GU and XTERRA announce a U.S. sponsorship agreement
GOT GU?: GU Sports, the gel industry creator, and TEAM Unlimited, owners of the XTERRA brand, today announce an exclusive agreement that will make GU a participating sponsor and the official energy gel of the Nissan Xterra USA Championship Series, the Nissan Xterra World Championship, and the XTERRA Scramble Trail Run Series.
The deal puts GU “ON COURSE” at each event in the 50-race XTERRA U.S. Series and 40-event Scramble Series, bringing one of the world’s best exercise specific nutritional products to thousands of participating athletes.
“We are very excited to be apart of these great XTERRA events and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship,” said Will Garratt, GU Sports vice president of marketing.
“Bringing GU into the XTERRA family is a big win for us and our athletes,” said TEAM Unlimited President Janet Clark. “GU Energy Gel is a fabulous product that will give our athletes the energy they need to conquer our grueling courses and moreover, GU Sports is a company that shares our commitment to improving the race experience for our athletes.”
GU Energy Gel is specifically formulated to energize your body during exercise and comes in easy to stash, pack or carry pouches that are perfect for the narrow single-track nature trails in XTERRA.
“We are thrilled with the enthusiasm that GU Sports has for XTERRA and the feeling is reciprocal,” added TEAM Unlimited CEO Tom Kiely. “This sponsorship is another step forward for us in our drive to make XTERRA the leading lifestyle and adventure sports brand in the world.”
ABOUT GU SPORTS: In 1994, Berkeley-based GU Sports forever changed the way athletes re-fuel during exercise by introducing the world to GU. Company founder Dr. William Vaughan —whose single passion is bottom-line performance for athletes — first formulated the PowerBar, then began experimenting with carbohydrates in gel form. Dr. Vaughan found that gel could transport energy to working muscles during training and racing a lot faster than bars, without causing stomach distress, and GU was born. Today, endurance athletes everywhere benefit from the performance-driven energy provided by easy-to-digest GU. For more information visit www.gusports.com
XTERRA UK: The XTERRA European Tour is expanding.
“We are pleased to announce our return to the United Kingdom where XTERRA UK will race in Wales on September 2, 2006,” said David Nicholas, the managing director of the XTERRA Global Tour.
England – along with Japan and Canada – was one of XTERRA’s first international races back in 2000. This year’s edition, however, is at a new location.
“The race site will be in Glyn-Neath about 30K north of Swansea, a 3-hour drive on motorway from London. The cycling course will be hilly and tough with about 700 meters of climbing and descending. The Vale of Neath is a long valley where the village is situated. Green and fertile, you'll want to pre ride the course and take lots of photos.”
The addition brings the total number of championship races in Europe to eight, not including the dozens of in-country events taking place in Austria, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic. With new races this season in Denmark and France, and the return of England, there’s 160000 euros in professional prize money up for grabs. Each race distributes 15000, plus 20000 is awarded to the top performers in the tour following the finale in Germany. It’s the equivalent of $167,000.
2006 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR SCHEDULE
May 27 - XTERRA France Championship – St. Raphael
June 4 - XTERRA Italy Championship - Villacidro, Sardinia, Italy
June 24 - XTERRA Czech Championship - Hlubloka nad Vltavou
July 22 - XTERRA Austria Championship – TBD
July 29 - XTERRA Spain Championship - Bakio, Euskadi
August 26 - XTERRA Denmark Championship – Arhus, Jutland
September 2 - XTERRA United Kingdom – Wales, UK
September 9 - XTERRA Germany Championship – Titisee, Schwartzwald
Tentative, as of 2.15.06
ITALY ITALY: In addition to the 3rd XTERRA Italy Championship on June 4 in Villacidro, Sardinia, Italian organizer Mimmo Trudu has announced a follow-up event on Sardinia just six days later that will take place at the beautiful seaside resort town of Villasimius. "We feel to show the complete beauty of Sardinia it is necessary to host a race on the beach and in the ocean" reported Trudu from his home in San Gavino.
"Villasimius offers many more hotels, restaurants and nightlife that Villacidro cannot compete with as an interior village. It could make a wonderful Holiday for competitors to come and race on two weekends and explore the fantastic island we live on." Villasimius is about an hour east of the Capitol city of Cagliari over beautiful oceanside and mountain roads.
CZECH AGAIN: The “Triatlonista Roku” (Triathlete of the Year) awards ceremony in the Czech Republic recently named XTERRA Czech the “2005 Event of the Year” for the fourth year in a row. Czech sports journalists and triathlon club representatives vote for the awards.
JUST IN THE “NICO” TIME: Nicolas LeBrun is one of the finest and most diverse endurance athletes on the planet. As proof, he’s won back-to-back winter triathlon world championships (’99-’00), four French Duathlon titles, placed second at Duathlon Worlds (’98), and in October captured the elusive Nissan Xterra World Championship.
He recently flew all the way from his hometown in Digne, France to Sea World in San Diego, California to be honored as the Off-Road Triathlete of the Year at the Competitor Endurance Sports Awards, a letter came from French President Jacques Chirac congratulating him on his victory, he graced the cover of 220 Magazine in France, got tons of coverage in industry mags all over Europe and the U.S., and the CBS show put his triumph on TV for millions to see.
Of course, the most memorable moment of that show is the shot of him falling on the lava rock just a quarter-mile from the finish line. In the crash, he shattered one of the long bones in his forearm right where it meets the elbow.
“I thought to myself, ‘Oh Sh** I broke something’. For a second I thought maybe I’d just stay there on the lava rock, but I quickly realized I was o.k. to run and was able to finish,” said LeBrun. “It was strange though because it was the biggest victory of my life but I couldn’t appreciate it because it hurt so much. I really wanted to celebrate but I couldn’t, instead I went straight to the hospital. At the post-race party that night, after many drinks, the pain went away and I could enjoy the win.”
It was a well-deserved and well-planned victory, indeed. Heading into the 2005 season, Nico dedicated himself to Maui.
“Last year I changed my calendar. I put Maui on top and said to myself, what do I have to do to be on top here. I raced less and started big training on July 15 instead of March-April as in years past and I trained a lot in August just for Maui. I kept telling myself over and over that this year, I only have one race. It’s Maui and that’s it.”
Looking back, the seedlings for Nico’s XTERRA career were planted in 1998 when he saw an article on XTERRA Maui, and thought ‘maybe one day’. In 2000, he saw that there was a race in England and did it (would’ve won too if the ‘winner’ hadn’t cut the course). A year later he came to the U.S. and raced at the Nissan Xterra East Championship in Richmond.
“I remember Ned Overend flew by me, Micheal Tobin flew by me, Steve Larsen passed me strong, and I said, o.k. I have to work on my mountain bike,” joked LeBrun.
In that race he went out onto the run in 9th but caught everybody but Conrad Stoltz and the winner, Mike Vine, to finish in 3rd.
“I was at a crossroads in my career at that time where I was thinking about giving up sports if XTERRA didn’t work out, but it did. In Richmond I met a lot of nice people, had a good time, a good result, and the staff took care of me so it marked a turning point in my sporting career. For me, XTERRA Richmond was a new start.”
That race was big for XTERRA too, as Nico went on to do most of the U.S. championship events and helped spread the word of XTERRA overseas.
“Nico was very responsible for the Europeans becoming aware of XTERRA and he was the first one to commit to the U.S. series,” said Dave Nicholas. And, of course, today there is a full-fledged XTERRA European Tour and some of the best athletes in the world are racing in it.
In 2002 LeBrun was back in Richmond and in the same exact position heading out onto the run – in 9th - but that year he chased down everybody for his first big XTERRA win and the first of seven in his career (Germany twice, Richmond twice, Czech, Austria, and Maui).
This year the first order of business for LeBrun is to get his arm healed (he still can’t ride a mountain bike). Then his schedule is as diverse as his talent with races in winter triathlon, XTERRA, Duathlon, and even a few half-Ironman’s. The first big one?
“XTERRA France on May 27,” he said. “My first race with my World Champion jersey.”
XTERRA TV: The Nissan Xterra USA Championship show will be aired in Tampa, FL (12:30pm on WTSP) and Rapid City, SD (4pm on KEVN) this Saturday, Feb. 18.