Last year at the inaugural ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Spain the host country reigned supreme with locals accounting for 15 of the 27 gold medals awarded.
In 2012 you can expect even greater domination from the host nation as Team USA makes up the vast majority of the amateur field and will be racing on home turf - a course that many in the field have raced on since XTERRA first came to Shelby County in 2006.
Leading the charge for the big Team USA age group contingent is a true local – Casey Fannin from Birmingham. With 20 years worth of experience riding the trails at Oak Mountain and two XTERRA World Titles to his credit, Fannin is the clear favorite in the 50-54 division.
Other stand-outs in the men’s field include John Stover (reigning and two-time XTERRA World Champ in the 70-74 division), Steve Cole (reigning XTERRA USA Champ in the 55-59 division), Matt Boobar (a former XTERRA pro now competing in the 40-44 division), Bryce Phinney and Fred Smith in the 35-39 division, and Mathieu Signoretty, the current 20-24 XTERRA USA Champ.
On the women’s side Team USA boasts Charlotte Mahan (the 2010 XTERRA World Champ in the 65-59 division), Cindi Toepel (current and 4x XTERRA World Champ in the 60-64 division), Barbara Peterson (current and 6x World Champ in the 55-59 division), Tamara Tabeek (current 50-54 World Champ), Kathy Hudson (the defending ITU Cross Tri 45-49 champ), Kristin Jo Markham (the defending ITU Cross Tri 25-29 champ) and Hannah Rae Finchamp (current and 2x World Champ).
In all, there are 267 Americans from 38 states ready to represent Team USA and turn Shelby County into a sea of red, white, and blue.
While the Americans come in mass, the foreigners have sent some ringers to stake their claim on the ITU crowns.
Of note is two-time overall amateur XTERRA World Champion Tim Van Daele from Belgium in the 30-34 division, 4-time XTERRA World Champion Calvin Zaryski from Canada in the 40-44 division), and 2011 XTERRA World Champion Lizzie Orchard from New Zealand in the women’s 25-29 division.
2011 ITU CROSS TRI WORLD CHAMPIONS (Spain, 4/30/11)
Div Men NAT Women NAT
Juniors Filipe Azevedo POR Miriam Garcia ESP
U23 Hugo Ventura POR Brigitta Poor HUN
18-19 Francisco Ferreira POR Helena Munoz ESP
20-24 Harry Coates GBR Flavia Coniglio ESP
25-29 Antonio Garcia ESP Kristin Jo Markham USA
30-34 Antonio Del Pino ESP Maria Bautista ESP
35-39 Juan Marquez ESP Martina Donner AUT
40-44 Fernando Millan ESP Imma Sanchez ESP
45-49 Johan Neevel NED Kathy Hudson USA
50-54 Brent Peacock USA Beverly Enslow USA
55-59 Michael Skivington GBR Marilo Morujo ESP
60-64 Angel Pascual ESP Kathy Frank USA
65-69 Leo Meewisse NED --------------------------------
Para TRI-2 (Ricardo Arces, ESP) TRI-3 (Ivan Alvarez, ESP) TRI-4 (Toni Franco, ESP) TRI-5 (Ben Landier, FRA) TRI-6 (Fernando Riano, ESP)