Sören Nissen celebrated a good start into the season at the Samarathon Desert stage race in Israel. Together with this partner Cory Wallace, current 24-hour world champion and multiple Canadian Marathon Champion, the Luxembourgian marathon and cross-country champion won the S2-categorized race over three stages plus prologue on STEVENS Sonora.
On the first day of racing the two played it safe and finished second only 90 seconds behind the winners. The first regular stage went over tough 90 km and was very windy. “The wind was blowing really crazy in the desert”, said Nissen and continued: “on one of the short but steep climbs in the middle of the race we managed to break-away from the other teams.” The two subsequently worked well together to win the stage by a margin of almost four minutes.
On the third day, the Canadian-Luxembourgian duo played its cards really well, in the deep desert sand they made fewer mistakes than their competition – they made the best of a little gap that opened up during the course of the race, “to get those old Diesels running” and reach the finish with an advantage of nearly five minutes.
On the final 55-km-long stage the leading duo rather played it safe to not make any mistakes or maybe risk a flat tire - which turned out useful on the thorny and rocky singletrails. ”It was a two and a half hour inferno of rocky and twisting singletrack sections.” Being marathon specialists Nissen and Wallace are not used to this kind of terrain, so after a short time in, they decided to switch to low-risk mode. “This way we finished third about two minutes behind the stage winners, yet we kept a lead of about three minutes in the overall classification.”
By winning the overall in this superior fashion, Nissen also showed he has found back to his usual form. In the first stage race of the year in Lanzarote he was held back by a stomach virus, so he finished only seventh. “Considering the circumstances, place seven was okay, but far from what I had hoped for.”
Nissen will continue to work out for a couple of weeks to then take his chance in the European racing scene.