|Ruben Ruzafa from Spain and Fabiola Corona from Mexico won the inaugural XTERRA Kunming, mainland China off-road triathlon elite titles at OCT Yangzong Lake Resort on Sunday, September 22, 2019.
It’s the 35th career XTERRA World Tour win for Ruzafa, who won his first of three XTERRA World Championship races in 2008 as a 24-year-old, and for Corona - a remarkable third win in four weeks. She won XTERRA Dominican Republic on September 1, was third at the XTERRA Pan Am Championship in Utah on September 7, and won XTERRA Japan last Sunday.
In the men’s elite race, Ben Allen from Australia was first out of the water in 19:42, with Frenchmen Brice Daubord and Maxim Chane and Ruzafa just seconds behind. The strong swim for Ruzafa, who is known more for his mountain biking abilities than swim speed, was a strong sign of things to come.
“My race was really good,” said Ruzafa. “I wasn’t expecting this performance. The fast swimmers didn’t push too hard on the swim, so I was able to stay with them. On the bike, I tried to push and make some time and finally, I came to transition two minutes ahead of the rest. I know Daubord is a good runner, but being first I was not able to get splits, so I continued to push on the run. Crossing the line with a lead of more than four minutes was great. This was a good test for me and gave me confidence heading into the XTERRA World Championship in Maui next month.”
Ruzafa posted the fastest bike (1:21:04) and quickest run (37:02) to take the tape in 2:20:10, more than four minutes ahead of Daubord.
“I was scared about my mountain bike performance as I did only one week of training on it before coming here,” said Daubord, who races in the competitive French Grand Prix series. “I just wanted a third-place here today so I could win the Tour, so I am very happy to finish second behind Ruzafa. This year I had an incredible experience racing XTERRA in Taiwan, Tahiti, and here in China.”
Daubord finished third at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in March, won XTERRA Tahiti, and was second in Kunming to win the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour title. Chane placed second in the Tour, 40 points behind his fellow countryman, and third in the race three minutes behind Daubord.
“Today it was hard because of the altitude,” said Chane. “My swim and bike were good, and I came into the bike-to-run transition together with Daubord but on the run, my heart rate was really high, so I was not able to run like I wanted. Overall, it was a great race for me and I’m really happy to finish third today in these conditions. Now, it’s time to rest and get ready for Maui.”
Kieran McPherson from New Zealand, who won XTERRA Japan last weekend, finished in fourth and David Escolar from Spain finished fifth. The spirit award for the day goes to Ben Allen, who broke his derailleur and had a flat at 4km on the bike but continued the race pushing his bike for the next 26 kilometers and then finished the run. He placed last among elites in 13th place more than two hours after Ruzafa crossed the line, but showed true grit in carrying on.
Men's Elite Race Results
|Ruben Ruzafa, ESP
|Brice Daubord, FRA
|Maxim Chane, FRA
|Kieran McPherson, NZL
|David Escolar, ESP
|Petr Ondrej, CZE
|Pavel Jindra, CZE
|Alex Roberts, NZL
|Yuan Keng Hsu, TWN
|Yen-Ching Chiang, TWN
|Jacky Boisset, FRA
|Chung-Yi Lin, TWN
|Ben Allen, AUS