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Gachet, Guillot Win XTERRA Winter Europe
GACHET, GUILLOT WIN XTERRA WINTER EUROPE
Jeremie Gachet and Myriam Guillot, both from France, won the inaugural XTERRA Winter European Championship at Chabanon in the southern French Alps on Sunday. The course, created by former XTERRA World Champion (and 3rd place finisher at last year's XTERRA Winter Worlds) Nicolas Lebrun, featured a 5km run, 10km mountain bike, 5km snowshoe, and 8km ski mountaineering stage.
Gachet a former junior Winter Tri World Champ, led from start to finish and crossed the line exactly six minutes ahead of Swiss Othmar Brugger.
“When I realized I was stronger on the bike than the rest of the field I decided to put the pressure on my opponents taking the lead early in the race. But I realized the first place was not that comfortable and I have been looking back to see if someone was coming back for the rest of the race”.
In the women’s race Guillot, a world-class adventure racer, put a ton of time (more than 13 minutes) between herself and former Olympic triathlete Sybille Matter from Switzerland. Two-time French national winter triathlon champion Julie Arnaud placed third.
“I had no idea if I could be competitive in such a race” said Guillot. “I am used to adventure races which are not that fast but I was happily surprised to see I was in front during the run. I always expected someone to come from behind and pass me on the bike, and then during the snowshoe. Only during the ski section did I realize I could win this race when I saw the gap I had on the other girls.”
XTERRA SAIPAN STILL "THE CROWN JEWEL"
In 2009 there will be more than 100 XTERRA off-road triathlon races in a dozen countries around the world - but none quite like XTERRA Saipan.
After the inaugural race in 2002, staff and competitors alike quickly declared it the "Crown Jewel". It's epic in so many ways, from the run that goes through the tropical rainforest, past World War II relics and into secret caves to the greatest host hotel ever at the Pacific Islands Club that has its own wave pool and lazy river. The great food, fascinating culture, perfect weather, and warm hospitality of the locals - who set-up a host of activities and parties for visiting athletes - all make for a once-in-a-lifetime experience (unless, of course, you go every year). Ask Olivier Marceau or Renata Bucher or Andrew Noble or Jim Vance or Julie Dibens or anyone who's ever done that race what it was like - and you'll hear the same thing over and over - it's awesome.
This year the Saipan Sports Fest, which includes training camps, pro clinics, goKart races, a kids tri, hash runs, trail runs, golfing, tank-to-tank swims, XTERRA off-road tri and Tagaman road tri races (see schedule here) runs from April 15th to April 25.
There's $15,000 in prize money for XTERRA and $20,000 up for Tagaman.
Pros expected to compete include Andrew Noble, Renata Bucher, Julie Dibens, Mieko Carey, Jim McConnell, Sam Gardner and Ulli Katzer.
Learn more at www.saipansports.com
SHONNY V's BASE CAMP
The top American female in the sport of XTERRA and the most successful NORBA racer ever - Shonny Vanlandingham - is hosting a four-day training camp in the coastal mountain singletrack of Southern California from March 18-22. The camp is designed for intermediate to advanced riders with good base fitness and solid singletrack skills. Mention "XTERRA" when you book your tour, and you'll get a free XTERRA t-shirt. Learn more here.
HUGO, BOONSTRA BATTLE AT BUFFELSPOORT...
Reigning XTERRA South Africa champion Dan Hugo, who made quite a statement in the U.S. Pro Series in 2008 by placing second in the five-race Series to fellow countryman Conrad Stoltz - is back at home and still racing as the second of four events in the XTERRA South Africa series unfolds Saturday at Buffelspoort Dam in the Northwest Province.
Hugo's chief competition will come from another noted South African racer, Lieuwe Boonstra, who was second behind Hugo at this race last year.
Having experienced the premier XTERRA events in the U.S., in particular the World Championship in Maui, Hugo feels comfortable inviting athletes from around the globe to his home country races. "I can confidently invite any foreigner to our XTERRA events and know that they'll be very impressed. Our courses are challenging and often out of the ordinary," says Hugo.
The race consists of a 1.5km swim, a 25km mountain bike in the majestic Magaliesberg mountain range and a 10km trail run. The XTERRA South Africa Championship race is set for April 18th in the Western Cape.
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