“I expect pure fire, shoulder-to-shoulder shootouts, and not just for the win, but for every finishing position because the points matter.” - Sandra Mairhofer
The all-new XTERRA World Cup has the global triathlon community teeming with excitement to see the sports’ fastest off-road athletes go head-to-head on the toughest courses across three continents.
When the most prestigious off-road triathlon series on the planet opens April 15, 2023 at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Kenting, Taiwan, every elite man and woman in the top five of the XTERRA World Rankings will be there.
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.
“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,” - Ruben Ruzafa
“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.
"I think the most challenging part will be to be on top, to win at each [race] because everybody will be there all the time.” - Arthur Serrieres
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 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.” - Loanne Duvoisin
“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.”
It’s all the best, all year long, culminating at the XTERRA World Championship in Trentino, Italy on September 23, 2023.
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