The 8th edition of XTERRA Greece will take place this Saturday, October 16 at Vouliagmeni, Athens. After a COVID-19 induced break in 2020, and postponement from its original date in April this year, XTERRA athletes can’t wait to line-up once again at one of the favorite destinations in the off-road triathlon series.
From the crystal-clear blue waters of the gulf of Vouliagmeni, which hosted the triathlon venue for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, to the beautiful scenery and amazing views of the Saronic Gulf during the bike and run course, this event has it all and with everything from cross-aquathlon to open water swimming races, there is something for everyone.
In the full distance race, elite athletes will also be battling it out across the 1,500m swim, 30km mountain bike and 10km trail run. Here is who to look out for in Greece this weekend:
After a phenomenal race at the XTERRA Trentino Cross Triathlon European Championship in September, Panagiotis Bitados is the one to watch at the weekend. Finishing 3rd in the men’s elite race, the talented athlete will also have the home advantage and be looking to see if he can be the first Greek to win an XTERRA elite race.
He said, “XTERRA Greece is very special to me. This is where it all started some years ago! It is all athletes dream to win at home and it would be amazing if I could do that. Of course, anything can happen in XTERRA but I hope everything will go well for me on Saturday.”
Speaking about the event, he added, “Vouliagmeni is such a beautiful place. It is one of the few races on the calendar that is next to a big city with easy access for both national and foreign athletes. It combines an amazing swim in clear waters with a fast-rolling course on the bike which includes some technical parts and a challenging run course with some steep climbs.”
One of his main contenders on Saturday will be Jens Roth, who is currently 17th in the XTERRA World Ranking. As one of the fastest swimmers in the series, Roth will set the pace for the day and try to hold off the hunters.
He said, “I am not in my best shape, but I am really looking forward to returning to Vouliagmeni. I have good memories from racing the course in 2017 and 2018. The rocky underground on the bike and run, plus the two-loop course is really cool and what I like.”
Speaking about his lead-up to the event, Roth said, “I really enjoyed my holidays through France, Andorra and Spain. I was a bit tired from two injuries I had in 2020, plus the pandemic. I raced Ventouxman and Challenge Salou, just to have some good training during my time on holidays. But I noticed that I really miss XTERRA and I think XTERRA misses me too. I will give everything I can.”
Elite Men’s Start List
World R Name Surname Country
11 Panagiotis Bitados GRC
17 Jens Roth DEU
37 Frederico Spinazze ITA
63 Samuel Jud CHE
107 Gaetan Vivien FRA
118 Tim Van Daele BEL
123 Andres Carnevalli ESP
NR Tomasz Szala POL
In the elite women’s race, Solenne Billouin heads up the start list but is still struggling with injury so may turn her efforts to support duty for partner and elite athlete, Gaetan Vivien.
With athletes such as Carina Wasle, Jindriska Zemanova, and Marta Menditto also on the start list, it could be anyone’s game. After crashing out of the race in April 2019, Wasle will be looking for redemption on the course but with a challenging run course, the Italian athlete, Menditto, could come out on top here.
She said, “I am really happy to be here as I have wanted to do this race for a few years now. This place is absolutely beautiful, and the food is really good! I think the bike could be quick but you will have to push hard without any respite. The run is really hard, and I think I will like it, but we will see on Saturday, ask me after the race!”
Menditto added, “I feel like this race is like a final preparation for the XTERRA World Championship in December so while I have a bigger training volume right now and working towards that goal, I am really wanting to race well here in Greece. I am looking forward to battling with the strong girls and I will do my best as always!”
Elite Women’s Start List
World R Name Surname Country
12 Solenne Billouin FRA
15 Carina Wasle AUT
18 Marta Menditto ITA
25 Jindriska Zemanova CZE
26 Matilde Bolzan ITA
98 Maud Golsteyn NLD
111 Louise Fox GBR
259 Lara Buttigieg MLT
All-Time XTERRA Greece Elite Champions
|2013||Ben Allen||Helena Erbenova|
|2014||Francois Carloni||Kathrin Mueller|
|2015||Kris Coddens||Helena Erbenova|
|2016||Roger Serrano||Helena Erbenova|
|2017||Ruben Ruzafa||Helena Erbenova|
|2018||Arthur Forissier||Nicole Walters|
|2019||Arthur Forissier||Lesley Paterson|