Golega, Portugal –  Three-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa of Spain and three-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Helena Erbenova of the Czech Republic were made hard to sweat it out in an intense battle before they both won the coveted titles at XTERRA Portugal.

It was the third of 11 races on this year’s XTERRA European Tour on a good day in Portugal, with mild temperature, clouds and some breeze made it perfect for the competitors.

Three-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa captured the Xterra Portugal title. (XterraPlanet.com)

Three-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa captured the Xterra Portugal title. (XterraPlanet.com)

Close fight for Ruben Ruzafa

Ruben Ruzafa is back to his dominating ways.  He made a power move on Francois Carloni on a steep uphill, passed into first and never looked back.

In the highly competitive men’s race Ruzafa took the tape in 2:34:11, more than 1:20 ahead of Belgium star Yeray Luxem, with the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champ Roger Serrano in third.

“Carloni and Serrano were shadowed by Belgium Yeray Luxem until Luxem had a problem on a downhill,” explained XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas.

“He rode very hard to get back to the Franco-Spanish duo but headed on the run in 4th.  Carloni and Serrano ran together for the first 6K and then Roger pulled away. Luxem caught Francois about 4k from the finish and passed Serrano when the Spaniard leapt over a fallen tree and immediately cramped.”

Three-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Helena Erbenova didn't let the Xterra Portugal out of her sight. (XterraPlanet.com)

Three-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Helena Erbenova didn’t let the Xterra Portugal out of her sight. (XterraPlanet.com)

Neck and neck fight for Helena Erbenova

For the women, Helena had a good swim and worked with Myriam Guillot-Boisset to catch leaders Brigitta Poor and Renata Bucher. Renata, Myriam and Helena stayed together passing and repassing until the end when Helena was able to break away followed by Myriam.”

Helena clinched the title with a mere 47 seconds ahead of Myriam with Brigitta dropping down to third a few minutes behind.

Roger Serrano and Briggita Poor lead Xterra European Tour

Roger Serrano is still the top ranked athlete in the XTERRA European Tour following two wins and a third-place showing in Portugal.  Brigitta Poor is tops amongst women having finished first, second, and third in the first three races this year.  Next up is the inaugural XTERRA Belgium off-road triathlon on June 11.

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