Rui Dolores from Portugal and Eleonora Peroncini from Italy captured the sixth annual XTERRA Portugal off-road triathlon elite titles with winning times of 2:44:52 and 3:17:14, respectively, on June 1, 2019 in Golega.
For Dolores, it’s his second XTERRA World Tour victory of this season and his career, following his first big win in Malta last month. And for Peroncini, who won the ITU Cross Tri World Championship in Spain this April, it’s her first-ever win at an XTERRA major.
In the men’s race Portuguese elite Rafael Domingos and a pair of age group athletes, François Vie from France and Alejandro Villar from Spain, were first out of the two-loop, non-wetsuit swim in the famous Golega Pond. Tiago Maia, Peter Lehmann, and Dolores, the pre-race favorite, were about one-minute back.
At the halfway point on the mountain bike Dolores had ridden his way to the front of the race, with only Domingos for company as the pair pushed the pace on the technical rocky trails. Vie, the 17-year-old amateur, was in third more than two-minutes behind the leaders, with Richard Costa from Spain in fourth, followed 30-seconds later by Maia.
Dolores extended his lead during the second half of the bike and had a four-minute lead over Domingos at the bike-to-run transition. Five minutes later a group containing Lehmann, Maia, and a new age group race leader, Octavio Vincente, entered transition to contest the final places on the podium.
« Today was very special, » exclaimed Dolores. « It was such a hard race, especially with the heat on the bike, on the climbs I could barely breath. I just tried to manage my pace along with Domingos before getting the gap to start the run alone. I am happy with this victory at home. »
As the strongest runner in the race, Dolores could look forward to what was essentially a victory lap as he went unchallenged to win XTERRA Portugal 2019 and the National Portuguese Cross Triathlon Title. Domingos, who was racing in his first-ever XTERRA, held steady on the run to finish in second.
« I am not really good in this type of long races as I am racing on the ITU circuit, » said Domingos. « My swim was really good today and I was in the lead until half way of the bike. I tried to stay with Rui as much as possible but was out of power during the run. I am very happy with my second place here in Golega. »
The surprise of the day went to age group athlete Vincente, who was able to cope with the heat and outrun the two elites, Maia and Lehmann, to finish in third. Maia was fourth, and Spaniard Aleix Sierra Oliver passed Lehmann for fifth place.
« Golega is very close to my home and I trained very hard for this race, » said Vincente. « Everything went very well for me today in all disciplines. I was able to pass everybody in-front of me during the bike and the run and finish third overall. »
Elite Men’s Results
|1||Rui Dolores, PRT||2:44:52||75|
|2||Rafael Domingos, PRT||2:53:07||67|
|3||Tiago Maia, PRT||2:54:24||61|
|4||Aleix Sierra Oliver, ESP||3:00:48||56|
|5||Peter Lehmann, GER||3:05:22||51|
|6||Alejandro Salmeron, ESP||3:10:03||47|
|7||Ricard Costa, ESP||3:10:16||43|
|8||Rafael Gomes, PRT||3:10:57||39|
|9||Philip Reiner, AUT||3:12:14||36|
|10||Tomas Ruano, ESP||3:55:22||33|
In the women’s race Brigitta Poor was first out of the water, with Pauline Vie two-minutes back in second, 10-seconds later Peroncini in third, and Eva Garcia another 50-seconds back in fourth.
« I started the race feeling good and everything went well until the halfway point of the bike, » said Poor. « The heat played a big role in my performance, and during the run I just didn’t have the power to keep pushing hard. I am not 100% mentally ready to perform at the highest level. »
Poor held the lead during the first half of the bike, the flatter part of the loop, where she used her power to keep Peroncini at bay, and Vie was riding well in third but was losing time to a fast chasing Garcia.
At the halfway point on the bike, Peroncini made her move just before a tough single-track climb and took the lead from Poor. Five minutes later Vie was still in third, but Garcia was now only seconds behind.
Peroncini entered T2 with a 3:40 second lead over Garcia, who had ridden into second place, overtaking Poor and Vie during the closing part of the bike section. Poor was 30-seconds back from Garcia and Vie was in fourth 90-seconds later.
« This race was so beautiful, but so hard because of the weather conditions, » said Peroncini. « It was a good day for me, and I am really happy for my first XTERRA title. »
Despite her monumental mountain bike effort, the reigning ITU Cross Tri World Champ was even stronger on the run and extended her lead on Garcia, finishing nearly four-minutes ahead. Garcia, who was third last year on this course, also ran strong to solidify second place.
« I’m very happy to race well in such a hard race, and hard conditions, » said Garcia. « It was really hot during the bike and run, so I’m happy to finish, let alone on the podium! »
There was a surprise in the race for third place as Vie ran past Poor just before the finish to take third position. Racing in the professional category for 2019 has clearly motivated the young Portuguese athlete, finishing four minutes behind Eva compared to 35 minutes in 2018. Malvina Gomes would complete the podium in fifth.
« I’m very satisfied with my third place here. It’s my third time racing in Golega and this was the hottest, » exclaimed Vie. « The bike was hard, very dry, and slippery and I fell off at one point, but recovered with a good rhythm on the run and did my best to end up on the podium. »
Elite Women’s Results
|1||Eleonora Peroncini, ITA||3:17:14||75|
|2||Eva Garcia, ESP||3:21:00||67|
|3||Pauline Vie, PRT||3:25:15||61|
|4||Brigitta Poor, HUN||3:25:59||56|
|5||Malvina Gomes, PRT||4:17:44||51|