2013 XTERRA France

In a classic alpine setting in Gerárdmer, defending XTERRA European Tour champions Nico Lebrun of France and Helena Erbenova of the Czech Republic won this demanding race which features rugged climbs on the bike and run.

Lebrun, who announced he was retiring from a stellar pro career at the end of this season, became the fourth different man to win a European Tour event this season as Ruben Ruzafa won the opener in Spain, Ben Allen won in Greece and Victor Del Corral won in Switzerland. Lebrun, the 39-year-old 2005 XTERRA World Champion, was 2 minutes 30 seconds back of Ruzafa after an epic, rugged 2-hour bike split, but made it all back plus 18 seconds with a race-best 43:46 run.

Erbenova gave away 3 minutes to Marion Lorblanchet and 2:42 to Jacqui Slack on the swim, but put the hammer down with a 2:19:44 bike split that was 8:13 faster than Slack and 12:55 quicker than Lorblanchet. Erbenova closed out the race with a 50:59 run that was 5:40 quicker than Slack and 2:06 faster than Lorblanchet. Erbenova thus enjoyed an 11 minutes 12 secoinds cushion over runner-up Slack and 12:24 over 3rd-place finisher Lorblanchet.

All photographs © XTERRA

Jacqui Slack shares a kiss with boyfriend Ben Allen before the start.

Swim start melée.

Great Britain’s Jacqui Slack posted a second-fastest women’s bike split of 2:27:57.

Ruben Ruzafa rides around a bike crash on his way to a 2nd-best 1:57:43 bike split.

Helena Erbenova broke open won the women’s race with a dominating 2:19:44 bike split.

Nico Lebrun leads Francois Carloni over the Red Bull ramp.

Asa Shaw of Great Britain finished 5th.

Crowds cheer on the riders on one of the more accessible hills on the Gerárdmer bike course.

Marion Lorblanchet - aka Bubu - rode 2:32:39.

Victor Del Corral of Spain leads Ruben Ruzafa over the ramp, but at the finish Ruzafa was 2nd and Del Corral 4th.

Jacqui Slack of Great Britain ran a women’s 3rd-best 56:39.

Lorblanchet ran a women’s 2nd-fastest 53:05 but fell 1:12 short of catching Jacqui Slack.

Erbenova sealed her win with a women’s race-fastest 50:59 run through the beautiful and challenging forest trails of Gerárdmer.

Nico Lebrun’s race-fastest 43:46 run was just fast enough to pass Ruben Ruzafa and win by 18 seconds.

Hector Guerra of Spain ran a 5th-fastest 47:08 split to finish 3rd.

Ruben Ruzafa’s 3rd-fastest 46:24 run split brought him home in 2nd place.

The men’s podium L to R – Hector Guerra (3rd) Nico Lebrun (1st) Ruben Ruzafa (2nd).

The women’s podium L to R – Jacqui Slack (2nd) Helena Erbenova (1st) Marion Lorblanchet (3rd).