Ruzafa

Ruzafa, Paterson win XTERRA European Championship

(Vachery Estate, Cranleigh, UK) – Ruben Ruzafa edged Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz in dramatic fashion and Lesley Paterson chased down Jacqui Slack and Renata Bucher on the run to win the XTERRA European Tour Championship elite races at Vachery Estate in Cranleigh, England this afternoon.

A solid, driving rain the night prior left the trails muddy and slick, leaving those without the proper gripping tires (or time-tested skills) flying off their bikes left-and-right.  The day, however, was perfect for racing with cool temps and not a drop of rain.  The atmosphere was teeming with excitement as the build-up to the race heralded the Caveman’s last XTERRA, commanding the attention of the local and worldwide off-road community all at once.

In a funny side story, Stoltz woke up this morning to his watch set on South Africa time (which is an hour earlier) and ended up rushing to the race site thinking he was late.  Instead, he was an hour early, the first to set up his transition, and had plenty of time to pose for photos with his wife Liezel and baby Zena, talk to friends and fans, and speculate on the day.  Also of note, he was the last to leave the site, standing on stage and greeting the amateur champions until the very last award was handed out.  Clearly the depth and impact of his retirement decision was not lost on anyone.

To the race…  As per tradition, British legend Richard Stannard exited Vachery Pond first with the fastest 1.5km swim followed by Ben Allen in 17:41 and Stoltz more than one-minute back in 18:54 and Ruzafa almost two minutes behind at 19:35.

Allen moved past Stannard early on the bike to take the lead and Stoltz said “it took him ages” to catch him.  He eventually did, and Ruzafa ultimately did what he does best and moved into the front on the second lap of the bike but couldn’t shake Stoltz.

“I couldn’t pull away,” said Ruzafa, a three-time XTERRA World Champ who has now won 15 straight XTERRA majors since winning Worlds in October of 2013.  “I took speed and tried to pull away but he didn’t drop, he stayed on my wheel.”

The tight action made for marvelous, best in the business spectating, with viewpoints in literally dozens of places around the iconic XTERRA England tree to watch it all unfold.  Ruzafa and Stoltz came into T2 practically together and then it was a foot race.

“I thought back after my first XTERRA in Richmond where it was all about the experience and not about the result and I just wanted to enjoy the race and I did,” said Stoltz.  “The bike course was so much fun, it was slippery and challenging and it was pretty crazy.  I had the best run form I’ve had in a while and Ruben and I went out on the run and were together through about 7K and I thought I’d test him a little bit and I went to the front and he hung in and then my shoe got stuck in some mud and came undone for two seconds and he took advantage and really pushed the screws down and I went from being comfortable to pretty uncomfortable in a quick time.  Then I jumped across the river and my legs started cramping so I was literally on the ropes.  Like I said, even though I came to enjoy the race as much as possible I do get carried away in the racing and of course I wanted to win my last XTERRA.  Winning is important, but enjoying it all is important too, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself.”

After the race Ruzafa said that was as hard a challenge as he could handle.

“When I wasn’t able to drop Conrad on the bike I thought it might come down to a sprint, but then he had a problem with his shoe and I knew that was my chance.  I was behind him and he stopped and I said, OK, I’ll take it and I just pushed ahead and was able to keep it to the finish.  It was a great finish, and a really big challenge for me.   It’s exhausting.  So slippery out there, and all the time concentrating.  I really liked this race, and I think Conrad should be really proud.  He is a great person and a great racer.”

Stoltz, the four-time XTERRA World Champion and all-time wins leader with 51, said he did his best to stay in the moment and not let the idea of this being his last XTERRA get in the way.

“I didn’t try to think about it too much,” he said.  “There are too many emotions so I tried not to hang on to the emotions, I just went through the process.  I think I’ve been able to do that throughout my career, not worry about what’s happening on the outside rather what’s happening right now, so that’s what I did.  Just focused on today and the here and now, and I really enjoyed the spectators cheering and the people out there.  I actually thought I had the situation under control on the run but Ruben beat me to it and was obviously the faster one.  I wasn’t sure if he was playing cat and mouse or if he was really tired, and I tried to burn him off at 7k but couldn’t.  By the time I stepped in the mud puddle he was right on me, got that little gap, and I couldn’t close it.  I may have played it wrong, maybe should have take it easy until the sprint at the finish and I may kick myself for it later. I literally just lost two or three seconds because my shoe didn’t come off completely, it just came off the heal, and I stopped to put it back on and it was right at the summit of a little hill and when it happened he really put the hammer down.”

Behind Ruzafa and Stoltz, Ben Allen was posting the fastest run split of the day and closed the gap considerably.

“I was 30 seconds too slow,” said Allen.  “I’m a bit disappointed, but that’ll be my goal working towards Maui.  I couldn’t have done anything more.  The conditions out there were treacherous for everybody and I crashed four or five times, it was like skating on ice.  It was pretty gnarly out on the bike.  I had cross tires, not mud tires, made it hard on myself but just gave it my all.  I let two minutes go, but it gives me a good indication on what I need to do in Maui.   I thoroughly enjoyed it though and I love being here.  We got hometown support from Jacqui’s family that was great.  Coming in and out of the forest and seeing the spectators cheering you on, and all the crashes, it was spectacular.  Such a fun event.”

XTERRA Malta Champion Nico Fernandez finished fourth and Spain’s Albert Soley came in 5th. As proof of the diversity of the European Tour Championship the top 10 men represented nine countries.

Pro Men      
Pl Name Time Points
1 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 02:29:05 100
2 Conrad Stoltz, RSA 02:29:30 90
3 Ben Allen, AUS 02:30:15 82
4 Nicolas Fernandez, FRA 02:34:45 75
5 Albert Soley, ESP 02:36:17 69
6 Tomas Kubek, SVK 02:37:46 63
7 Jan Pyott, SUI 02:38:00 58
8 Jim Thijs, BEL 02:38:45 53
9 Chris Ganter, USA 02:39:53 49
10 Henry Sleight, GBR 02:41:11 45
Also: Doug Hall (41), Llewellyn Holmes (37), Matt Dewis (34), Lee Williams (31), JP Donovan (28), Jon Heasman, Euan Adams, Noah Wright, Pete Dyson.

Paterson

In the women’s race it was all about Jacqui Slack early and almost all the way through the bike.  Christine Jeffrey was first female out of the water but Slack was close behind and had an incredible bike and was putting more and more time on the rest of the field.

“I had an amazing swim, came out with Ruben,” smiled Slack.  “I’ve been working so hard and I felt like it paid off today.  I spent so much time training, working on corners, and was really confident, and I like the mud, and the longer the girls didn’t catch me the more I was motivated.  Renata caught me with about 4K to go on the bike. I made a mistake on a hill and she rode up it and off and was really, really strong and I had no chance to hang with her but Lesley never caught me on the bike which I was really surprised about so that gave me some confidence.  I went on the run hoping I could catch Renata but she ran strong and then Lesley came flying past early on.  She’s so fast.”

Bucher, the 33-time XTERRA winner, was out in front and if not for the blistering foot speed of Paterson would’ve made it 34.

“I gave it everything I had on the run, and when Lesley came by on the first lap I was thinking to myself ‘oh, Lesley, please come back’” said Bucher.  “I tried to keep it steady after that and hold off Jacqui. I’m super happy now.  I changed a few things this year, and have a real base, and know what I want, and I’m my own boss.  I have amazing sponsors, and I feel really good with no pressure, my family is healthy. I’m in a good place.”

As for Paterson, she didn’t play the dominant role she normally does until it counted, then she poured it on thick.

“I was pretty down on myself after the first lap because I couldn’t stay upright, but I talked myself into staying positive,” said the two-time XTERRA World Champ who has now won all four XTERRA races she has entered this season all the while chasing mountain bike racing dreams.  “I’ve not been running, so when it came down to the run I was like, awesome (sarcastically).  I got to the run though and I’m comfortable with that.  Ironically, I’m Scottish and it was like I’ve never been in the mud before. I live out in San Diego where it’s sandy and rocky and the mud out there today was just something else.  I was with one guy and he said ‘c’mon, c’mon just say positive because everybody is running’ … and this was on the bike!  Seriously though, those girls were awesome out there today. There’s just so much camaraderie, everyone is very encouraging.  It’s really cool, it’s what I love.”

Brigitta Poor, who finished the year ranked 2nd on the XTERRA European Tour, came in fourth and Jessie Roberts had a great day on the trails to finish fifth.

All in all the day of racing was magnificent, and exciting. The race announcer Richard Campbell could be heard through the fields and in the trees around the course and the action was everywhere.  Passionate fans, a really great course, and brilliant racing all around.

“It’s made me proud to be English,” said Slack.  “Every corner, every turn someone was shouting your name so I’m really pleased I could put together a good race. Looking forward to putting in some more work and giving it my best shot in Maui.”

Women      
Pl Name Time Points
1 Lesley Paterson, GBR 02:54:26 100
2 Renata Bucher, SUI 02:55:35 90
3 Jacqui Slack, GBR 02:56:14 82
4 Brigitta Poor, HUN 03:04:52 75
5 Jessie Roberts, GBR 03:05:40 69
6 Alena Stevens, SVK 03:07:34 63
7 Elisabetta Curridori, ITA 03:09:34 58
8 Christine Jeffrey, CAN 03:17:22 53
9 Louise Fox, GBR 03:19:29 49
10 Verena Eisenbarth, FRA 03:19:35 45
Also: Genevieve Evans (41), Belinda Hadden (37), Karin Hansen (34), Emily Bashton (31), Daz Parker (28), Hana Kolarova

Complete Results / Photos

ALL-TIME XTERRA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE WINNERS
Year (Location) Men’s Winner / Women’s Winner

2015 (Cranleigh, England) Ruben Ruzafa / Lesley Paterson
2011 (Zittau, Germany) Olivier Marceau / Marion Lorblanchet
2010 (Sardinia, Italy) Franky Batelier / Melanie McQuaid
2009 (Klopeinersee, Austria) Franky Batelier / Renata Bucher
2008 (Sardinia, Italy) Olivier Marceau / Sibylle Matter
2007 (Sardinia, Italy) Olivier Marceau / Eszter Erdelyi
2006 (Villacidro, Italy) Nicolas Lebrun / Renata Bucher

2015 XTERRA European Championship Press Guide

SERRANO, ERBENOVA WIN XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR

Although neither raced today Roger Serrano and Helena Erbenova won the XTERRA European Tour points series, having scored the most points in seven events through the season.  Here’s a look at the final standings (tentative):

Men     S S G S G G S G G G S G
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT POR ESP GRE SUI FRA SWE ITA CZE GER DEN GBR
1 Roger Serrano, ESP 526 67 56 x82 67 82 DNS DNS 82 90 82 DNS DNS
2 Francois Carloni, FRA 497 47 67 75 61 DNS 82 DNS 90 DNS 75 DNS DNS
3 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 475 DNS 75 100 DNS DNS 100 DNS 100 DNS DNS DNS 100
4 Jan Pyott, SUI 356 DNS 23 x49 DNS 69 DNS 61 63 82 x41 DNS 58
5 Albert Soley, ESP 333 43 39 90 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 45 DNS 69
6 Kris Coddens, BEL 307 DNS DNS DNS 75 90 DNS 67 DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS
7 Ben Allen, AUS 282 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 100 100 DNS 82
8 Jan Kubicek, CZE 273 39 DNS DNS DNS 63 DNS 51 DNS 69 DNS 51 DNS
9 Tomas Kubek, SVK 271 DNS 43 DNS 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS 63 63 DNS 63
10 Nicolas Fernandez, FRA 255 75 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS 75
11 Henry Sleight, GBR 255 DNS 25 DNS 33 58 49 DNS 45 DNS DNS DNS 45
12 Yeray Luxem, BEL 192 DNS 61 DNS DNS 75 DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS
13 Markus Benesch, AUT 186 DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS 69 37 37 DNS DNS
14 Bradley Weiss, RSA 180 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 90 DNS DNS DNF 90 DNS DNS
15 Arthur Forissier, FRA 175 DNS DNS DNS DNS 100 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
16 Veit Hönle, GER 165 DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 37 DNS DNS 41 34 DNS DNS
17 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 165 30 DNS DNS 30 DNS DNS DNF 58 DNS DNS 47 DNS
18 Jens Roth, GER 163 DNS 33 DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 61 DNF
19 Sam Osborne, NZL 142 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS 67 DNS
20 Tim Van Daele, BEL 139 25 27 DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 36 DNS
21 Martial Schmidt, FRA 132 DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 34 DNS 49 DNS DNP DNS DNS
22 Jim Thijs, BEL 128 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS 53
23 Pavel Andreev, RUS 106 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 53 DNS DNS
24 Xavier Riart, ESP 105 36 DNS 69 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS
25 James Walker, GBR 102 DNS DNS DNS 21 DNS DNS 47 34 DNS DNS DNS DNS
26 Malte Plappert, GER 100 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 DNS DNS 31 DNS DNS DNS
27 Llewellyn Holmes, GBR 94 DNS 30 DNS 27 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 37
28 Fabien Combaluzier, FRA 92 56 36 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
29 Conrad Stoltz, RSA 90 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 90
30 Vaclav Holub, CZE 80 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 31 DNS DNS
31 Michael Szymoniuk, AUT 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNF
32 Theo Blignaut, RSA 71 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF 28 43 DNS
33 Lars Van der Eerden, NED 66 21 DNP DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
34 Gonzalo Bernal, ESP 63 DNS DNS 63 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
35 Damien Guillemet, FRA 63 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 63 DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS
36 Brice Daubord, FRA 61 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
37 Ruben Salmeron, ESP 58 DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
38 Rory Downie, GBR 58 33 DNP DNS 25 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
39 Damien Derobert, FRA 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
40 Lubos Truhlar, CZE 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS
41 Matt Dewis, GBR 57 23 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 34
42 Tomas Jurkovic, SVK 56 DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF
43 Lars Erik Fricke, GER 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
44 Jose Borrino, ESP 53 DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
45 Tomas Jiranek, CZE 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
46 Fabio Guidelli, ITA 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS
47 Clement Briere, FRA 51 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS
48 Hector Guerra, ESP 51 DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS
49 Christian Otto, GER 49 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 DNS DNS
50 Chris Ganter, USA 49 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49
51 Juan Gracia, ESP 45 DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
52 Florian Luquet, FRA 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
53 Jan Francke, CZE 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS DNS
54 Christopher Schwab, AUT 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNF DNS DNS DNF
55 Dominique Fernando, ESP 41 DNS DNS 41 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
56 Antonello Pallotta, ITA 41 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 41 DNS DNS DNS DNS
57 Doug Hall, GBR 41 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 41
58 Dominik Wychera, AUT 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNP 39 DNS
59 Juan Marti, ESP 37 DNS DNS 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
60 Marc Pschebizin, GER 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
61 Marco Spadaccia, ITA 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS
62 Grigoris Souvatzoglou, GRE 36 DNS DNS DNS 36 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
63 Carlos Martinez, ESP 34 DNS DNS 34 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
64 Pavel Jindra, CZE 34 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 34 DNS DNS DNS
65 Joel Jameson, GBR 33 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 33 DNS
66 Sergio Espejo, ESP 31 DNS DNS 31 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF
67 Dr. Felix Schumann, GER 31 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 31 DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS
68 Lee Williams, GBR 31 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 31
69 Jens Graenback, DEN 30 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 30 DNS
70 Javier Oliver, ESP 28 DNS DNS 28 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
71 Sebastian Veith, GER 28 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 28 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
72 JP Donovan, USA 28 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 28
73 Arthur Serrieres, FRA 27 27 DNS DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
74 Martin Bjeld 27 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 27 DNS
75 Nicolas Corentin, BEL 25 DNS DNS DNS 25 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
76 Thomas Munch, DEN 25 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 25 DNS
77 Simone Calamai, ITA 23 DNS DNS DNS 23 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
78 Jason Rojas, DEN 23 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 23 DNS
79 Rob Woestenborghs, BEL 21 DNS 21 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
80 Henrik Brandt, DEN 21 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 21 DNS
Wom   S S G S G G S G G G S G
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT POR ESP GRE SUI FRA SWE ITA CZE GER DEN GBR
1 Helena Erbenova, CZE 617 DNS 67 100 75 x82 x90 75 100 100 100 DNS DNS
2 Brigitta Poor, HUN 555 75 61 90 67 90 x63 x61 DNS 90 82 DNS x75
3 Carina Wasle, AUT 544 DNS DNS DNS 61 100 DNF 67 90 69 82 75 DNS
4 Louise Fox, GBR 389 51 51 82 56 63 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49
5 Jessie Roberts, GBR 328 47 DNF DNS 51 53 45 DNS 63 DNS DNS DNS 69
6 Sandra Koblemueller, AUT 278 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 DNS DNS 75 DNS 67 DNS
7 Jacqui Slack, GBR 254 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 82 90 DNS 82
8 Karin Hansen, SUI 231 43 47 DNS DNS 49 DNF DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS 34
9 Elisabetta Curridori, ITA 196 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 82 DNS DNS DNS 58
10 Kathrin Mueller, GER 175 DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS 100 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
11 Lenka Cibulkova, CZE 168 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 41 DNS DNS 58 69 DNS DNS
12 Renata Bucher, SUI 165 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS 90
13 Morgane Riou, FRA 156 DNS 56 DNS 47 DNS 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
14 Myriam Guillot, FRA 151 DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 82 DNS DQ DNS DNS DNS DNS
15 Maud Golsteyn, NED 136 61 DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
16 Corinna Choun, AUT 114 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 63 51 DNS
17 Verena Eisenbarth, GER 108 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 63 DNS DNS 45
18 Genziana Cenni, ITA 105 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 DNS DNS 56 DNS
19 Lesley Paterson, GBR 100 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 100
20 Coralie Redelsperger, FRA 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
21 Olga Parfinenko, RUS 69 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 DNS DNS DNS DNS
22 Alena Stevens, SVK 63 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 63
23 Tanja Hultengren Larsson 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 61 DNS
24 Ladina Buss, SUI 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
25 Becci Kaltenmeier, GER 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
26 Emilie Lefur, FRA 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS
27 Sabina Rzepka, POL 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS
28 Elke Innerebner, ITA 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS DNS
29 Christne Jeffrey, CAN 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53
30 Celine Augueux, FRA 49 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
31 Christina Thøgersen 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 47 DNS
32 Sofia Brites, POR 43 DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
33 Deniz Dimaki, GRE 43 DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
34 Caroline Lerche, DEN 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS
35 Genevieve Evans, USA 41 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 41
36 Danica Spiteri, MLT 39 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
37 Belinda Hadden, AUS 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 37
38 Emily Bashton, USA 31 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 31
39 Daz Parker, GBR 28 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 28


AMATEUR CHAMPS

Louise Hanley and Geert Lauryssen captured the overall amateur championship titles today, and here’s a look at all of this year’s age group XTERRA European Champions:

Category Name Country Time
Ages 15 – 19 Molly Campbell UK 04:00:01
Ages 25 -29 Samantha Aplin UK 03:37:28
Ages 30 – 34 Ruth Owen-Evans UK 03:44:50
Ages 35 – 39 Franziska Peier Switzerland 03:34:42
Ages 40 – 44 Nadja Mueller Schmid Switzerland 03:51:24
Ages 45 – 49 Louise Hanley UK 03:29:33
Ages 50 – 54 Mireille Martin France 04:36:50
Category Name Country Time
Ages 15 – 19 Harry Leleu UK 03:01:01
Ages 20 – 24 Tanguy Nivot France 03:09:39
Ages 25 -29 Sam Begg UK 02:53:44
Ages 30 – 34 Geert Lauryssen Belgium 02:46:33
Ages 35 – 39 Daniel Mannweiler Germany 02:58:38
Ages 40 – 44 Samuel Pourchez France 02:58:43
Ages 45 – 49 Jerome Georges France 03:00:14
Ages 50 – 54 Rob Moore UK 03:13:43
Ages 55 – 59 Simon Osborne UK 03:19:18
Ages 60 – 64 Virgile Miralles France 04:04:45
Ages 65 – 69 Ray Haines UK 04:34:46

2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
The XTERRA European Championship was the 38th of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world qualify for the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Nov. 1.
DATE WORLD TOUR EVENT (Pro Winners)
8-Feb XTERRA Philippines Championship (Brad Weiss / Flora Duffy)
22-Feb XTERRA South Africa Championship (Stuart Marais / Flora Duffy)
7-Mar XTERRA Motatapu (Dougal Allan / Jess Simson & Simone Maier)
28-Mar XTERRA Saipan Championship (Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack)
29-Mar XTERRA Malta (Nicolas Fernandez / Brigitta Poor)
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica (Rom Akerson / Lesley Paterson)
11-Apr XTERRA Guam Championship (Ben Allen / Carina Wasle)
11-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship (Braden Currie / Suzie Snyder)
18-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship (Braden Currie / Flora Duffy)
25-Apr XTERRA West Championship (Francisco Serrano / Lesley Paterson)
25-Apr XTERRA Tahiti (Brice Daubord / Sarah Backler)
26-Apr XTERRA Reunion (Brad Weiss / Carla Van Huyssteen)
2-May XTERRA Asian Tour Championship (Brad Weiss / Myriam Guillot)
10-May XTERRA Brazil (Diogo Malagon / Sabrina Gobbo)
16-May XTERRA Southeast Championship (Braden Currie / Lesley Paterson)
16-May XTERRA Portugal (Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller)
7-Jun XTERRA Spain Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova)
14-Jun XTERRA East Championship (Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder)
20-Jun XTERRA Greece (Kris Coddens / Helena Erbenova)
27-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship (Arthur Forissier / Carina Wasle)
27-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter (Karsten Madsen / Heather Pady)
4-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest (Sergio Florian / Laurel Dudley)
5-Jul XTERRA Victoria (Brent McMahon / Zoe Dawson)
5-Jul XTERRA France Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller)
11-Jul XTERRA Sweden (Sam Osborne / Helena Erbenova)
18-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship (Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy)
25-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound (Sean Bechtel / Heather Pady)
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova)
8-Aug XTERRA Mexico (Josiah Middaugh / Fabiola Corona)
8-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship (Ben Allen / Helena Erbenova)
15-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship (Ben Allen / Helena Erbenova)
29-Aug XTERRA Denmark (Kris Coddens / Carina Wasle)
29-Aug XTERRA Japan, Hokkaido+ (Courtney Atkinson / Mieko Carey)
30-Aug XTERRA European Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Lesley Paterson)
13-Sep XTERRA Woolastook, Upper Kingsclear, New Brunswick, Canada
19-Sep XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, Utah, USA#
1-Nov XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* European Tour / + Asian Tour / # America Tour / ! Canada Series / = Hawaii qualifiers

japanchampions

Atkinson, Carey win XTERRA Japan

(Hokkaido) – Courtney Atkinson and Mieko Carey captured the XTERRA Japan Championship at Lake Kanayama in Hokkaido today.

In the men’s race Atkinson, the reigning and three-time XTERRA Australia Champion and two-time Olympian, took a big lead out of the water, hung on during the bike, and used a blistering fast run to take the tape in 2:18:55, more than two-minutes ahead of Cedric Lassonde.

For Carey, who has now won the XTERRA Japan Championship five times, a fantastic bike leg gave her a big cushion to hold-off the speedy Kiwi Lizzie Orchard by nearly three minutes at the finish.

XTERRA Pro Charlie Epperson, who finished fourth overall on the day, took some time after the race to tell us about the day in this report…

Turned out to be a beautiful day on Lake Kanayama.  The morning started cool and clear and once race officials determined the water temperature was 15 degrees celsius (just above the cut off to cancel the swim) participants began the daunting task of sliding into wetsuits.

With a 9am race start it was almost perfect for racers to enjoy a nice breakfast and take the short drive to the picturesque venue.  As racers entered the water, it was evident the cold water temperature impacted a number of competitors.  It’s no so common in the XTERRA Asia Pacific Tour series to encounter cool water that requires a wetsuit.  As a result, a number of racers abandoned the shorter than normal 1200-meter swim due to the conditions today.

One athlete that made little work of the swim course was none other than Courtney Atkinson.  Atkinson has probably swam in every water condition imaginable so it was just another day at the office.  Exiting the water with a 2-3 minute lead over a chase group that included Cedric Lassonde of France and Takahiro Ogasawara (Oga) of Japan, it was evident Lassonde didn’t intend to let Atkinson have too easy of day in Hokkaido.

The bike course was in pristine conditions as a few days of rain didn’t seem to slow it down.  Lassonde bridged the difference from the swim by T2, with Oga another minute back to ensure the podium would be decided by the run segment today.

As I heard from spectators, Atkinson set a blistering pace out of T2 across the sand that let Lassonde know real quickly that his ITU background means, if anything, he can run!  Atkinson broke the tape in 2:18:55 and Lassonde was not too far off at 2:21:13.  Oga held on for third place in 2:26:11.

I asked Atkinson on what the future may hold for him racing after 2016 and if he moves away from ITU racing.  Atkinson responded, “Yeah, I only got into mountain biking after the 2012 Olympics and broke my wrist during the first couple of weeks of riding, but I stuck with it.  My future (racing) may involve more adventuring races and off-road triathlons.” (paraphrased).  If you haven’t met Courtney he’s certainly the type of athlete we want to see in the XTERRA community- a genuinely nice guy that can race with the best of them.

In the women’s race Mieko Carey of Japan (Guam based) and Lizzy Orchard of Auckland, New Zealand were separated by only a few seconds exiting T1.  Carey laid a blistering bike split down that was mostly set by crushing each climb. I know this because she passed me on each and every one of them.  Her coach, Josiah Middaugh, has made her a formable opponent on the bike.  I came into T2 alongside Carey who didn’t believe her lead was great enough to hold off the gazelle-like speed that Orchard possesses.  She was almost correct as Orchard closed the 6-7 minute gap from T2 to under 3 minutes by the end of the race. Carey claimed her 5th XTERRA Japan title with a 2:41:33 compared to Orchard’s 2:44:24.

Carey, who I train with on Guam, is equally impressive in her dominance at XTERRA Japan. I asked her post race if her plan was to race the bike course lights out.  Carey smiled and offered “yeah, I was afraid of how fast Lizzy can run and I just wanted to push myself on the bike.  My training has been focused on the mountain bike the last few months and I knew if was going to have a chance to win it would be with pushing the bike to my limit.”  Carey got a moment to reflect on how important it is to come back home to race here, “I’ve raced this race for years, I know Taro and many others for over 10 years, and it’s special to come back and see them and be a part of this event.”

Men’s Elite Results:

Courtney Atkinson, Australia, 2:18:55
Cedric Lassonde, France, 2:21:13
Takahiro Ogasawara, Japan, 2:26:11
Charlie Epperson, USA (Guam), 2:35:44
Taro Shirato, Japan, 2:51:06
Cameron O’Neal, Guam, 2:55:30
Jason Hsieh, Hong Kong, 2:58:24
Cho Kaon, S. Korea, 3:00:18

Women’s Elite Results:

Mieko Carey, Japan (Guam), 2:41:33
Lizzy Orchard, New Zealand, 2:44:24

The amateur competition was just as heated with numerous XTERRA World Championships slots up for grabs.  In the men’s race, Toshiyuki Furuya of Sait crossed the line in 2:46:07 or roughly 51 seconds ahead of Hirofumi Hayakawa of Fuku.  In the women’s race, Kasumi Saito of Kana recorded a 3:26:53 effort while her closest competition, Aiko Hiroki of Ibar, crossed the tape in 3:56:36.

2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

The XTERRA Japan Championship was the 36th of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world qualify for the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Nov. 1.

DATE WORLD TOUR EVENT (Pro Winners)
8-Feb XTERRA Philippines Championship (Brad Weiss / Flora Duffy)
22-Feb XTERRA South Africa Championship (Stuart Marais / Flora Duffy)
7-Mar XTERRA Motatapu (Dougal Allan / Jess Simson & Simone Maier)
28-Mar XTERRA Saipan Championship (Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack)
29-Mar XTERRA Malta (Nicolas Fernandez / Brigitta Poor)
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica (Rom Akerson / Lesley Paterson)
11-Apr XTERRA Guam Championship (Ben Allen / Carina Wasle)
11-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship (Braden Currie / Suzie Snyder)
18-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship (Braden Currie / Flora Duffy)
25-Apr XTERRA West Championship (Francisco Serrano / Lesley Paterson)
25-Apr XTERRA Tahiti (Brice Daubord / Sarah Backler)
26-Apr XTERRA Reunion (Brad Weiss / Carla Van Huyssteen)
2-May XTERRA Asian Tour Championship (Brad Weiss / Myriam Guillot)
10-May XTERRA Brazil (Diogo Malagon / Sabrina Gobbo)
16-May XTERRA Southeast Championship (Braden Currie / Lesley Paterson)
16-May XTERRA Portugal (Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller)
7-Jun XTERRA Spain Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova)
14-Jun XTERRA East Championship (Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder)
20-Jun XTERRA Greece (Kris Coddens / Helena Erbenova)
27-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship (Arthur Forissier / Carina Wasle)
27-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter (Karsten Madsen / Heather Pady)
4-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest (Sergio Florian / Laurel Dudley)
5-Jul XTERRA Victoria (Brent McMahon / Zoe Dawson)
5-Jul XTERRA France Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller)
11-Jul XTERRA Sweden (Sam Osborne / Helena Erbenova)
18-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship (Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy)
25-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound (Sean Bechtel / Heather Pady)
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova)
8-Aug XTERRA Mexico (Josiah Middaugh / Fabiola Corona)
8-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship (Ben Allen / Helena Erbenova)
29-Aug XTERRA Japan, Hokkaido+ (Courtney Atkinson / Mieko Carey)
29-Aug XTERRA Denmark, Tilsvilde (Kris Coddens / Carina Wasle)
30-Aug XTERRA England / European Championship, Vachery Estate, Surrey*
13-Sep XTERRA Woolastook, Upper Kingsclear, New Brunswick, Canada
19-Sep XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, Utah, USA#
1-Nov XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* European Tour / + Asian Tour / # America Tour / ! Canada Series / = Hawaii qualifiers

fortierCA

Belhumeur, Carbonneau win XTERRA Quebec

Partly-sunny skies and perfect 26C temps greeted athletes in Lac Delage for the second running of the XTERRA Quebec off-road triathlon and sports festival last weekend – August 22-23, 2015.

Boasting a world class trail system, pristine waters and an easy thirty minute drive from the heart of Quebec City, Lac Delage played perfect host for XTERRA’s brand of dirty, off-road endurance fun.

The festival-style weekend of events included workshops, an open water swim race, off-road duathlons, trail runs, kid’s races, short and long distance off-road triathlons, live bands and a BBQ party to send everyone home full with XTERRA spirit.

With fifteen XTERRA World Championship slots up for grabs, Vincent Belhumeur (02:59:14) and Julia Carbonneau (03:44:42) took top honors on the day for the men and women in the championship race. View full results.

Well-traveled and longtime XTERRA age grouper Chuck Fortier (pictured above by  Pascal Gagné) from New Westminster, B.C. shares his XTERRA Quebec experience.

I had the chance to take part in the second edition of XTERRA Quebec City this past weekend. Although still in its inception, this race did not disappoint and provided plenty of challenges.

Nestled near Stoneham Ski resort, Lac Delage is about 30 minutes north of Quebec City setting the stage for an epic off-road adventure. The swim course is a giant square of 1200m, favoring the less experienced swimmer as it is a bit shorter than the usual 1500m. To the dismay of yours truly, the water temperature last weekend was too warm to be wetsuit legal.

If the swim is on the short side and probably not as hard, the bike course is definitely the opposite. One could describe this course as reminiscent of a true world cup cross country course in “La Belle Province”.

Five laps of a 6 km loop posed plenty of challenges and demanded technical ability on the mountain bike. This true cross country course has it all from the Chicken pass option almost at the start of the course to steep power climbs, rocks and roots and tricky descent; mountain biking skills are a must.

With two swim waves 10 minutes apart, the trail was not too crowded given the fact that it was a multi loop system and all riders that I encountered were very gracious to let faster riders pass as soon as they could. The nice thing about the multi loop system is that it is great for spectators as they would see you in a pump track style every lap where a live band, music, and beer garden were accessible for them.

The run course was also a challenge as although there was not a lot of elevation gain was compared to other courses around the world, the technical and short power climbs were tiring on the legs.

The run course was a two laps of a 5km loop with a longer ascent and a technical descent, so one could not take a rest. This run course was also a true cross country run presenting all the challenges that one would expect.

It is to be noted that if this course was in the rain and mud as it was last year, it would be very challenging to say the least.

Although in its infancy this race has definitely the potential to become a marquee race and should definitely be on your race calendar if you are looking for a challenge on the bike and on the run. The volunteers were great and you can see that a lot of har d work has been poured into the trail system.

As for me, it was nice to be back to racing after having been sidelined for three and a half months with a broken foot.

Happy Trails.

XTERRA-European-Shirt-Front

XTERRA European Championship Sunday

Sunday’s XTERRA European Championship is held in conjunction with XTERRA England and the XTERRA World Tour, a global series of off-road triathlons spanning more than 30 countries that qualifies athletes to race at the XTERRA World Championship.

It is the last of 12 championship events in the 2015 XTERRA European Tour, distributes $25,000 USD to the top 10 male and female professionals, crowns XTERRA European and European Tour Champions, plus awards an additional $20,000  to the best elite performers in the series.

For amateurs it’s their last chance to score points towards winning an XTERRA European Tour title in their age division, and also the last stop in Europe where they can secure one of 50 qualifying spots into the 20th edition of XTERRA Worlds in Maui on November 1.

The main event combines a 1.5-kilometer swim with a 30km mountain bike and 10km trail run. It starts with a swim in the strictly private and extraordinarily clean spring fed Vachery Pond.  The bike course has riders twisting in-and-out and up-and-down the dense tree-lined forests. The run is just as fun, crossing over creeks, hopping over logs.

“The course is fantastic, I really enjoy it,” explained Conrad Stoltz, who is adding a fair bit of drama to the day as its his proclaimed last XTERRA race.  “It’s all natural, freshly carved, lots of turns, twists, roots, whoops, humps, some fair pedaling sections which is nice too and the run course is really cool. There’s this big ditch you have to jump across, there’s a bog that you have to run through and not lose your shoes, you have to jump over a tree.  It’s not just running, it’s cross country. What I think XTERRA really embodies. Fun all around. Good event. Fun people. Woodstock atmosphere. The British crowd really gets into it, and a lot of South African expats come out and yell all kinds of stuff in Afrikaans.”

Reigning and three-time XTERRA World Champ Ruben Ruzafa is in the field, looking to win his 15th straight XTERRA.  Aussie Ben Allen, who won the England title here two years ago, is hell-bent on stopping him.

“I came to Europe to target Ruben and I was hoping to race against him at XTERRA Czech and Germany,” said Allen, who won both those races earlier this month without Ruzafa in the line-up.

“Now I finally get the chance to race him this weekend. I don’t really care who wins the race as long as I beat Ruben, that’s my objective. He’s undefeated. This course probably plays to his strengths, and Conrad’s too, because it is so mountain biking focused and such a tight and twisty course. I think to beat Ruben you’ve got to be ruthless, get in his way, not let him get passed you and try different things. I’ll stick to a game plan, look to limit loss on the bike and hopefully it comes down to a running race at the end.”

The women’s race has plenty of spice as well with two-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson taking on four-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Renata Bucher, who won the ETU Cross Tri European Championship in July and 2013 XTERRA England Champion Jacqui Slack who is excited to race on her home turf.

“Home country, super excited, and its fun for my family and friends to get to see so many great athletes from all over the world here,” said Slack. “It’s such a strong field. Of course, I think Lesley (Paterson) is the target. I’ll see if I can stick with her on the bike and take it from there. Although, I understand she’s been mountain bike focused so probably has this technical riding nailed by now.”

Spectators are in for quite a treat as well with both the bike and run courses filtering through the “arena” several times making it quite easy to track the action.  Join the discussion by following along on Facebook/xterraplanet, Instagram/xterraoffroad, and Twitter @xterraoffroad using hashtag #xterraUK15.  Race starts at 12 noon on Sunday.

Here’s a look at the past winners of the one-day XTERRA European Championship race, last staged in Zittau in 2011…

Year (Location) Men’s Winner / Women’s Winner
2015 (Cranleigh, England) To be determined Sunday
2011 (Zittau, Germany) Olivier Marceau / Marion Lorblanchet
2010 (Sardinia, Italy) Franky Batelier / Melanie McQuaid
2009 (Klopeinersee, Austria) Franky Batelier / Renata Bucher
2008 (Sardinia, Italy) Olivier Marceau / Sibylle Matter
2007 (Sardinia, Italy) Olivier Marceau / Eszter Erdelyi
2006 (Villacidro, Italy) Nicolas Lebrun / Renata Bucher

XTERRA European Championship Elite Start List, as of 8.25.15

Rank, Name, Age, Hometown
3, Ruben Ruzafa, 31, Malaga, Spain
4, Jan Pyott, 34, Oberageri, Switzerland
5, Albert Soley, 28, Catalunya, Spain
8, Henry Sleight, 26, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
9, Tomas Kubek, 24, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
10, Ben Allen, 31, New South Wales, Australia
12, Nicolas Fernandez, 31, Pelissanne, France
28, Jim Thijs, 35, Huldenberg, Belgium
38, Llewellyn Holmes, 34, Somerset, United Kingdom
66, Matt Dewis, 23, Loughborough, United Kingdom
NR, Euan Adams, 29, East Sussex, United Kingdom
NR, Jimmy Archer, 43, Colorado, United States
NR, JP Donovan, 28, Nevada, United States
NR, Pete Dyson, 26, London, United Kingdom
NR, Chris Ganter, 37, Idaho, United States
NR, Doug Hall, 27, Bath, United Kingdom
NR, Jon Heasman, 40, Surrey, United Kingdom
NR, Richard Stannard, 41, Surrey, United Kingdom
NR, Conrad Stoltz, 41, Stellenbosch, South Africa
NR, Lee Williams, 31, Mid Glamorgan, United Kingdom
NR, Noah Wright, 41, Texas, United States

Rank, Name, Age, Hometown
2, Brigitta Poor, 26, Sopron, Hungary
4, Louise Fox, 35, Berkshire, United Kingdom
5, Jessie Roberts, 26, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
7, Karin Hansen, 34, Lucerne, Switzerland
9, Jacqui Slack, 32, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
10, Lenka Cibulkova, Czech Republic
12, Myriam Guillot-Boisset, 36, Rhone, France
13, Elisabetta Curridori, 24, Sardegna, Italy
16, Renata Bucher, 37, Lucerne, Switzerland
18, Verena Eisenbarth, 30, Arthaz, France
NR, Emily Bashton, 35, Virginia, United States
NR, Genevieve Evans, 42, California, United States
NR, Belinda Hadden, 36, Wandana Heights, VIC, Australia
NR, Christine Jeffrey, 42, Ontario, Canada
NR, Hana Kolarova, 28, Czech Republic
NR, Nienke Oostra, 38, Angus, United Kingdom
NR, Daz Parker, 47, London, United Kingdom
NR, Lesley Paterson, 34, Sterling, Scotland
NR, Alena Stevens, 33, Slovakia
NR, Jip Veelenturf, 23, South Holland, Netherlands

Rank = Rank on the XTERRA European Tour (after 10 events)
NR = Not Ranked

FINAL WEEKEND FOR XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR

Only two races remain on the XTERRA European Tour – XTERRA Denmark on Saturday and the European Championship race in England on Sunday.

In the men’s elite chase for the XTERRA European Tour Championship title Roger Serrano sits atop the standings and needs only to wait for the formal announcement.

While there are two racers on the Tour – Francois Carloni and Ruben Ruzafa – that could potentially score more points in the final two races and pass Serrano, neither have it in their sights. Carloni is getting married this weekend and will not race and Ruzafa would need to compete at Denmark on Saturday before his scheduled appearance at the European Championship on Sunday but has no plans on doing so.

If that holds true Serrano is the champ, Carloni is safe in 2nd place, Ruzafa is solid in 3rd place, and Jan Pyott is looking good to keep his 4th place status.  There will be a lot of movement below those four, however, with Albert Soley, Henry Sleight, Tomas Kubek, Ben Allen, and Nico Fernandez all trying to move up to a better spot in the top 10 by racing well in England, while Kris Coddens and Yeray Luxem try to do the same by racing in Denmark.

The women’s standings are solid at the top with Helena Erbenova securing her third European Tour Championship in four years by posting a near-perfect score of 617 (625 is perfect) with six wins on the year.

Brigitta Poor had a breakout season to finish 2nd in the Tour standings with three runner-ups and a big win at XTERRA Malta.  Carina Wasle is solid in 3rd place, and will race in Denmark along with fellow Austrian Sandra Koblemueller.  Meanwhile Louise Fox, Jessie Roberts, Karin Hansen, Jacqui Slack, Lenka Cibulkova, Myriam Guillot, and Elisabetta Curriodori will all chase points at the XTERRA European Championship in England in hopes of climbing up high into the top 10 in the Tour.

Download a PDF of the XTERRA European Championship press guide to view current Euro Tour rankings, past history, results, racer profiles and more. Click here.

Here’s a look at the past XTERRA European Tour Champions since its inaugural season of 2003.

Year    Men’s Winner / Women’s Winner
2015    TBD / Helena Erbenova (CZE)
2014    Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) / Kathrin Mueller (GER)
2013    Hector Guerra (ESP) / Helena Erbenova (CZE)
2012    Nicolas Lebrun (FRA) / Helena Erbenova (CZE)
2011    Olivier Marceau (SUI) / Marion Lorblanchet (FRA)
2010    Franky Batelier (FRA) / Marion Lorblanchet (FRA)
2009    Franky Batelier (FRA) / Renata Bucher (SUI)
2008    Nicolas Lebrun (FRA) / Renata Bucher (SUI)
2007    Nicolas Lebrun (FRA) / Eszter Erdelyi (HUN)
2006    Nicolas Lebrun (FRA) / Renata Bucher (SUI)
2005    Olivier Marceau (SUI) / Renata Bucher (SUI)
2004    Olivier Marceau (SUI) / Jamie Whitmore (USA)
2003    Royce Kortekaas (NED) / Jamie Whitmore (USA)

HISTORY OF XTERRA IN ENGLAND

The inaugural XTERRA England Championship race was held in 2000 at the sandy beaches of Minehead in Exmoor. That race was just the second international event in XTERRA history and it’s first-ever major in Europe. This year’s race will be the 9th XTERRA in England, in its fourth different venue.

Here’s a look at the past elite winner’s from XTERRA England..

Year (Location) Men’s Winner / Women’s Winner
2000 (Minehead, Exmoor) Dave Harrison / Kerstin Weule
2001 (Minehead, Exmoor) Royce Kortekaas / Rachael Gordon
2002 (Minehead, Exmoor) Mike Vine / Kerstin Weule
2006 (Neath, South Wales) Seth Wealing / Renata Bucher
2007 (Resolven, Wales) Nicolas Lebrun / Julie Dibens
2008 (Resolven, Wales) Nicolas Lebrun / Julie Dibens
2013 (Vachery Estate) Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack
2014 (Vachery Estate) Conrad Stoltz / Emma Garrard

Last year’s top 10 at XTERRA England:

Pl Name Time
1 Conrad STOLTZ 2:07:44
2 Kris CODDENS 2:11:41
3 Yeray LUXEM 2:12:04
4 Ben ALLEN 2:12:54
5 Roger SERRANO 2:14:11
6 Francois CARLONI 2:17:09
7 Matt DEWIS 2:17:31
8 Jan PYOTT 2:18:30
9 Richard STANNARD 2:19:22
10 LIAM LLOYD 2:19:37
Also: Beau Smith, Branden Rakita, Rory Downie, Grayson Keppler, Graham Wadsworth, Doug Hall, Asa Shaw, Rhys Davey
Pl Name Time
1 Emma GARRARD 2:24:29
2 Helena ERBENOVA 2:26:27
3 Chantell WIDNEY 2:28:21
4 JACQUI SLACK 2:32:48
5 Brigitta POOR 2:32:55
6 Maud GOLSTEYN 2:37:29
7 Louise FOX 2:43:02
8 Jessica ROBERTS 2:44:54
9 Bethan FOWLER 3:05:12
10 Natasha BARRY 3:14:42
Also:  Nicole Oliveri
Conrad Stoltz

Maui 2010: Stoltz First to Four and Vanlandingham Gets Her First

In 2010 the Caveman proved he was not done clubbing the XTERRA competition. Not by a long shot.

He made history by winning the 15th annual XTERRA World Championship for the fourth time, a day after celebrating his 37th birthday.

“It’s the only finish I’ve been really emotional at,” recalled Stoltz. “My dad’s cancer had come back pretty bad and I wanted to go home and I spoke to him on the phone he said no stay and race. It’s the only picture I really have of winning a race that I thought I would keep and put up on the wall. You could see the emotion. Normally I’m calm and collected, but I thought about my Dad a lot that day, and he was proud. That was cool.”

Stoltz completed the course in 2 hours, 31 minutes, 7 seconds, which was more than five minutes faster than his closest competition. It was the second-largest margin of victory in XTERRA World Championship history.

“This feels the best by far,” said Stoltz after the race that day. “2007 was rewarding because I was able to come back from injuries. This year, there was a lot of emotional pressure.”

After crossing the finish line, Stoltz dedicated the win to his father.

“No matter what the outcome of this race, I think my parents would be happy for me,” he said. “But I think bringing this big one home … is going to be the biggest gift I could give them.”

Stoltz came out of the swim in seventh place 20 seconds behind swim leader Seth Wealing, but more than made up for it with a record time in the mountain bike. He passed all the leaders early in the bike stage, and had a four-minute lead halfway through the course.

“The course was harder than I thought,” he said. “It was looser here than it has been in years – really loose, so I knew I was making time with every stroke of the pedal. The 29er just rolled over this loose, bumpy stuff.”

By the end of the bike, Stoltz had a five-minute lead on the field, and he maintained it during a lonely run. His bike time of 1:23:48, beat the previous mark that he set in 2002 by 24 seconds.

Franky Batelier of France had his best XTERRA World Championship race, but had to settle for second place with a time of 2:36:14.

“When the bike began, I was close behind, and Conrad went faster and faster,” Batelier said. “Conrad is too strong. He is The Caveman, best in the world. Congratulations to him, and I am happy for me.”

Michael Weiss of Austria also had a solid bike stage, and finished third with a time of 2:36:45. Olivier Marceau of France continued his run of success on Maui with a fourth-place finish. It was the sixth time in his career that he has placed in the top five at the XTERRA World Championship, although he is still seeking a breakthrough win. He has finished in the top five in each of the last five XTERRA World Championship races.

“Not too good and not too bad,” Marceau said of his performance. “Just stay at my pace and not to worry.”

Nicolas Lebrun of France was the runner-up in 2009, but was not in rhythm this year and finished in fifth place with a time of 2:38:50. “Nothing in my legs to start – I felt like turning around,” said Lebrun, who still finished with the best run time of 44:01 and his fifth top five performance in Maui.

Every year in Maui mechanical disasters knock out a few of the top contenders, and 2010 was no different.  Perhaps nobody had a rougher day than America’s best hope for bringing home the title, Josiah Middaugh.  Middaugh was two-minutes back out of the swim but passed 46 racers to move into second by about mile 10 despite a flat that he was able to quickly fix.  The next three flats, two tubes, and CO2 cartridges delivered the knock-out punch, but in true XTERRA Warrior style, he shouldered his bike and ran a mile to the bike-to-run transition when he couldn’t get his back tire to even turn.  He soldiered on and finished 32nd.  Also of note, Dan Hugo, who was in second-place early in the bike had his share of problems but stuck it out and crossed the line in 36th.

Fastest swim: Seth Wealing (19:29), Christine Jeffrey (19:41)
Fastest bike: Conrad Stoltz (1:23:48), Shonny V (1:40:22)
Fastest run: Nicolas Lebrun (44:01), Marion Lorblanchet (48:39)

In the women’s race the thee-year XTERRA plan of Shonny Vanlandingham finally became complete. After five consecutive years of top 10 finishes without an XTERRA world title, Vanlandingham broke through in 2010.

The Durango, Colorado native said that when she joined the XTERRA World Tour full-time three years prior she envisioned a three-year program that would culminate at the 2010 XTERRA World Championship on Maui.

“This is my third year on the XTERRA circuit, and I made it my goal, although it was a lofty goal, to win the championship in my third year at the age of 41,” she said. “I knew it had to come together today to be a special day.”

Indeed, Vanlandingham set a personal best for the Maui course, finishing with a time of 2:58:20. It was nearly 10 minutes faster than her previous best showing at the XTERRA World Championship.

“I set my PR on the course, and I was due for that; I knew I had to PR in everything to win,” she said.

It wasn’t easy. Three-time defending champion Julie Dibens of United Kingdom stayed near Vanlandingham the entire course. Dibens actually had the lead for the first 15 miles of the 20-mile mountain bike course.

“I passed Julie about mile 15 of the bike and went into T2 with a one-minute lead and I didn’t think that was going to be enough because Julie is such an amazing athlete,” Vanlandingham said.

Dibens could never make up ground during the run, and wound up in second place at 2:59:32 — 1 minute, 12 seconds behind.

Dibens placed third in the Ironman World Championship just two weeks prior to the XTERRA World Championship, but she refused to use that as an excuse.

“She’s a demon on the bike,” Dibens said. “I was delighted with second. I got beat by a better girl today. Shonny is a true XTERRA athlete, the best mountain biker out here.”

Vanlandingham’s bike time of 1:42:40 was five minutes faster than any other woman. Still, she said she did not feel confident until the final mile of the run.

“I didn’t look back at all for the first six miles or so, and then at the black sand beach, I did take a peak and I didn’t see her,” she said. “That’s when it started to hit me. I’ve never won a world championship, not even in mountain biking, so this is really the pinnacle of both my XTERRA and mountain biking career.”

Dibens said she got as close as 30 seconds behind Vanlandingham early in the run, but then fell back toward the finish. “I had her in my sights, but didn’t have that extra gear.”

Marion Lorblanchet of France placed third in just her second attempt at the XTERRA World Championship. Making it more impressive, she overcame a broken pedal on her bike to make the podium.

“I crashed on the mountain bike, broke my pedal, so I lost a lot of time on the bike,” she said. “I just had to settle my nerves on the run. I was tired, but still knew I could run fast.”

Lorblanchet was as far back as seventh during the bike, before making up ground during the run. Her run time of 48:39 was the fastest among all the women.

Christine Jeffrey of Canada was the first female out of the swim, and went on to have her best finish at Maui with fourth place. “Super happy,” she said. “This is my best finish ever and way better than how I did last year.”

Suzie Snyder out-sprinted Austria’s Carina Wasle for fifth place.

Watch the Show / 2010 Results

2010 XTERRA World Championship from XTERRA TV on Vimeo.

XTERRA Nordic

XTERRA Denmark This Saturday

The XTERRA European Tour returns to the scenic and sleepy beach town of Tisvilde for the XTERRA Denmark Championship on Saturday, the 11th of 12 stops in this year’s series.

Tisvilde is about an hour from Copenhagen on the North Sea, a beautiful place where the beach meets the forest. In summer time local and international tourists flock to the area but this week it’s all about XTERRA.

The course itself is all about cold water, sandy dunes, and singletrack trails through the dense, mystic forest. The site is considered the “spiritual home of the Viking” and competitors even ride by an elaborate Viking grave and can try their luck at pulling a sword out of a stone hidden in the bushes nearby.

At last year’s race won by Conrad Stoltz and Kathrin Mueller the weather was cold, rainy, and rather miserable but then again, that’s “Viking weather” and part of the charm.

In the men’s elite race a trio of Belgium’s best – Kris Coddens, Yeray Luxem, and Tim Van Daele – will take on a strong mix of stars from the European Tour like Jan Kubicek of the Czech Republic, Markus Benesch of Austria, Jens Roth of Germany, and XTERRA Sweden Champion Sam Osborne of New Zealand.

The women’s race is highlighted by a pair of Austrians – Carina Wasle and Sandra Koblumueller. At stake are valuable points towards the final European Tour rankings where the top 10 earn bonus cash.

Learn more at http://xterranordic.com/events/denmark/

Tentative XTERRA Denmark Elite Start List

Rank, Name, Nationality
6, Kris Coddens, BEL
7, Jan Kubicek, CZE
11, Markus Benesch, AUT
16, Yeray Luxem, BEL
18, Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA
21, Tim Van Daele, BEL
23, Jens Roth, GER
27, Sam Osborne, NZL
43, Fabio Guidelli, ITA
63, Theo Blignaut, RSA
Casper Aaen, DEN
Martin Bjeld, DEN
Henrik Brandt, DEN
Zaki Lustü El-louanzari, DEN
Jens Grænbæk, DEN
Joel Jameson, GBR
Brian W Jørgensen, DEN
Troels Messmann, DEN
Thomas Munch-Laursen, DEN
Frederik Nexøe-larsen, DEN
Jason Rojas, DEN
Dominik Wychera, AUT 

Rank, Name, Nationality
3, Carina Wasle, AUT
6, Sandra Koblumueller, AUT
19, Corinna Choun, DEN
26, Genziana Cenni, ITA
Caroline Lerche, DEN
Tanja Hultengren Larsson, DEN
Christina Thøgersen, DEN

Rank = Rank on the XTERRA European Tour (after 10 events)

Conrad Stoltz

Last Call for the Caveman

“I’m pretty sure this it,” explained the most iconic XTERRA athlete of all-time, Conrad Stoltz, about Sunday’s European Championship race in England being his last XTERRA.

“I don’t have regrets.  I’m 41, I had a fantastic career, have lots of memories and have done a lot of neat stuff,” said Stoltz, adding that the best thing that ever happened was the birth of his baby girl Zena in the off-season. “She changed our lives in a huge way. Everything else pales in comparison now that we have this little bundle.  My retirement means we can really spend a lot of time with her and we literally have her with us all the time. Being a Dad is indescribable.  It’s awesome.”

Awesome could also describe Stoltz’ career and his impact on the sport. Well beyond his unprecedented 51 career championship wins (53 if you count Buffelspoort) and seven world titles is a gentle giant beloved worldwide for his warm smile and welcoming demeanor as much as his fearless downhill skills.

Stoltz is a rare gem of a person – genuine, caring, smart, and giving. There are so many great examples showcasing the strength of his character.

Flashback to Tokyo, Japan, 2011, at one of the busiest subway stations on earth. Stoltz noticed a woman struggling with her luggage at the top of a stairwell at the exit. While hundreds of commuters quickly navigated their way around the woman, the Caveman worked his way through the crowd – like a fish swimming upstream – to help her, grabbing the cumbersome luggage and carrying it down a massive flight of 100 stairs to the bottom.

Over the past 15 years XTERRA has had the pleasure of seeing him perform countless acts of kindness – from signing autographs and providing simple words of advice to full-blown mentoring gigs and visiting sick kids at Children’s Hospitals.

Marita Oppenheimer, an avid endurance athlete who was spectating at XTERRA Worlds a few years back, discovered the Caveman’s “coolness” firsthand. Afterwards, she wrote this note to TEAM Unlimited CEO Tom Kiely to share her story…

Sunday was just one of the best days of my life. I found Conrad Stoltz’ water bottle at the bottom of the last bike hill, and felt like I won the lottery. He is such an inspiration. I mentioned to my friends that, wouldn’t it be great if I could somehow return it to him, because it seemed like a special bottle, unlike all the others.

Hours go by, and I’m sitting alone on the lawn of the Ritz in the shade, and I was emailing my Husband to let him know how much fun I was having, and then I decided to prop up my special water bottle on the grass, and take a photo, just in case I lost or left it somewhere. So, I took the picture, and I hear a voice behind me, saying “Oh, so you like that water bottle, eh?”

And I turn around, and there are two men, and a woman standing there, and I responded “Yes, look at it, look whose name is on it! It’s my favorite guy.”

The woman says, “Is the note I wrote you still under the bottle?”

And then, I realize that it’s Conrad Stoltz. I couldn’t believe my luck. Under the bottle his fiancée (someone mentioned later in the day, that they were getting married) had written, “My champion, I love you.”

Oh my gosh. So I told Conrad, I was really hoping all day that I could return his bottle to him, because I felt it was a special bottle. He said, “you keep it, I have more”.

It just brings tears to my eyes, still. Then, they asked if I’d like a picture with him. I couldn’t believe it, because I never would have had the nerve to ask. Then we all hugged, and I wish you could have seen my face after they left. It was amazing. The best part was, that they were just the nicest, sweetest, most kind people, ever. – Marita Oppenheimer

To put Marita’s note in further perspective, Conrad had to pull from Worlds on the run that year – he couldn’t breathe. DNFs are not part of his culture, so you can trust his disappointment was off-the-charts, but despite this – his character remained true.

Perseverance. Conrad has that in truck loads. When in 2006 he broke his back pre-riding the course at Nationals, he didn’t give up. He actually showed up at the race two days later to support the rest of the XTERRA Tribe, arm in a sling, pain pursing through his body – but his character was holding strong. The next year he won everything, including his third world title.

In 2009 after slicing his foot open before the start of the East Championship, while retrieving a buoy that had gotten unhooked, he didn’t give up. He won that race.

In 2010 when he wanted to go home and be with his Dad while he was in a fierce battle with cancer, his Dad told him no, to race and make him proud. He did just that by winning his unprecedented fourth XTERRA World Title in his honor. ESPN paid tribute to his effort by naming it a top 10 play.

Conrad’s dad said, “I once showed him a dung beetle that was trying to roll his ball of dung up a very steep incline. The ball kept rolling back, but the beetle kept retrieving the ball and pressing forward. I said to Conrad, “That’s how one should live one’s life. One never gives up.”

Trust that his retirement has nothing to do with giving up, it’s more about moving on to start the next chapter of life with his lovely wife Liezel and baby Zena. It’s a move we can all admire.

Watch clips from our interview “Caveman in Cranleigh” on Facebook.com/XTERRAplanet.

LakeKanayama-1

XTERRA Japan Unveils New Venue in Hokkaido

Japan was one of the very first international races on the XTERRA World Tour when it made its debut in Shiobara back in 2000 and for 10 years, 2004 to 2014, it called Marunuma home.

This year the XTERRA Japan Championship, again led by triathlon legend Taro Shirato, is introducing the Tribe to a new destination.

XTERRA Pro and roving race correspondent Charlie Epperson (pictured above with Mieko Carey) is one of the hundreds of XTERRA warriors headed to Hokkaido for Saturday’s race and brings us this preview…

XTERRA Japan returns to kick-start the 2015-2016 XTERRA Asian Tour after a one-year hiatus.  During their break, race organizers secured a new venue that led them to one of the northern most prefectures in Hokkaido. A region renown for their snow skiing, cuisine, and pristine landscape, this year’s XTERRA Japan Championship promises to offer competitors a great new experience.

The resort is amazing… with more than dozen restaurants serving world class Hokkaido cuisine, golf courses, gondola ride, hot springs, and some crisp clean air- it feels more like I’m on holiday. Great venue for the race and the community has been equally amazing in their support of the race, course preparations, and general warmness toward the athletes.

The swim will start at the snow-fed and remote Lake Kanayama, home to the ancient & mythical Sakhalin taimen flying fish.   After a likely cool morning swim, racers will enjoy a two-loop bike course that climbs over 800-meters while navigating a floating bridge that leaves little room for error. Spectators will get to see runners twice on a two-lap course that takes competitors through Lake Kanayama Forest Park, an area commonly occupied by the Japanese brown bear (as many as 2,000 roam the Hokkaido region). No kidding!

With the last XTERRA Japan Champion Dan Hugo now retired, the men’s elite race is wide open for those of us hoping to be crowned the champion in the Land of the Rising Sun.  A late entry into the race, two-time Australian Olympian and XTERRA Australia Champion Courtney Atkinson becomes the clear favorite in this field. Japan’s Takahiro Ogasawara is the local favorite and stands a good chance to offer Atkinson a close race with his mastery of technical mountain bike tracks.

Cedric Lassonde of France, a veteran XTERRA racer, will arrive in peak form after crushing an Ironman distance race two weeks prior. Scotland’s Rory Downie passed on the XTERRA European Championship in London to compete in the mountains of Hokkaido. South Korea’s Kaon Cho will use XTERRA Japan to tune-up the inaugural XTERRA Korea race that will be contested the following weekend. Japan’s veteran racer, Taro Shirato, who has also been the driving force behind the new race venue, has enough course knowledge to be a factor. Rounding out the field is my Guam training partner, Cameron O’Neal, who competes for the Guam National Triathlon team and who is debuting in his first elite off-road race at XTERRA Japan. A number of other professional and seasoned XTERRA racers are rumored to be en-route include Slovakia’s Michal Bucek, Hong Kong’s Jason Hsieh, and Josh Kenyon of New Zealand.

The women’s elite race is shaping up to be a mano-a-mano affair. Four-time XTERRA Japan Champion Mieko Carey returns to her home country in search of her fifth title. Carey, who came face-to-face with a black bear during a pre-ride at the old course will no doubt have her “bear bell” (a required item for this course) in full jingle as she sets out on her quest. Her competition, the speedy Lizzy Orchard of New Zealand, had a great performance at XTERRA Malaysia in Langkawi this past May and looks to be in even better shape going into Saturday.

Competitors should come prepared for a wetsuit swim and expect some vicious climbs in the midst of the beauty of Lake Kanayama Forest Park. With bears, floating bridges, flying fish, and icy cold water, the outlook is pure adventure for the 2015 XTERRA Japan Championships.

Christophe Maury

XTERRA Denmark / England Double

XTERRA Warrior award winner Christophe Maury “the Frenchman” captured the hearts and imagination of the XTERRA Tribe last year with his relentless drive for adventure and racing.

He raced eight of the 11 European majors last year, the most of any amateur. This year XTERRA added another race to its XTERRA European Tour, so of course, Maury had to add another race to his schedule too.

The reigning 45-49 XTERRA European Tour Champion has done seven of the first 10 races this year and leads his division in points, but to make sure he can defend his title he’s doing an unprecedented Double … XTERRA Denmark on Saturday, August 29, and the XTERRA European Championship race in England on Sunday, August 30.

“I just finished making the plans,” Maury wrote earlier this week. “It’s crazy, I’m crazy, but I’ll do it because I love XTERRA.”

Here’s his plan. Race Denmark (Aug. 29).  Start at 10 a.m. Expect to finish not more than 4 hours later. Take one-hour to enjoy the atmosphere and pack the bike. Then one-hour drive to the airport in Copenhagen. Give back the car and catch an 8pm flight to London.

“I’ll prepare the bike when I get to Heathrow, then I’ll spend the night (a short one !!!) somewhere around the airport. Didn’t find anything yet. Have to work on it and find something cheap!” said Maury.

On Sunday he’ll wake up, hire a care, drive to Vachery Estate for the 12 noon race time.

“After the race I have an 11pm flight back to France then one more short night of rest because on Monday I have to be at work at 7 a.m. Then, I will rest.”