The XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series schedule boasts two iconic beach races this weekend with XTERRA Netherlands on Wadden Island this Saturday, September 11, and XTERRA Laguna Beach in Southern California on Sunday, September 12.
In Ameland, the adventure begins in the Wadden Sea before mountain biking and running through the woods and across the beach and sand dunes that are part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“It’s a stunning backdrop and a favorite among athletes who have had the opportunity to race this unique course,” said XTERRA Europe director Nicolas Lebrun.
In the women’s elite race, Dutch standout Diede Diederiks is looking forward to racing on home soil following her XTERRA debut in Germany last month where she won the Short Track race and finished second in the full distance XTERRA European Championship.
“Off-road triathlon is a relatively small discipline in the Netherlands, so it always makes me proud to see other women racing here and I look forward to being part of it and racing amongst some very strong girls. Of course, I would love to do well in my home country, but my main focus is to have fun,” said Diederiks, who won Ironman 70.3 Warsaw last weekend.
Speaking about the course, Diederiks added, “Every XTERRA or off-road race is a new adventure to me. We are using natural trails and obstacles to race so each environment is different and can differ from day to day or depending on the weather, this makes it very exciting as your prepared plan can always change. This course will be challenging due to the swim being in the sea, followed by some of the bike and run on the sand. It is a totally different than XTERRA Germany, which was more technical. This weekend will be more of a race against the elements!”
Diederiks will be challenged by Linda van Vliet (NLD), who was second at this race in 2019, along with XTERRA veterans Carina Wasle (AUT) and Jindriska Zemanova (CZE).
In the men’s elite race, Dutchman Jorik van Egdom will line-up as one of the favorites. Not only is he the defending XTERRA Netherlands champion from 2019, but he has also enjoyed a successful season across the sport. Just back from finishing 4th at the Tokyo Olympics as part of the Mixed Relay Team, he is also the reigning Dutch Champion in Olympic and Sprint distance triathlon.
“I am very excited to return to one of the most beautiful races on the XTERRA circuit and I really hope that I will be able to defend my title,” said van Egdom. “I am very happy with my shape at the moment, and I am looking forward to racing.”
When asked about the course, he added, “My favorite part of the course is the tactical part on the beach where lines, directions, tires, and tire pressures are all important things to consider and wrong choices will have a big impact.”
“In my opinion, the toughest part of the XTERRA Netherlands course is the run. You can really overdo it on the bike if you are not careful, and then to have a hard and technical run off the back of that can be very challenging.”
Geert Lauryssen (BEL) will be one of his toughest competitors on Saturday. Having finished second at XTERRA Netherlands in 2019, Lauryssen will be ready to battle for the top spot on Saturday. Francois Carloni (FRA) will also return, after rounding out the podium with third place finish here in 2019.
The XTERRA Netherlands course could be one to suit Belgian athletes, due to a strong mountain bike and cyclocross background over similar terrain. Therefore, Tim van Daele (BEL) and Yeray Luxem (BEL) will also be ones to look out for, while Wouter Dijkshoorn (NLD) may also surprise with a strong performance in Ameland after winning a cross triathlon in Renkum, Netherlands earlier in the month.