Everything You Need to Know About XTERRA Short Track

It’s the most explosive series on the circuit; raced by the best of the best, fuelled by pure adrenaline, and streamed live from the heart of 4 packed and pulsating race venues. Undoubtedly the biggest season yet, with more rounds, more prize money, and a starting line stacked with racing talent, this is one you don’t want to miss. So with just days to go to round 1, here’s everything you need to know about XTERRA Short Track 2022.

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Summary
01

What is XTERRA Short Track?

For the uninitiated, Short Track is the most intense, thrilling, fan-friendly race format to be added to the XTERRA series. Designed to deliver pure action for racers and spectators, Short Track brings all the thrills and spills of the XTERRA triathlon directly into the race venue, condensing the action of the swim, bike, and run stages into one fast-paced, full-gas, elite-only sprint directly in front of a live crowd. Over in under 40 minutes, every section is crucial, every corner counts, and the win is decided by a fraction of a second.

No two tracks are exactly the same, but expect a lightning-fast 2x200m swim, a 7-8km MTB section packed with features, and a 2.5-3km foot race to the finish.

The concept was first tested in Czech in 2019 and was immediately a massive hit with the thousands of fans watching live and tuning in via live stream. This year will see 4 rounds in 4 separate countries as the series brings even more hype and flair to the biggest XTERRA events of the year, with stops in France, Czech, and Germany before culminating at the 2022 XTERRA World Championship in Trentino.

And sure to add more fuel to the fire will be the €200,000 in prize money up for grabs over the 4 events.

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Who races and how do they qualify?

Short track is an elite-only event, with 25 of the best male racers and 25 of the best female racers going head to head for the prize purse. And while qualifications are still underway, you can expect an electric mix of big names, local threats, and young guns going full blast from start to finish.

Qualification for each round largely depends on whether the race takes place the day before or the day after the XTERRA full-distance triathlon of the same event. The majority of the racers of each round will qualify through their overall XTERRA World Ranking or through their ranking in the previous day’s full-distance triathlon, but additional wild cards will also be given to local racers, young guns, and Short Track specialists likely to shake up the status quo.

Qualification for R1, France

Total racers: 25 men and 25 women
Qualification breakdown: 20 overall top-ranked athletes in attendance, 5 wild cards

Qualification for R2, Czech

Total racers: 25 men and 25 women
Qualification breakdown: 20 top finishers of XTERRA Czech full-distance triathlon, 3 top finishers of the under 23 sprint triathlon, 2 wild cards

Qualification for R3, Germany

Total racers: 25 men and 25 women
Qualification breakdown: 20 overall top-ranked athletes in attendance, 5 wild cards

Qualification for R4, Italy

Total racers: 25 men and 25 women
Qualification breakdown: A combination of the top 15 World Championship finishers who are ranked in the top 10 of the Short Track series, remaining slots will be issued as wild cards

See the current XTERRA World Rankings here.

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Who to look out for this season

With the racing season still so young it’s impossible to know who exactly will be on the Short Track starting line. And with the depth of talent in 2022, it’s even harder to predict who’ll be on the podium. But there are a lot of names with all the right skills and credentials to be considered a serious threat in the 2022 series.

Top Women Contenders:

The women’s series will be nothing short of a showdown, with a strong European contingent in the form of Sandra Mairhofer, Solenne Billouin, Marta Mentido, Loanne Duvoisin, Diede Diederiks, Jindriska Zemanova, Alizee Paties, Morgane Riou, and Laura Philipp in with a good chance to take the series at the first ever European XTERRA World Championship.

But they may need to find their way past by 2021 XTERRA USA champ, Samantha Kingsford, and reigning XTERRA World Champion and Olympic champion, Flora Duffy.

Hailing from Switzerland, Duvoisin had a breakthrough year in 2021 with a silver medal at the XTERRA World Championships and a big win at the ITU Cross Tri worlds. Equally strong across Swim, Mountain bike and Run she is physically more than up to the task to be at the front of the race, but has she improved her technical skills after her big crash and DNF in the Czech short track in 2021?

The Kiwi sure hasn’t relocated to Europe for a holiday. Kingsford will swim in the front pack and look to use her technical skills honed in the bike parks of Rotorua to carve out a lead which she’ll hope to hang onto over the run leg.

The 2022 XTERRA Greece winner has some serious technical skills and has been working hard bringing her fitness up to match - evidenced by her win at Vouliagmeni Beach. The Frenchwoman will look to minimise her losses in the swim before putting the hammer down on the bike - forcing the others into making mistakes as they try to follow her over the technical short track features.

The ever consistent Italian is a threat for the win whenever she toes the line. The supreme mountain biker has been working on her swim and run and will surely feature in the Short Track 2022 season. With the final round taking place in Italy, at the venue where she won the European Championships, she will be motivated for another world class performance on home turf.

With a trio of XTERRA tour wins to her name, Billouin is a name to look out for this season. A deadly bike/run combination will bring her back into contention after her weakest discipline. With the Short Track series opener taking place in France, she will be fired up and ready to put on a show for her home crowd.

Top Men Contenders:

Equally as stacked and impossible to pick, there is a long list of previous and former male champs, up-and-comers, and local threats that stand just as much chance of being on top of the podium as any other.

All eyes will surely be on the Arthur Forissier vs Arthur Serrieres clash, but they could also be up against big names such as Lukas Kocar, Ruben Ruzafa, Maxim Chané, Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, Sam Osborne, Patanagiotis Bitatos or even Bradley Weiss if he takes part.

Without a doubt the most dominant athlete in XTERRA racing right now. The fast running Frenchman has placed at least 3rd in every XTERRA he's finished since 2019. Serrieres has improved his swim in 2022, reducing his only possible weakness. If he is within 60 secs of the race lead, even in Short Track it’ll be difficult for anyone to stay in front.

The Frenchman has won more XTERRA Short Track races than he has lost, which surely puts him as the favourite for any race he starts. Forissier’s ability to stay calm and relaxed regardless of the situation should give him an edge in the unpredictable and sometimes crazy world of Short Track racing. One of the few athletes to have beaten Serrieres in the last 3 years.

The Boss can never be discounted. Perhaps not as dominant in recent years of racing, he can still turn it on when it counts - a podium finish at the 2021 XTERRA World Championship will attest to that. We haven’t seen him race yet in 2022 but expect him to use all of his years of experience to take it to the next generation.

Mixing things up between XTERRA and road triathlon in 2022, we are seeing a new mature Chane on the startline. With his trademark swim speed and world-class bike handling, the young Frenchman can rely on his ability and not just his enthusiasm.

The New Zealander has made the trip to Europe for another season and will get his first taste of Short Track racing in 2022. Coming from an ITU background he should transition to the fast and furious racing style with ease. MTB skills honed on the trails of Rotorua should help, but will he have the foot speed to match the Europeans?

04

All the venues and dates to save

The series is made up of 4 rounds, each forming part of some of the biggest events of the XTERRA season. So if you’re in the area, get there and get ready to make some noise. But if not, sign up here to get notified when the live stream starts.

Round 1 - France, Xonrupt - Saturday, July 2 @16:20 CEST

The first round kicks off at one of the most prestigious races in the European series, with an expected 5000 people on site to contribute to a roaring track-side atmosphere. Included in the track is the infamous bike park that has been built inside the venue over the past few years, with plenty of wooden ramps and berms to up the action, speed, and adrenaline for athletes and spectators.

Round 2 - Czech Republic, Prachatice - Sunday, August 14 @08:50 CEST

The spiritual home of XTERRA Short Track. Held the day after the 2022 XTERRA European Championships, the top 20 finishers from the male and female races and fastest Under 23 athletes from the sprint race will find themselves on the starting line for the second round of the series, along with 2 wild card contenders.

Round 3 - Germany, Zittau - Friday, August 19 @15:20 CEST

Just 6 days after Czech, the series heads to the shore of the Olbersdorfer See where historical mining works have left a literal off-road playground, with short steep banks, natural drops, and plenty of singletrack all within a clear view for the thousands of expected spectators.

Round 4 - Italy Trentino - Sunday October 2 @TBD

The series finishes with a serious bang at the first ever European XTERRA World Championship in Trentino, Italy. Staged in the presence of the staggering Dolomites on a weekend of world-class, off-road racing, the atmosphere will be nothing short of electric and the event historic.

And with only the best athletes in the world standing shoulder to shoulder at the starting line, this all-out sprint for the €10,000 prize money and for those all-important points to secure the €20,000 series bonus could not be better suited as the final act of an epic event, series, and season.

05

How to watch via live stream

For those not at the event, all the action of all 4 rounds will be broadcast direct and for free via live stream. Sign up here to get all the live links sent directly to you along with series updates and event reminders, or follow the event pages here:

[LIVE] XTERRA Short Track - France
[LIVE] XTERRA Short Track - Czech Republic
[LIVE] XTERRA Short Track - Germany
[LIVE] XTERRA Short Track - Italy

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XTERRA

Spread throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific, the XTERRA content team is a passionate group of racers, writers, photographers, and videographers working to capture the endless adventure of the XTERRA Planet.

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