Race number 13 on the European Tour takes us to a new challenge around the beautiful village of Rosport in Luxembourg.
The latest addition to the Euro Tour comes from a collaboration between the organizers of XTERRA Belgium, Florian and Dennis, and XTERRA athlete Olivier Fellmann, a previous European Tour age group champion.
"Olivier is a successful chef and the associate owner of seven restaurants in Luxembourg, so I am sure that with the expertise, passion and knowledge of the organizing team we will have a great event," said XTERRA Europe director Nico Lebrun. "And the race itself will be challenging with a tough bike loop including technical singletrack and a good amount of climbing."
In the women's elite race tour points leader Helena Karaskova has had a solid year with wins in Denmark, Italy, Lake Scanno, and Germany, and one more good race could secure her overall victory in the tour.
"I feel little bit tired after the last two races," said Karaskova. "I had to fight a lot for a good result and now my body is empty. But I am looking forward to explore this new location and enjoy the inaugural event in Rosport. I hope I will have the power for another great performance"
Karaskova's main rival for this race will be the young french athlete, Alizée Paties. Paties was second in France, only losing out to our European XTERRA Champion Morgane Riou. Alizée is focusing on Maui this year and having not raced much this year, will likely be fresh and ready.
"I had a little break after XTERRA France so I’m feeling relaxed and ready to comeback" said Paties. "I just want to measure my feelings and enjoy the first edition of XTERRA in Luxembourg! It’ll be my last race before Maui and I’m excited about that".
Nicole Walters is also racing; and is getting better with every race after finishing 18th in Czech and 12th in Germany.
"She will be stronger again for this race and fight for longer at the front,' said Lebrun. "And I also like Lizzie Orchard, who was not able to finish in Germany due to a mechanical on the bike, because we know she is fast when she's healthy. She was third at XTERRA Worlds last year, so hopefully she can have a good race in Luxembourg and build some confidence for the end of the season."
With a good race in Luxembourg and in the Netherlands on September 14, Janni Spansberg can earn some good points to secure a top 10 spot on the Euro Tour.
"And we are also happy to have Louise Fox back racing with us," said Lebrun. "This is her first XTERRA race in two years after becoming a mother."
"I don’t have any expectations, just to enjoy racing XTERRA again, do my best, and hope to do myself justice in the pro field" said Fox. "It’s been challenging to get strong again after having a baby, but worth it all! I’m happy that my son is here to cheer me on, and it will be the best reward to see his face after I cross the finish line"!
XTERRA Luxembourg Elite Women
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In the men's elite race there is a battle brewing for the Tour title. Current points leader Arthur Serrieres just needs an average scoring race to maintain his lead on the tour, however, he is the European Champion, he won in Germany, and his run form is unbeatable, so expect him to race for the win regardless of what he might say...
"I had one week break after Germany," said Serrieres. "Now I am fully focused on Maui and I'm going to Luxembourg so I can win the European Tour. I am not prepared for this race so I just hope for a place on the podium."
One athlete Arthur will have to chase down for sure is Jens Roth. Roth is the faster swimmer and will be full of confidence after his second-place finish in Germany, and with Luxembourg being only 30 minutes from his hometown, the travel part was easy.
"I am ready for XTERRA Luxembourg," said Roth. "It’s nice to have a race so close to my hometown in Trier. My team, my friends, my fans will be here on Sunday to support me and I’m ready to show them another good performance like I had in Zittau."
Yeray Luxem is another solid contender for the podium. He won XTERRA Belgium and with his solid swim and bike and a fast run, it could be hard for Serrieres to catch him.
XTERRA Cyprus winner Filippo Rinaldi from Italy makes his comeback after a break to recover from mononucleosis. He might not be 100% yet but he will be happy to be back. He is currently ranked 12 in the tour so a good finish here will get him back in the top 10.
Kris Coddens is also racing again after he broke his foot following his win at XTERRA Denmark. We don’t know if he will be 100% fit but he should be well rested and full of fighting spirit.
Xavier Dafflon and Rui Dolores are currently second and third in the tour. They have both already raced eight events, so their goal will be to improve on one of their lower results. After a fourth place finish in Germany, Xavier is racing really strong, so it won’t be a surprise to see him on the podium.
"I can't believe that it is probably my last XTERRA race for 2019, at least in Europe," said Dafflon. "I still have not decided if I will race in Maui this year. My goal for XTERRA Luxembourg is to discover a new place and cross the finish line with a big smile on my face to reflect my great season!"
Doug Hall is currently ranked 10th on the tour after a series of strong races. He should be back in good shape following a DNF in Germany due to a calf injury. Also, Peter Lehmann, who is currently 7th in the ranking and Samuel Jud who is 9th, will try to hold their position while Geert Lauryssen in 13th looks for big points so he can move up in the rankings.
XTERRA Luxembourg Elite Men
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For more info visit www.xterra-luxembourg.lu