Tessa Kortekaas and Kristian Østergaard were the outright winners after four days of intense competition, positioning Lanzarote among the international sporting elite
From the 28th to the 31st of January, more than 400 cyclists took part in the 2023 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote, to cross the island in four stages that put the riders’ physical prowess to the test against the idyllic backdrop of a competition that forms part of the calendar of the International Cycling Union (ICU)
The first stage was the 44km route that started and finished at the Club La Santa facilities, the organiser of the event, which bore witness to the dizzying pace that would culminate with Tessa Kortekaas and Kristian Østergaard being crowned champions in the men’s and women’s categories, respectively.
The Dane fought back to take the win with just 14 seconds to spare after a great comeback to take the lead in a race that was until then led by Austria’s Karl Markt, followed by Spain’s Jacob Reyes, who took third place, just 21 seconds behind the gold medallist.
In the women’s category, the Dutch woman based in Lanzarote was the clear leader, crossing the finish line more than two minutes ahead of second-placed Amy Henchoz from Great Britain, while Manuela Muresan from Romania took bronze.
The second stage reached 57km and a drop of 967 meters that once again left a route full of expectation. This one also left from Club La Santa, heading towards Tinajo, to later meet the iconic Mountains of Fire and return to the La Santa sports facilities.
The leadership of the first day was repeated, with Kortekaas and Østergaard at the top of the podium. Which didn’t mean the race lacked excitement. And so it was that the gold again came at quite a price, with the Dane winning again with a very tight advantage over Martk and his Danish compatriot, Christian Kornum, who would manage to sneak into the provisional third position of the general classification.
On this broader circuit, Kortekaas demonstrated her power among the women, achieving first place just over six and a half minutes ahead of the rest of the occupants of a podium that was repeated again: Amy Henchoz (+06:34) and Manuela Muresan (+08:21).
The third day came with anxiety, the more so as it concerned a 21km time trial in which anything could happen and in which extraordinary landscapes were covered with a route that required them to climb, from Caleta de Famara, to the Ermita de las Nieves.
With this time trial and a new gold, the Dane settled in first place in the overall, with the Austrian Markt close behind him once again. This time the Spanish flair returned to the podium with the presence in third place of Jacob Reyes, enabling him to occupy the same place in the overall, overtaking Kornum, who could still fight to be among the first places as he was less than five minutes behind the leader.
Kortekaas, Henchoz and Muresan came back to take the women’s podium, so the overall classification was very much in the Dutch woman’s favour.
The 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote still had surprises to spring with its last stage and the 82km route, with 1700 metres of elevation gain, ten kilometres of which were in constant ascent.
A very demanding challenge awaited the riders to close the Lanzarote competition and the final winners were Tessa Kortekaas and Kristian Østergaard.
The Dane Østergaard again left a new comeback in the men’s category, leaving Karl Markt without options, as he struggled to make things difficult for the champion, remaining five seconds away from the gold of this stage.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Jacob Reyes finished in third place again, taking the bronze medal at the 2023 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote.
Kortekaas followed suit to take the title that he fought for from the first minute. Equally important was the hard fight on the back of the Dutch rider, with Muresan and Henchoz not giving up at any time, as a result of which the Romanian and the British rider took the silver and bronze, respectively.
Four days of hard work, great excitement and above all high expectations were thus brought to a close, bringing together athletes, fans and lovers of the sport at the 4 Stage MTB Race, once again finding the opportunity on the island to enjoy the sport in the best conditions possible with quality events that position Lanzarote among the international sporting elite.