XTERRA Euro Tour Heats Up in Malta this Saturday

Defending XTERRA European Tour Champions Francois Carloni and Carina Wasle are the heavy favorites at XTERRA Malta, the third stop on the 2019 tour.

May. 14, 2019

The XTERRA European Tour gets back in action at XTERRA Malta this Saturday, which is the first of five races over the next five weeks. After Malta comes XTERRA Lake Garda (Italy) on May 26, XTERRA Portugal on June 1, XTERRA Belgium on June 8, and XTERRA Denmark on June 16.

Carloni XTERRA

Reigning XTERRA European Tour men’s elite champion Francois Carloni from France highlights the men’s field.

“I feel like I’ve recovered from the Cape Epic MTB race and I’m ready to race XTERRA properly,” said Carloni.  “After racing ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds (11th), I took one easy week and now the sensations are good. I’m very excited to be back in Malta, this is my third time here. I like this race, especially the mountain bike loop.”

Carloni finished 4th in Malta last year, and later won XTERRA Belgium and the Tour title, so he knows that if his winter training pays off, he has a serious chance to win this race.

The Frenchman will not have an easy day, however, as Maximilian Sasserath from Germany finished in front of him in Malta last year and was also better in Greece just three weeks ago.

“After finishing second and third in Malta over the last few years my goal is to finish on the podium again,” said Sasserath.  “After a solid race in Greece, a good ITU race 10 days later (12th) and then a local team race on the road last Sunday, I am looking forward to another good performance. Maybe it will be good enough to claim the top step. This year, staying healthy is as important as a result because I had to finish my season after last year's race here due to injury.” 

Other top contenders for the top step include Geert Lauryssen from Belgium and Jens Roth from Germany.

“It’s nice to be back with my XTERRA family, I can’t wait to race with my friends again,” said Roth.  “This winter I changed my weekly routine and I’ve done 25 consistent weeks including a training camp on Gran Canaria with the Ironman World Champion, Patrick Lange.”

Roth is one of the sports best swimmers and will likely lead the swim with as much as a 60-second advantage and look to keep this lead as long as possible.

For Lauryssen, it’s all about the bike.  He has previously posted the fastest bike split in Malta, so will be confident he can ride to the front before the second lap and make his move.

Samuel Jud from Switzerland, who is currently third in the European Tour standings after two solid races in Cyprus and Greece, has the opportunity to take the lead in the series with a good performance.

Portugal’s Rui Dolores is also in the mix. He finished 6th last year on the Tour and on a good day will find his way into the top five. The XTERRA Malta run loop is difficult and will suit him well.

“This is my second time in beautiful Malta. The course is demanding but fun to race,” said Dolores.  “Lots of rocks, long descents and technical uphills make for a great challenge. I started my winter training a bit later this season and as a result, I felt far from my best in Cyprus. I’ve trained well in the last couple of weeks and I feel the improvement already, so I hope to have a good performance and have fun in Malta.” 

Peter Lehmann from Germany, who was 3rd last year in the final tour standings, has been traveling the world with his girlfriend and creating great memories.  He’s hoping all those good times will lead to a podium performance on Saturday.

Carina Wasle XTERRA

In the women’s elite race Carina Wasle, who is currently second in the Euro Tour standings following a win at XTERRA Cyprus, hopes she has recovered from the knee injury she suffered during a bike crash at XTERRA Greece.

“During the last three weeks, I’ve tried everything to recover as quickly as possible,” said Wasle, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champion. “The good news is I can swim and bike again, the bad news is I can’t run at all. But I will be in Malta and try to do my best.” 

Even though she is carrying an injury, we are quite certain that with a solid swim and bike, if Wasle can run she will win this race and take the lead in the European Tour standings. 

Her competition comes from Maria Doring of Germany. Doring finished 10th at XTERRA Cyprus this year and an excellent 8th at the 2018 European Champs. She may well believe Saturday could be her day given Wasle’s unknown condition.

Other contenders include Adriana Klimkova from the Czech Republic. Malta will be the first race in the elite division for this young athlete, so she brings in a bit of the unknown to the women’s race.  

Find images and race updates on Facebook.com/XTERRAEurope.

Elite Men

2019 XTERRA Euro Tour Rank/2018 Malta Place – Name, NAT
3/NR - Samuel Jud, CHE

7/6 - Geert Lauryssen, BEL

9/13 - Andrea Giuseppe Zanega, ITA

11/3 - Maximilian Sasserath, DEU

12/4 - François Carloni,FRA

17/9 - Rui Dolores, PRT

NR/10 - Peter Lehmann, DEU

NR/NR - Jens Roth, DEU

Elite Women 

2019 XTERRA Euro Tour Rank/2018 Malta Place – Name, NAT

2/2 - Carina Wasle, AUT

13/NR - Maria Doring, DEU

NR/NR - Adriana Klimkova, CZE

Learn more at xterraplanet.com/malta.

Watch GTN’s documentary on Mark’s first XTERRA race at Malta last year here.

European Tour