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Jacqui Slack wins Euro Cross Triathlon Silver
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Monday 27th June 2016


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Jacqui Slack wins ETU Cross Triathlon European Championship Silver at XTERRA Switzerland

Jacqui Slack has been one of the the leading lights of British XTERRA and Cross Triathlon racing in recent years, carrying on the mantle from the likes of Julie Dibens and Sam Gardner, regularly travelling all over the world to compete in what seems like a 12 months of the year racing schedule.

Cross Triathlon truly lived up to its 'muddy' reputation at XTERRA Switzerland on Saturday, a race which combined the 2016 ETU Cross Triathlon European Championships and saw Jacqui add a Silver medal to her extensive collection of international XTERRA podium finishes. It was a very hard earned medal - not only were the conditions exceptionally tough, but the competition was too, with 2nd/3rd/4th all finishing within four seconds after more than three hours of racing.

ETU Cross Triathlon European Championships / XTERRA Switzerland - Saturday 25th June 2016
1.5km / 36km / 10km 

WOMEN
1st - Michelle Flipo (FRA) - 3:18:40
2nd - Jacqui Slack (GBR) - 3:21:16
3rd - Myriam Guillot-Boisser (FRA) - 3:21:20
10th - Louise Fox (GBR) - 3:32:22
12th - Jessica Roberts (GBR) - 3:34:47

MEN
1st - Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) - 2:47:58
2nd - Kris Coddens (BEL) - 2:49:18
3rd - Brice Daubord (FRA) - 2:49:28
18th * - Henry Sleight (GBR) - 2:58:27

(* position overall - final positions in ETU Champs TBC)

The following report is published in full, courtesy of and with thinks to, XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas


Ruben Ruzafa and Michelle Flipo captured the XTERRA Switzerland / ETU European Cross Triathlon Championship under extreme weather conditions in the Vallee de Joux on Saturday afternoon.

The win is Ruzafa’s second straight on the European Tour this year and his 21st XTERRA major victory in 26 races since winning Worlds as a rookie in 2008. For Flipo, the win is her first on the XTERRA World Tour.

XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas was on-site to take in the action and brings us this…

What a mess! The day started with some sun and a breeze after a monster storm Friday eve. “I think we’ll be good, maybe some little rain” said Thomas Vasser, head of the Sports Center of the Vallee de Joux. Nine minutes into the swim it started to rain, by 15 minutes it was steady and by 25 minutes it was a downpour. Let The Mudfest Begin!

The swim was divided in three waves; pro men, pro women and then all age groupers.

“I never saw anything like it” marveled Spain’s Roger Serrano. “It was a war. These guys went crazy.”

German Jens Roth led big out of the water and took a nice lead early. By 1K Ben Allen, Sam Osborne and Brice Daubord were nose to tail chasing Jens. By 5K, 3-time World Champ Ruben Ruzafa was already up into 3rd having passed Roth in a full slide down a muddy slope and in another 2K had taken the lead.

“This condition today is good for me” he smiled. “I like technical and today with the mud and steep places – I was very fast on the downhills.”

Ruben Ruzafa

Fast? How about nearly four-minutes faster than the second best bike time.

The women’s swim was no surprise as ITU and former XTERRA racer from Mexico now living in France, Michelle Flipo took first out of the water. Brit Jacqui Slack caught her by the 4K mark and started to ride away.

“I really like XTERRA but my technical bike skills are not as good as I would like,” Michelle said shortly after the finish. “I could keep up on the flats and uphills but lost time on the downhills and technical sections.”

I had to smile while interviewing her as she is a lovely woman, tall with blonde hair, but was totally covered in mud and one could only see her eyes and smile. Jacqui Slack put in a great ride in the lead, but 33-time XTERRA winner Renata “the Swiss Miss” Bucher was the Mistress of the Mud today. She was almost three minutes faster than Jacqui and came into T2 with the lead. Another Swiss, Ladina Buss was 3rd and Flipo 4th. Our winner put in the fastest run of the day and picked off Buss, then Slack and finally Renata to take the lead and come home with a 2.5-minute lead.

Michelle Flipo

The back story was Myriam Guillot-Boisett. Her run was only a handful of seconds slower than Flipo’s and she passed Ladina and Renata to take a hard fought 3rd. Second-place to fourth-place was separated by less than four seconds, a fantastic finish.

Back with the men, poor Sam Osborne took a wicked fall on lap two about 100m from me and nearly took Brice Daubord with him. I’m not sure how Brice got around the Kiwi but this put him solidly in 2nd. Sam never really recovered. “I hit really hard and it knocked me pretty good” he said after the event.

Our fast swimmer Jens Roth was 4th, Ben Allen 5th and Veit Honle 6th. XTERRA Belgium winner Kris Coddens was coming fast but was still back around 9th. Allen did not look happy and yelled “I HATE MUD” every time he went past. The men were really fighting on the bike. A bunch were scrapping hard on the 2nd lap.

“I knew I could not run because I had a muscle tear” said Roger Serrano, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champion. “These guys were going so hard I ask how will they run? Maybe I should go.”

Passing up and down the hills, slipping and sliding on the ever-worsening mud they came into T2 as a bunch with Roger, Veit Holne, Sam Osborne, Brice Daubord, Italian Mattia De Paoli and Kris Coddens all mixed together and now four minutes behind Ruzafa.

Serrano stopped, Sam was still stunned by his fall and dropped back. Brice was a good second with Veit 3rd but Coddens was charging, caught them on the 1st lap and started chasing after Ruben. At the end of the first lap officials stopped Kris in the penalty booth for a 15-second helmet infraction at T2. This dropped him back to 4th but about the 2K mark the speedy Belgian was past Daubord and settled in for a great 2nd place finish just over a minute behind Ruben.

Today the mud was worse than Belgium two weeks ago, but the finish line was full of smiles as racers washed themselves off in the fresh water stream coming down from the mountains.

“Nobody was going to catch Ruben today,” said Ben Allen as he chatted with Brad Weiss at the awards. “All those years as a pro mountain biker just makes him unbelievable in conditions like this.”

Our women’s winner was also all smiles and like a champ should say – she told me “I’m going to Maui.”


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