This week the XTERRA European Tour moves North to Aarhus, Denmark. This destination is no stranger to XTERRA, having previously been held here before the race moved to Mons Klint.
This week the XTERRA European Tour moves North to Aarhus, Denmark. This destination is no stranger to XTERRA, having previously been held here before the race moved to Mons Klint. Danish TV show, The Real Man, introduced lots of new athletes to XTERRA and Cross Triathlon has grown ever since.
This race will be number seven in the European Tour. It is a key race for some of our elite athletes as being ranked in the top 10 after this race will earn them free invitations to the remaining races this season. For those who are chasing points, this is their last chance.
2018 European Tour Champion and recent winner of XTERRA Tahiti and Cyprus Carina Wasle from Austria will be the favourite. She has had a crazy season so far with good results, but a big crash ended her race in Greece followed by mechanical problems in Malta. She had a great trip to race in Tahiti but was quite tired trying to race the following week in Belgium where she finished fourth. Hopefully she will be fully recovered and ready to race in Denmark.
"From XTERRA Tahiti to XTERRA Belgium followed by XTERRA Denmark means lots of travelling," said Wasle. "Three races in a row is hard and I'm not at my very Top at the moment. But everything was worth it and I'll give it all again for a good result before I rest up and prepare for the second half of the season."
Her principle rival and race favourite will be Helena Karasakova-Erbenova from the Czech Republic. Combining Swim Run events alongside XTERRA, Helena finished second in both Greece and Italy Lake Garda. She will be looking for her first victory of the season.
"Having fun and enjoying the races is the most important for me now," said Karaskova. "There are days I feel great and some others I feel empty. I haven't been to this event before and I am excited to see and explore new XTERRA locations"
The third spot on the podium will be wide open between 4 other elite women. Janni Spansberg from Denmark had a great race last Saturday to take 6th place in Belgium. This was her first elite race after winning her AG in Maui and placing second overall at XTERRA Norway 2018.
Young athlete Pauline Vie from Portugal is making great progress this season, she placed 3rd in her home race 2 weeks ago and is coming to Denmark to secure a spot in the top 10 of the overall rankings.
"I had a great race at home 2 weeks ago." said Vie. "I want to do my best in Denmark and have fun. I am really looking forward to see what will come out"
Anna Tomica from Poland will also be there for some big points. After a solid start to the race in Belgium she had a big crash and struggled to finish but she has shown big improvements this season. She is currently 3rd in the tour but will likely move up to 2nd. Heidi Thranum is the second local athlete. She was 7th last year at XTERRA Mons Klint and will try to improve on this position.
XTERRA Denmark Elite Women
XET Rank/’18 DNK Position - Name, NAT
|6||NR||Helena Karaskova Erbenova||CZE|
In the men's race we will see our new rising star from Portugal being once again the favourite of this race. Rui Dolores already has wins at XTERRA Malta and Portugal and is our current tour leader. In fact, he will keep his position even in the case of a DNF! If he can hold his form from the last 3 races, he will be hard to beat in XTERRA Denmark.
"After the victory in Portugal and rest last weekend, I arrive to Denmark motivated and prepared for another hard day of competition," said Dolores. "The race is in a different place from last year so it will be a novelty for all with no references.. I am curious to train there and adapt as best as possible to the characteristics of the courses to achieve a good final result. The European Tour is very interesting this year with different athletes winning races which will certainly be a fight for the points until the end. For now I'm happy to be in the lead but the bills are only made at the end with the best 8 results"
However, Peter Lehmann from Germany will try! He is a strong athlete, always racing close to the front, with a few trips to the podium, but has never hit that top step. Lehman had a mechanical in Malta and overheated in Portugal, so I imagine he has a lot of frustration right now and will want to prove to himself that he can win a XTERRA.
"I am feeling good," said Lehmann. "After Belgium I participated in an mtb race at my hometown and was impressed by myself. I will be in Aarhus and hopefully can show again a good race! The plan is to fight for the podium!"
The third athlete will have an extra motivation, Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen from Denmark races at home. He was 4th at XTERRA Cyprus this year and was 5th last year in Norway, this young strong mountain biker could be the surprise of the day and become the first Dane to win an XTERRA.
Kris Coddens from Belgium also has the potential to win this race if he is back at 100%. He showed us at XTERRA Greece that he was in good shape, but last week at XTERRA Belgium, he didn’t have the race he expected with a 19th place. Being an older athlete, sometimes it is harder to peak your fitness perfectly for the big races. So maybe we’ll see what Coddens is capable of this week.
"This was not the performance I was hoping for Belgium," said Coddens. "Until 10 days before de race I was having good results on training, but then I was suddenly totally empty. I tried to recover well, but I did not manage to find my good form. I'm still feeling very tired now so I will have to see how the next days develop".
Corentin Duclos will represent France, he was 11th last week in Belgium, in front of many good Elites and only 60secs behind Peter Lehmann, so on paper he could jump onto the podium for the first time.
Along those big names, 4 Danish Elite athletes will race, Jeppe Skovdjerg was 2nd in 20-24 at ITU Cross tri world in Denmark last year. Ole Hemme Hansen was 43rd in Pontevedra ITU Cross Tri worlds 2019. Karsten Detlefsen and Michael Hoi will also take part in the Elite field.
XTERRA Denmark Elite Men
XET Rank/’18 DNK Position - Name, NAT
|22||NR||Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen||DNK|
|NR||NR||Ole Hemme Hansen||DNK|
The water will be cold, it was 13°C a week ago, so be ready for a tough swim leg. For a more in-depth preview into the course and what to expect check our previous article here
More info at www.xterraplanet.com