The final four of 11 races in the 2014 XTERRA European Tour will be held August 9 in Prachatice (Czech), August 16 in Zittau (Germany), August 24 in Cranleigh (England), and August 31 in Tisvilde (Denmark).
For the adventurous XTERRA athlete it’s the dream season – hopping from one storied locale to the next. Many will combine two or three races into a grand vacation of sorts.
This year’s XTERRA Germany Championship, which will be held in Zittau for the sixth straight year, doubles as the fourth annual ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships.
Sixty-one American athletes will don the red, white, and blue Team USA racing kits to compete for world titles and national pride. The Team USA elite squad is led by reigning XTERRA U.S. Pro Series Champ and 9x National Champ Josiah Middaugh who will be joined by Branden Rakita, Craig Evans, and Will Kelsay. The women’s elite team features Emma Garrard (America’s fastest female right now), 2012 National Champ Suzie Snyder, and Caroline Colonna.
“It’s not a super technical course but it has lots of climbing and I expect both our elites and amateurs to do very well in Zittau,” said Team USA Manager/XTERRA Managing Director Dave Nicholas. “One thing is for sure, is that they’ll have a great time. We have a big team dinner on Thursday before the race at an old fashion German restaurant. It’s a scenic mountain town, and of interest the course traverses three different countries – Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic.”
The Americans will have their work cut-out for them as many of XTERRA’s best international athletes will join in the fray. The top six men from the 2013 XTERRA World Championship (Ruben Ruzafa, Asa Shaw, Ben Allen, Josiah Middaugh, Braden Currie, and Conrad Stoltz) are all on the start list as are six of the top 10 elite women (Flora Duffy, Emma Garrard, Chantell Widney, Helena Erbenova, Jacqui Slack, and Suzie Snyder).
The men’s elite field also includes 2011 XTERRA World Champ Michi Weiss in his first XTERRA race since receiving a two-year suspension from competition by Austria’s NADA and Ironman star Faris Al-Sultan. The women’s elite field is strengthened by the likes of Aussie Olympian Erin Densham, and European Tour’s top four points scorers Kathrin Mueller, Helena Erbenova, Carina Wasle, and Renata Bucher.
The “Caveman” Conrad Stoltz is back looking for his fourth straight ITU Cross Tri World Title to go with his four XTERRA World Championships while Erbenova looks to make it two straight. The top four men from last year’s ITU Worlds in the Netherlands (Stoltz, Ruzafa, Brice Daubord and Kris Coddens) are racing as are four of the top five women (Erbenova, Widney, Bucher, and Slack).
XTERRA EURO TOUR ELITE TOP 10
Pros count their best six of 11 races through the course of the season to determine their final point totals. With four races still remaining Ruben Ruzafa can capture the XTERRA European Tour Championship with a victory at XTERRA Czech on August 9. That would give him his sixth win in as many tries and a perfect score of 600. The women’s chase is much tighter with Kathrin Mueller and Helena Erbenova separated by just 19 points. Here’s a look at the current top 10:
|1||Ruben Ruzafa, ESP||100||100||x||100||100||x||100||500|
|2||Braden Currie, NZL||x||x||x||90||90||100||90||370|
|3||F. Carloni, FRA||x||90||100||x||31||x||75||296|
|4||Yeray Luxem, BEL||x||82||x||69||75||69||x||295|
|5||Asa Shaw, GBR||x||69||x||75||69||x||69||282|
|6||Jan Pyott, SUI||75||x||x||58||x||63||53||249|
|7||Albert Soley, ESP||90||x||82||49||x||x||x||221|
|8||Will Kelsay, USA||63||63||49||34||x||x||x||209|
|9||Rory Downie, GBR||x||x||75||x||x||58||45||178|
|10||Kris Coddens, BEL||x||x||x||82||82||x||x||164|
|1||Kathrin Muller, GER||90||x||100||100||100||x||82||472|
|2||H. Erbenova, CZE||100||x||90||63||x||100||100||453|
|3||Carina Wasle, AUT||x||x||x||69||90||90||90||339|
|4||Renata Bucher, SUI||x||x||x||75||82||82||75||314|
|5||S. Koblmueller, AUT||x||90||x||58||69||x||63||280|
|6||Brigitta Poor, HUH||x||x||82||x||x||75||69||226|
|7||Jacqui Slack, GBR||75||82||x||x||58||x||x||215|
|9||Louise Fox, GBR||x||x||75||x||x||69||49||193|
|10||C. Widney, CAN||x||x||x||90||75||x||x||165|