XTERRA is headed down under for the first time since 2019 when the third stop on the 2023 Asia-Pacific Tour rolls into the southwest coastal town of Dunsborough, Western Australia this weekend.
The race will award $7,500 USD equally to the top 5 men and women elite competitors and $2,400AUD to the top three Triathlon WA members. It will also award valuable points for amateurs chasing XTERRA APAC Tour titles, along with 26 qualifying spots into the XTERRA World Championship to the winners of each age group.
Samantha Kingsford (NZL), currently sixth in the XTERRA World Rankings, headlines the women’s elite race and following a runner-up performance at her hometown race in Rotorua two weeks ago, is hoping to finish on the top step for the first time since winning the XTERRA USA Championship race in 2021.
“The mountain bike trails on offer at this race is what made me want to compete here,” said Kingsford, who won the XTERRA Pan American Tour title in 2019. “This is the kind of riding and course design that I love, it’s real mountain biking and perfect for XTERRA. And who wouldn’t want to race in a destination where the beaches look this amazing too!”
The off-road triathlon starts with a 1.5-kilometer swim in the turquoise waters of Geographe Bay, follows with a 28km mountain bike race through the roller coaster singletrack trails in Meelup Regional Park, and finishes with a 10km coastal trail run.
Kingsford will have her hands full with home country favorites Kate Bramley, the 2020 XTERRA Wellington Champ, and Kristen Gadsdon, a WA native who dominates the local adventure racing scene.
In the men’s chase, World No. 9 Sam Osborne (NZL) is gunning for his second victory of the early season after a win in Wellington to start the year.
“I’m really keen to support events down this side of the world,” said Osborne, who has 20 XTERRA World Tour wins to his credit. “Australia has some great trails and I know Dunsborough was the last stage of the Cape to Cape MTB stage race so it sounds like it’s got all the makings to be a really awesome course.”
Osborne will be up against an Aussie legend, Ben Allen, the 2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion, who has traveled all over the world racing XTERRA in his illustrious career.
“The sport has taken me to places I never would have thought possible and it's been a fantastic experience,” said Allen, the 2012 XTERRA Warrior award winner along with his wife, Jacqui, who is also a professional triathlete.
“It’s hectic in the Allen household at the moment, however, with my job in the underground mines and Jacqui 36 weeks pregnant,” said Allen. “But Dunsborough is a beautiful spot, I love racing on the west coast, Rapid Ascent always puts together a tough and challenging course, and I enjoy racing outside my comfort zone."
A pair of XTERRA newcomers from Australia, Tyla Windham and Zeke Tinley, are also hoping to do well outside their comfort zones on Sunday, as is veteran Taylor Charlton.
The weekend of events, held in partnership with the team from Rapid Ascent, Australia’s leading adventure sports event management company, also includes a short course option, Aquathlon, and adventure races just for kids.
"We are super excited to be bringing XTERRA back to Australia,” said Sam Maffett, Rapid Ascent’s General Manager. “The course in Dunsborough is simply spectacular and will showcase the best of the Australian coastline with a crystal clear ocean swim, single track MTB through the hinterland, and a technical coastal run. It’s off-road triathlon at its best."
Two Weeks to Taiwan for the XTERRA World Cup Season Opener
The most prestigious off-road triathlon series on the planet opens April 15, 2023 at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Kenting with every elite man and woman in the top five of the XTERRA World Rankings on the start line.
Moreover, 10 of the top 15 men and 10 of the top 20 women finishers from last year’s XTERRA World Championship race are traveling to Taiwan for the first of seven stops on the World Cup circuit.
“It’s going to be intense to have all the best XTERRA triathletes from every region at the same races chasing the same goal, all season long,” said Ruben Ruzafa, a seven-time world champion from Spain.
In creating the ultimate series to lure the best athletes to the biggest stages, for the first-time in the 27-year history of XTERRA, all the tour prize money from the Americas, European, and Asia-Pacific regions was put into one big pot to set-up a dozen epic showdowns from April to September.
“It’s good for the sport, great for the spectators, and even better for the athletes to have the best compete against each other over a variety of different courses and formats,” said XTERRA’s top ranked female, Sandra Mairhofer from Italy. “I expect pure fire, shoulder-to-shoulder shootouts, and not just for the win, but for every finishing position because the points matter.”
Indeed, every race counts, because to win the World Cup elites have to score big by adding their best four point scores from the first six full-distance races with their best three Short Track scores, and then count whatever they get (or don’t get) at XTERRA Worlds.
“Every race is going to be extremely competitive because everyone will be racing to win or finish as close to the front as possible to get the maximum amount of points,” said Suzie Snyder, the reigning and five-time XTERRA U.S. Champion who is one of 30 elites from 15 countries racing in Taiwan.
They’ll also be extremely competitive because all the best XTERRA athletes are racing, including reigning XTERRA World Champions Arthur Serrieres and Solenne Billouin from France who are at the forefront of a dominating contingent of European elites that hold 8 of the top 10 spots on both the men and women’s leaderboards heading into the World Cup opener.
“Serrieres has to be the favorite when you look at what he achieved last year,” said Sebastien Carabin from Belgium, noting that Serrieres has won 16 of the 17 full-distance XTERRA races he’s done over the last two years.
The Americas region is well represented with the aforementioned Suzie Snyder on the women’s side, and for the men, former Olympian Francisco Serrano from Mexico, 2015 XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh and his son, Sullivan, who won the XTERRA USA Championship last year and now trains with USA Triathlon’s Project Podium team which is designed to develop future Olympic medalists.
Maeve Kennedy from Australia made a big statement early in 2023 with a pair of pre-cup wins in New Zealand against Asia-Pacific region standouts Lizzie Orchard and Samantha Kingsford, and all three of those women will look to break into the formidable EU line-up of stars on the World Cup.
For the APAC men, Sam Osborne (NZL) will be waiting to defend his title at XTERRA Oak Mountain when the World Cup rolls into Alabama in May, and 2018 Pan Am Tour Champ Kieran McPherson is ready for action.
To make things even more interesting, each race dishes out a different challenge, catering to the skills of some while crushing others, from the heat and humidity of Taiwan to the thin air of the Rockies at 11,000-feet in Colorado.
And triathlon fans will get to watch a lot of the action as it happens, with gripping coverage of the five XTERRA Short Track races streamed live on xterraplanet.com.
“I think the World Cup will really help the development of our sport, attracting new competitors, and also from a media point of view, when the races are broadcast, it is more attractive for the spectators to see a high and homogeneous level of racing,” said Loanne Duvoisin from Switzerland, the 2022 XTERRA Short Track Series Champion. “I think the spectators will have more fun this year as they get to know all the top athletes, who they’ll get to see at every race, and make real connections.”
2023 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Elite Start List
Elite Men XWR - Name, NAT
1 - Arthur Serrieres, FRA
2 - Ruben Ruzafa, ESP
3 - Arthur Forissier, FRA
4 - Felix Forissier, FRA
5 - Sebastien Carabin, BEL
6 - Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DEN
7 - Maxim Chane, FRA
8 - Lukas Kocar, CZE
15 - Xavier Dafflon, SUI
19 - Kieran McPherson, NZL
24 - Michele Bonacina, ITA
38 - Dominik Wychera, AUT
62 - Andres Carnevali del Castillo, ESP
85 - Paris Fellman, LUX
119 - Taylor Charlton, AUS
NR - Kohei Yamamoto, JPN
NR - Yen Ching Chiang, TWN
Elite Women XWR - Name, NAT
1 - Sandra Mairhofer, ITA
2 - Solenne Billouin, FRA
3 - Loanne Duvoisin, SUI
4 - Alizee Paties, FRA
5 - Marta Menditto, ITA
13 - Carina Wasle, AUT
15 - Suzie Snyder, USA
21 - Lizzie Orchard, NZL
28 - Georgia Grobler, RSA
46 - Kate Bramley, AUS
NR - Jessie Koltz, USA
NR - Johandri Leicester, RSA
NR - Chi Wen Wang, TWN
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