XTERRA Czech Republic signified a milestone for our European warriors, reaching the halfway point of the 2018 Xterra Europe Tour. We still have 6 races left to run in Romania, Poland, Germany, Finland, Norway and Denmark! (The article was written during XTERRA Italy-Lake Scanno so those points are not counted in this review)
With a week’s break ahead XTERRA Romania, it’s time to look at the leader board to see who is in contention for the converted series titles across the Elite and Amateur athletes.
But how do the series points work?
In every race, the top 15 from each category are awarded points relative to their finishing position within their category. Silver level races offer 75 points for first place, whilst Gold level races offer an increased 100 points to reflect the increase in performance required to win at these more competitive events. Athletes can collect tour points at every race they attend, so it’s important to race often and race consistently if you want a chance to win the European Tour and the special Jersey.
Carina Wasle has done something amazing so far this year, 8 podium finishes from 8 starts (she missed only Cyprus) has given her a total 533 points to lead the series at this point. Carina has built a comfortable lead over second placed Brigitta Poor with 456 points who has won 5 XTERRAs so far this year! Helena Karaskova completes our current top 3. Helena has been managing her XTERRA racing alongside SWIM/RUN events, even so she has claimed 3 XTERRA wins and 3 podiums for 6 starts bringing in 424 points.
Nicole Walters has 378 points sits in fourth with 5 podiums from 6 races, we know that she will be racing a lot in the second part of the season to try to close the gap on the top three. With these four athletes racing often and placing consistently, it’s going to be hard for the other Elite women to catch up. Morgane Riou our winner in Belgium, is the next best placed women with 229 points. Maud Golsteyn, Ania Tomica, Cecilia Jessen and Diane Luethi make up the rest of the top 10.
With our Female Amateurs, we want to highlight those athletes who are fighting for the Euro tour jersey, leading their AG and with minimum 4 starts out of 9 races.
Marine Echevin from France has raced 4 events of the European Tour so far this year and is leading the 20/24 AG with 315 points ahead of Anne-Claire Defix from Team Tvert who has 224 points. Anne-Claire was our European Champion last year, which I’m sure she will want to defend! For Marine to keep the lead she’ll need to keep racing well.
XE: How important is to win the Euro title? Is this your first attempt?
Marine Echevin: This is my first year at XTERRA and its a real discovery. I am in a relationship with Mattias Gourgues who is also leading the AG 20/24. When I started in Greece this year, it was only to check this discipline and see what i could do with an MTB. But after wining my AG in the first attempt, I decided to fight and try to finish first in the general ranking of the Euro tour and of course race in Maui.
Lyne Dubois from Switzerland currently leads the 30/34 AG with 266 points in front of Maria Calleja from Spain with 209 points. Last year’s winner Delphine Guillot sits in 3rd position and will keep pushing hard in the second part of the season to try to win the Jersey again.
Vanessa Fernandez Vildueira From Spain is in first position for the 35/39 AG with 279 points. She has become stronger at every race and then won her AG in France. Second place is Miriam Gerber, a well-known competitor on the tour, with 209 points.
Alexandra Borrelly has a big lead in the 40/44 AG. Whilst she is managing the XTERRA/Organicoach Racing team, she is leading by example with 317 points over second placed Joana Fragata from Portugal with 173 points. Katarzyna Galewicz has moved up to 3rd place, she was second last year at the end of the tour and with some good results over the rest of the year can come back and challenge for the European Title.
XE: What makes XTERRA so unique?
Alexandra Borrelly: The connection with nature is something unique. I am coming from road triathlon and I was not good on the mountain bike when I started. But I loved the challenge after visiting all those beautiful places, with the amazing race courses in different terrains. From the Mediterranean sunny locations in the south to the high forests in the north, there is a race for people of every level.
Arthur Forissier from France is our Elite male tour leader after some great results with two wins and two second places. In past seasons, he would be in contention for the win at one race, only to be way behind the pace at the next, but now he is now starting to show some consistency in his racing. Arthur has a small lead of just 9 points over François Carloni, another Frenchman who with 298 points and a win at XTERRA Belgium is putting in a great season so far.
Third is Roger Serrano with 273 points, Roger has some big wins in 2018 but has also missed some racing in order to develop the XTERRA brand in Spain. With Max Chané in fourth and Arthur Serrieres in fifth there are four French in the top 5! With some exciting races still to come we look forward to seeing Team TVert and XTERRA/Organicoach Racing Team athletes fighting it out to become the European Tour Champion. Peter Lehmann from Germany is doing a good job with 5 scoring races leaving him in sixth place.
Ruben Ruzafa ‘The Boss’ has only raced three events, but big points from three wins is enough to put him into seventh place. Geert Lauryssen from Belgium is in eighth, Xavier Dafflon from Switzerland is in ninth, based on his form, he should be placed higher, but has struggled with mechanical problems at too many races. Marcello Ugazio our new Italian XTERRA star completes the top ten.
Age before beauty! Young Richie Schneider from USA, who is leading the 65/69 AG, retired from work this year and has enjoyed 8 events! Not all of them have gone smoothly, but every race has an entertaining story and he will race again this season for sure. With 415 points, nobody’s can catch him!
Armand Surviwilo from Poland is leading the 55/59 AG with 307 point, but if he looks over his shoulder he will see Raymond Ferry from France close behind. Raymond is a strong competitor and will not let Armand have the European Champion Jersey so easily.
David Boulous from France is way out in front of the 45/49 AG with more than double the points of second place. David’s season goal was to win the tour, and with 542 points he actually has the highest number of points of any athlete on the European tour, scoring in every event. An amazing achievement.
Anthony Maltete from France is our 40/44 AG leader with 238 points, but with two more frenchmen Romaric Delepine and Stephane Delicourt on 232 and 228 points respectively, the title race in this AG is really tight and at this point impossible to know who will win at the end of the Tour. You must keep fighting guys!
XE: Why XTERRA?
Anthony Maltete: Because I'm passionate about sports, I grow up in the country side and always explored the nature. I love discovering new playgrounds and beautiful landscapes, XTERRA brings me all that. I like the quality of every event I visited this year but also meeting other people, the family atmosphere in XTERRA.
Steve Ferguson from the UK is for sure an XTERRA character, he won the 35/39 AG Jersey last year and with 347 points so far this season, looks like he is doing the job again. Second placed Stefan Kumli from Switzerland is also doing the job too with 5 races also and 286 points.
Christopher Dupré from France and the XTERRA/Organicoach Racing Team has a good leading in the 25/29 AG with 236 points, double that of his nearest rival Pierre Roblot, so he can rest a little and chose which races to do next.
Mattias Gourgues, another French athlete is ahead in the 20/24 AG, however with only 248 points it will be not enough to keep this place for very long, with several races left to run Jonas Held is only 30 points back and will try his best to become the Tour Champion.
In the youngest category, Paris Felmann leads the 15/19 AG. Paris is From Luxembourg and also races with the XTERRA/Organicoach Racing Team. He won the Tour last year, a feat matched by his father Oliver! With 273 points he has a comfortable lead on second Timo Spitzhorn from Germany.
It is always nice to follow our XTERRA Family along the season. The different races, courses and countries decide our champions whilst athletes create lots of amazing moments for our sport. I look forward to seeing how the battle for the prestigious XTERRA tour champion jerseys develop over the next few races. So keep pushing, race hard and keep fighting for it!