For the last race of the season, the XTERRA Tribe takes to the beach on the small island of Ameland.
The 14th and final race of the 2019 XTERRA European Tour is Saturday, September 14, at XTERRA Netherlands. While new to XTERRA, the event has existed since 2002 and once hosted the ETU Cross Triathlon Championships.
There are 1,000 athletes on the start line, creating a vibrant setting for the series last stop.
The course is very different to other races on the tour. It starts at Nes Harbour where the swim and T1 is located, while T2 and the finish line are a short distance away further inland. The bike and run courses are fast and flat but with a lot of sand! With the second half of the bike course being entirely on the beach, racers will want want high volume tires to float over the soft, sandy surfaces.
Elite Women's Preview
After 13 events and with the overall tour victory already wrapped up by Helena Karaskova, the women's elite race has the feel of a low-pressure, super fun event. Nevertheless, tour regular Nicole Walters is on the start-line in a race that should suit her strengths, and with a win she could jump from 12th to 6th in the final rankings.
"I have no expectations for this race," said Walters. "This season has been very tough so I have focused on other things. I have a new job as a sports massage therapist and have been working hard with Race Off Road, our new UK based multisport team. I just want to have fun on Saturday and enjoy visiting another new place. Racing on sand will be a new experience for me."
Kate Bramley from Australia will also race in the Netherlands after recording a 10th place result at XTERRA Germany (finishing ahead of Walters). She will look forward to the possibility of her first XTERRA win, while local athlete Linda Van Vliet will complete the women’s field. Like Walters, Van Vliet was a guide in the Rio 2016 Paralympic triathlon and is a strong biker. She also won a cross triathlon in the Hague last weekend in similar sandy conditions, so is used to racing at the beach.
XTERRA Netherlands Elite Women
Elite Men Preview
Yeray Luxem will start as the favorite as he looks to complete the Benelux Triple following big wins at Belgium and Luxembourg. His performance in Rosport just two weeks ago indicates that he is currently enjoying some excellent form leading into the last race of the season.
"My goal for the season was to win XTERRA Belgium and Luxembourg," said Luxem. "Of course, I would love to win in the Netherlands as well but this race suits the bigger guys more than me. In any case, I am here to enjoy and give my best."
Jens Roth will look to prevent Luxem’s triple. The German is enjoying a strong run of form himself with big results at both Germany and Luxembourg. His tactic, as always, will be to swim as fast as he can and then hold the lead until the finish line.
"It’s the final race of the European season and it’s really nice to do something different in a new terrain next to the sea," said Roth. "I feel a little tired after six hard weeks of training and racing but I am ready to fight one more time for a good result."
Luxem will have an ally in Francois Carloni to chase down Roth. On paper, the Frenchman has the talent to beat both athletes on his day, but with a long season in the legs, Carloni will need a great day to win this weekend.
"I finally decided to come to the Netherlands when I saw that I could finish on the podium of the European Tour if I have a good result," said Carloni. "I did specific work the last two weeks for this race which doesn't seem to be to my advantage. But, I am in a good shape and I want to perform."
The next best chances for the podium come from Geert Lauryssen, Kris Coddens, and Doug Hall. Local representation comes from Erik Wosling, Patrick Dekkers, Victor Goene and Jorik Van Egdom with the latter a serious contender for the podium this weekend following a successful season racing the ITU WTS series.
XTERRA Netherlands Elite Men
XTERRA Netherlands is the last race of the year in Europe for amateurs as well, and as such many athletes have already secured XTERRA European Tour age group titles before the final race. Here's a sneak peak at your 2019 Champs, and we'll have the full list shortly after Saturday's race.
Age Group Women
|45-49||Emilie Le Fur||FRA|
Age Group Men
|35-39||Mathieu Feder Schwaner||FRA|
|40-44||Pascal Faivre Pierret||FRA|
For more info please visit www.xterra-netherlands.nl
Photo Credits: John Veenstra/Anja Brouwer