Sloth Nielsen and Riou win Xterra Malta

Morgane Riou wins Xterra Malta. Photo: Xterra

Denmark’s Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen took his first Xterra win, while France’s Morgane Riou took her eighth with big wins at Xterra Malta today. The event was the final race in the Xterra European Tour.

The men and women elites started at the same time and it was the Czech Republic’s Aneta Grabmullerova who led Sloth Nielsen out of the water. France’s Gaetan Vivien was on Sloth Nielsen’s feet out of the water, but a cracked rim would sideline the Frenchman early in the bike and put him out of contention. Sloth Nielsen would control the race from there on, leading Belgium’s Sebastien Carabin off the bike by a couple of minutes, and maintaining that lead to the finish line. Another Belgian, Geert Lauryssen was third off the bike and third across the line, too.

“This is my first Xterra Europe win and I am happy to do it here, the XTERRA Malta guys did a really good job, and the volunteers were great and cheering so it was a really fun day,” Sloth Nielsen said after his impressive win.

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Sebastien Carabin, Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen and Geert Lauryssen. Photo: Xterra
1Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DENELITE21:281:18:3643:352:25:26
2Sebastien Carabin, BELELITE24:281:16:4644:402:27:40
3Geert Lauryssen, BELELITE22:211:21:3748:332:34:01
4Jonathan Marguerite, FRAM35-3925:141:25:2046:442:39:15
5Joep Staps, NEDELITE23:121:26:3551:422:42:46

Riou runs to the win

After leading out of the water, Grabmullerova got a flat tire and would have to pull out of the race. France’s Solenne Billouin moved to the front with Riou close behind. Austria’s Carina Wasle would eventually move to third. On the run, though, Riou moved to the lead and would never look back as she cruised to her second-straight Xterra win. Wasle also passed Billouin, but would eventually succumb to the heat and have to stop. That allowed The Netherlands’ Maud Golsteyn to run her way to the final spot on the podium.

“I am happy to win again here in Malta, but it was a hard race psychologically as I had a bike issue yesterday and had to borrow a back wheel,” Riou said. “It was quite difficult at the beginning, but I just tried to keep control and keep the pace. I arrive with Solenne for the run, and I knew I could run well but it is hard to run fast on this course. I am very happy to win.”

1Morgane Riou, FRAELITE24:281:33:2151:362:51:04
2Solenne Billouin, FRAELITE23:071:34:4557:542:57:14
3Maud Golsteyn, NEDELITE26:531:43:311:02:353:15:10
4Lara Buttigieg, MLTELITE25:491:51:141:05:123:24:35
5Barbara Alber, GERF55-5925:361:52:251:04:343:27:02