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XTERRA European Champs Sunday
Some of the biggest names in multisport are in Italy this week for the XTERRA European Championship race at the natural park of Biderosa in Sardinia on Sunday.
The start list includes 43 pros representing 14 countries, including reigning European Tour champions Franky Batelier and Renata Bucher, Olympians Olivier Marceau and Sibylle Matter, and XTERRA World Champions Nico Lebrun and Melanie McQuaid.
Batelier is the man to beat in the men’s race, having not lost in Europe since 2008. The 32-year-old military officer from Normandy, France won all four races on the Tour last year, and the inaugural XTERRA Portugal Championship on April 3 to start the 2010 season. Last year in Italy, Batelier came into the bike-to-run transition with the 2008 XTERRA World Champ, Ruben Ruzafa, and ran more than a minute faster than the Spaniard to take the crown.
Sardinia is treating everyone very well this year. It is two days before the start and the weather is hot and sunny. The big problem is the weatherman is calling for rain on race day. But it has rained a bit the past 4 years, and a nice few drops only make the trails better.
XTERRA Managing Director Dave Nicholas is in Sardinia and gives us this update…
Bike trails had to be changed a bit this year because the Bosco or Forest service is improving roads inside Biderosa park. This does not mean it is easy - just a bit wider at points. The steep, long climbs and descents are still there and two laps of this tortuous trail system is tough.
The pro field is very strong. The women's include last week's Waco, TX winner Renata Bucher, former Italy winner Sibylle Matter, Austrian champ Carina Wasle and now we throw in 3 time world champ Melanie McQuaid. Marion Lorblanchet is here after a great race in Portugal along with a half dozen other fast women.
The men's field has to favor Franky Batelier but he will have the two Nico's - Lebrun and Phitzenmaier to contend with, many time Italy winner Olivier Marceau, the double strong German pairing of Ronnie Dietz and Felix Schumann and the fast improving youngster Yeray Luxum from Belgium. Fabian Comboluzier showed some great speed in Portugal and is here in Italy and Sam Gardner has done well here and has had a bunch of early season successes.
The race is sold out - the place looks fantastic and the Island Group of men and women are working hard to see everything succeed.
But even if a little rain into our lives does fall - we are still in Sardinia. The host area is fantastic with hundreds of camp sites, hotels to appeal to any budget and always the fabulous pasta and vino rosso...
Men’s Pro Start List
Austria - Julian Langer
In the women’s race world traveler Renata Bucher from Switzerland is fresh off an impressive victory at the XTERRA South Central Championship in Waco, Texas on Sunday, and has notched victories in Saipan, Guam, and Portugal as well this year. At last year’s Italian Championship she fell three minutes behind fellow countrywoman Sibylle Matter on the swim, but put three minutes on Matter during the bike, then held on during the run as Matter closed the gap to within 20 seconds at the finish line.
Women’s Pro Start List
Austria - Carina Wasle
There is 20,000 Euros up for grabs and titles for both the XTERRA European and XTERRA Italy Championships. The race enters its fourth year in the protected area of Biderosa, and consists of a 1.5-kilometer swim, 32km mountain bike and 10km trail run. The two-lap bike course features long slopes and single track that requires solid technical skills, and shows off athletic abilities.
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