.

“It’s nice to be the first Danish elite on the podium,” said Nielsen. “I worked hard to improve my swim. This is a home race and I love this bike course. I worked well with Kris on the bike. I had some issues on the run with my stomach but overall it was a great race for me.”

Dolores pushed hard on the first half of the run but would ease the pace and enjoy the trails when he realised that it was not possible to close the gap. A good performance from Duclos would round out the podium.

Elite Men
1 Kris Coddens, BEL 2:11:04
2 Peter Lehmann, GER 2:11:07
3 Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DNK 2:11:46
4 Rui Dolores, PRT 2:15:17
5 Corentin Duclos, FRA 2:17:04

In the women’s elite race Heidi Thranum swam with the front group of men and was second overall out of the water to take a big lead into the first transition, but when the multi-time XTERRA winner Helena Karaskova got her feet on the ground nothing could stop her today. Making up over a four minute deficit after the swim she was already in the lead by the 10km point of the bike. Austria’s Carina Wasle trailed 60 seconds behind, with an improving Anna Tomica from Poland three minutes back from the lead. Portuguese youngster Paulie Vie was fourth, with Thranum dropping into fifth place.

“I tried to survive in the water as my swim was not good,” said Karaskova. “On the bike I wasn’t feeling great but when once I was in the lead, I just had to keep pushing all day, I had no information on how big the gap was, so I just had to keep going! I ran scared! I’m very happy with my victory today, even with the small field there was some good quality athletes who I’m happy to have beaten.”

Karaskova exited transition to start the run, she was four minutes ahead of Wasle and only 12 minutes behind the male leaders. Tomica was still in third place with strong mountain biker Spangsberg riding through the field in fourth and Vie in fifth.

Unchallenged throughout, Karaskova took her first victory of the season with Wasle taking second place.

“I knew before the race that it was difficult to win today as Helena is very strong athlete,” said Wasle “I am not in a great shape right now but I tried to run as fast as I can after T2 but she is also a great runner! I am happy with my second place. Congratulations to Helena she really deserved the win here today”
The surprise of the day was Vie who pushed hard to run herself into third place leaving Spangsberg finishing fourth and Tomica in fifth place.

“I am very happy with my race,” said Vie. “The swim was great for me and on the bike, I was feeling good although I was riding alone most of the part. The run course was very beautiful, and I was feeling powerful on my legs. I pushed little harder and was able to pass Tomica and Spangsberg to finish third”

Elite Women
1 Helena Karaskova-Erbenova, CZE 2:29:12
2 Carina Wasle, AUT 2:33:17
3 Pauline Vie, PRT 2:39:03
4 Janni Spangsberg, BNK 2:42:36
5 Anna Tomica, POL 2:43:19
XTERRA Triathlon (Photo: Christian Jorn)


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