When we talk about the best in the world, we’re not kidding, just look at the women’s field.
Flora Duffy, the reigning and two-time XTERRA World Champion, just beat Olympic gold-medalist Gwen Jorgensen in the ITU finale to capture the World Triathlon Series title.
“The 2016 season has been a huge year for me,” said Duffy. “The build into the Olympics was intense, and once that was over it felt like a layer of pressure was removed, and another layer removed after the ITU Grand Final in Cozumel. After a few days off I started training again and kept asking myself, 'what am I doing still training after the best race of my life?!’ I don't know the answer to that exactly, but what I do know is that I love racing XTERRA and being involved with a completely different side of triathlon. It is such a hard race, but at the same time it’s so rewarding.”
This year in Maui Duffy will try to tie Julie Dibens record of winning three in a row.
“To win for a third time would be cool, and a special way to end what has already been an incredible year,” she said. “I haven't done an XTERRA since February, however, and I know a lot of other women on the start line want to win as well so I will have to put together a perfect race to win.”
Barbara Riveros, a two-time runner-up in Maui, finished 5th at the Rio Olympics ahead of Duffy (who was 8th) and is right at home on single track trails. Then there is Lesley Paterson, a two-time XTERRA World Champ herself, who could just be the grittiest triathlete on the planet.
“Those three women have taken the elite women’s field to a whole new level these past few years,” said XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas. “They’re not just fast, they’re fearless and they’re fighters.”
Suzie Snyder is a fighter as well, and back this season after missing last year’s race while recovering from a broken pelvis. Snyder dominated the XTERRA Pan America Tour with five wins in 2016 and is as fast as she’s ever been.
We also have seven of the top eight women from last year’s XTERRA World Championship back in Maui, excluding only Emma Garrard (3rd last year) who is pregnant with her second child.
Myriam Guillot-Boisset, an adventure racing world champ, was fourth last year and took home two majors this year. Lizzie Orchard, 5th last year, won three races and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour title this season.
Helena Erbenova won five races on the XTERRA European Tour and Michelle Flipo won the big ones at XTERRA Switzerland and the XTERRA European Championship in Germany. Carina Wasle added the XTERRA La Reunion title to her trophy shelf, Jacqui Slack won in Malaysia, and Julie Baker pulled out a win in her rookie pro season at XTERRA Beaver Creek.
This amazing collection of women accounted for 25 of the 30 major championship titles on the World Tour this year.
2016 XTERRA World Championship Elite Women
Tentative as of 9.30.16
Sorted by bib #, based on finishing position in last year’s WC then alpha
Bib (2015 Pos) – Name (NAT)
61 (1) - Flora Duffy (BER)
62 (2) - Lesley Paterson (GBR)
63 (4) - Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA)
64 (5) - Lizzie Orchard (NZL)
65 (6) - Carina Wasle (AUT)
66 (7) - Helena Erbenova (CZE)
67 (8) - Jacqui Slack (GBR)
68 (12) - Maia Ignatz (USA)
69 (13) - Kara LaPoint (USA)
70 - Julie Baker (USA)
71 - Mieko Carey (JPN)
72 - Katharine Carter (CAN)
73 - Caroline Colonna (USA)
74 - Michelle Flipo (MEX)
75 - Melania Giraldi (BRA)
76 - Sarah Graves (USA)
77 - Isabella Ribeiro (BRA)
78 - Morgane Riou (FRA)
79 - Barbara Riveros (CHI)
80 - Suzie Snyder (USA)
81 - Jennifer Todd (USA)
82 - Joanna Brown (CAN)
XTERRA will cover the elite race with live streaming video online, on Facebook, and on twitter starting at 9 a.m. on October 23, 2016.