All the best elite racers on the World Tour are headed to Maui for the ultimate showdown at the 20th edition of the XTERRA World Championship on November 1.
The tentative start list includes a dozen men who collectively won 22 of the 26 majors on the XTERRA World Tour this year with Brad Weiss (Philippines/Reunion/Asian Tour Champs in Malaysia), Ben Allen (Saipan/Guam/Czech/Germany), Nicolas Fernandez (Malta), Rom Akerson (Costa Rica), Braden Currie (New Zealand/Asia-Pacific Champs in NSW, Australia), Brice Daubord (Tahiti), Ruben Ruzafa (Portugal/Spain/France/Italy/European Championship in England), Arthur Forissier (Switzerland), Sam Osborne (Sweden), Josiah Middaugh (Mexico, USA), and Courtney Atkinson (Japan).
The women’s field is equally stacked with nine women who accounted for 20 of the 26 majors with Flora Duffy (Philippines/South Africa/Asia-Pacific Champs in NSW, Australia), Jacqui Slack (Saipan), Lesley Paterson (Costa Rica, European Champs in England), Carina Wasle (Guam/Switzerland/Denmark), Suzie Snyder (New Zealand), Myriam Guillot (Asian Tour Champs in Malaysia), Helena Erbenova (Spain/Greece/Sweden/Italy/Czech/Germany), Fabiola Corona (Mexico), and Emma Garrard (USA).
Among that exclusive group are four of the top five men and women at last year’s World Championship (1. Ruben Ruzafa, 2. Josiah Middaugh, 3. Ben Allen, 5. Mauricio Mendez for the men and 1. Flora Duffy, 2. Barbara Riveros, 4. Emma Garrard, 5. Helena Erbenova for the women). Missing are Dan Hugo, who finished fourth last year and is now retired, and Nicky Samuels who finished third.
There are several guys who didn’t race last year that should be factors this year like Francisco Serrano (just 30-seconds behind Ruzafa at ITU Cross Tri Worlds two weeks ago and he also upset Josiah Middaugh at the West Championship in the U.S.), Braden Currie (won a few big races and lost a few close ones to Josiah Middaugh), Courtney Atkinson (2x Olympian and XTERRA’s Australian Champ three years running), and Sam Osborne (has a big kick on the run). We also expect to see a few strong racers from the Ironman circuit with Ben Hoffman and Brent McMahon relatively fresh having had three weeks to recover, all depending on how Saturday’s race goes of course.
For the girls the big wild card is the return of Lesley Paterson – and what a thrill it’ll besee her at full strength (fingers crossed) against the likes of Duffy, Riveros, Garrard, and Erbenova. We could also see the revival of Julie Dibens, the only XTERRA elite ever to win three straight in Maui.
TENTATIVE MEN’S PRO START LIST (Alpha by Country)
AUSTRALIA - Ben Allen, Courtney Atkinson, Chris Legh BELGIUM - Jim Thijs, Yeray Luxem BRAZIL - Rodrigo Altafini CANADA - Brent McMahon COSTA RICA - Rom Akerson FRANCE - Brice Daubord, Arthur Forissier, Fabien Combaluzier, Pierre-Yves Facomprez, Nicolas Fernandez, Damien Guillemet GERMANY - Jens Roth MEXICO - Mauricio Mendez, Francisco Serrano NEW ZEALAND - Olly Shaw, Braden Currie, Sam Osborne, Cameron Paul SOUTH AFRICA - Bradley Weiss SPAIN - Ruben Ruzafa, Albert Soley, Juan Gracia SWITZERLAND - Jan Pyott UNITED KINGDOM - Rory Downie UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - Josiah Middaugh, Ryan Ignatz, Chris Ganter, Branden Rakita, Ben Hoffman, Will Ross, Noah Wright
TENTATIVE WOMEN’S PRO START LIST (Alpha by Country)
AUSTRIA - Carina Wasle BERMUDA - Flora Duffy CANADA - Christine Jeffrey CHILE - Barbara Riveros CZECH REPUBLIC – Helena Erbenová FRANCE - Myriam Guillot-Boisset ITALY – Elisabetta Curridori MEXICO - Fabiola Corona NEW ZEALAND - Lizzie Orchard, Jess Simson SCOTLAND - Lesley Paterson SLOVAK REPUBLIC - Alena Stevens SOUTH AFRICA - Susan Sloan SWITZERLAND - Renata Bucher UNITED KINGDOM - Julie Dibens, Jacqui Slack UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - Emma Garrard, Suzie Snyder, Maia Ignatz, Kara LaPoint, Sara Schuler, Debby Sullivan