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Triathlon: International All-Star Cast of Pros within Utah for XTERRA Nationals

September 13th, 2013

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This year’s XTERRA USA Championship race will feature 55 pros, making it the deepest and also arguably strongest elite field within race history.

It provides everyone ranked in the top 10 of the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series minus only Will Kelsay, who was hit by a car while riding his bike a few weeks ago ( heal fast Will ). It features 3 of the top four men and 4 of the top five women from XTERRA Worlds last year and collectively, this bunch has won 34 of the 48 XTERRA World Tour championship titles this season.

Exactly where typically there are a handful of racers having a legitimate shot of winning, this year there are at least seven men and 7 women who could be considered favorites.

Let’s start with the men. Protecting champ Josiah Middaugh has been burning since winning his first USA? Tournament in September last year. He followed that career highlight with a 2nd-place finish behind Javier Gomez at kunne XTERRA Worlds in October then pulled off three straight wins this year at the West, Southeast, and Mountain Championship races. He’s a proven climber, and the Utah course suits his strengths with plenty of uphill on both the bike and run he is able to use to reel in the faster swimmers.

Interestingly, when Middaugh won the 20-24 national championship as an amateur back in 2002 having been quoted as saying, “excited to visit pro, not sure if I can keep develop those guys now but realistically I won’t hit my maximum for another 10 years. ” South Africa ’s Conrad Stoltz seemingly hit his peak more than a decade ago when he earned the first of his seven rough-road triathlon world championships, but remarkably he keeps on getting faster. After having a bumpy start to the season – an accident causing a deep cut in his hand at the West Champs led to more problems and missed races – the “Caveman” crawled away from his cave and started dancing the competition again. Over the summer he won XTERRA Brazil, ITU Mix Tri Worlds for the third directly year, then XTERRA Italy all in a month’s time. # @@ # @!!

Two years ago his fellow countryman Serta Hugo took a minute-lead in to the run at the USA Championship simply to get chased down by ultimate winner Nico Lebrun. This year, Hugo has traveled extensively, logging a dozen races in nine countries — and has stellar results to show for this. He posted six straight runner-up finishes at XTERRA World Trip races – starting at XTERRA South Africa, followed by the Philippines, Saipan, Guam, Malaysia, and the Southeast Tournament in Alabama – before winning the East Championship in Richmond. He was then third at XTERRA Brazil, 7th at the Mountain Champs, 2nd at XTERRA Mexico, and also won XTERRA Japan last month. # @@ # @!!

The man with the most XTERRA World Trip wins this year is Aussie Fødder Allen. In addition to his dominance in the Asia-Pacific Series ( wins within Philippines, Saipan, Guam, Malaysia, and also New Zealand ) he also posted two credibility-boosters on the European Tour with victories in A holiday in greece and just last week at XTERRA Britain. He was second to only Middaugh at last year’s USA Championship.

Nico Lebrun, the “professor” regarding XTERRA who is retiring to focus on his “Organicoach ” business next time of year, might have just one more lesson in store for his friends in Utah. The particular 2005 XTERRA World Champ provides won two of the last four USA titles, and took down a stacked field at XTERRA France this year.

To add intrigue, 2008 XTERRA World Champ Ruben Ruzafa from Spain is coming over to see how he stacks up against America’s best. Ruzafa switched his focus from world cup mountain biking to triathlon this year, and realized immediate results with wins at kunne XTERRA Spain and Germany, in addition to a runner-up in France.

It’ll also be exciting to see Leonardo Chacon – an Olympian from Costa Rica who placed fourth in the first-ever XTERRA at Worlds last year, then followed up by winning XTERRA Mexico in August.

Not to be dismissed are the regulars including Branden Rakita – fresh-off a career-best 2nd place complete at the Mountain Champs – and also Ryan Ignatz, who had a career-best runner-up performance at the East Champs. Locals can revel in having their own pro to cheer for within Nick Fisher from Ogden. He cracked the top five twice in the first-year as a pro. Fisher founded the local Weber State tri team and has spent more time on these types of trails than anyone.

There’s also a huge amount of unfamiliar with first-year racers and roadie crossovers like Grant Bovee, Guy Crawford, Heath Thurston, Tom Goth, Joshua Merrick, and Matt Mangen.

One thing is for sure, it ’s going to be exciting to discover it play out. # @@ # @!!

Paterson Tops Women’s List

Two-time World Champ and defending USA and U.S. Pro Series Champ Lesley Paterson leads the list regarding women’s contenders. Since finishing third in Richmond last year the “Scottish Rocket ” has won every XTERRA she’s entered, including the U.S. and World Championships last year, and also the Philippines, West, Southeast, and Eastern Championship titles this year. # @@ # @!!

Prior to Les came along the USA Championship hailed from three-time XTERRA World Champ Melanie McQuaid – who won 4 straight in Utah from 2008-to-2011. McQuaid, who took the title at kunne her hometown race at XTERRA Victoria this summer, has made a career away from showing up with her best stuff in the biggest races.

Another former XTERRA World Champ and Shonny Vanlandingham – finds herself back at the sharp end of area having fully recovered from leg injuries that plagued her last year. At 44-years-old Vanlandingham is still winning – most recently the XTERRA South america and Mountain Championships. Her fellow Luna Pro teammates – Suzie Snyder, top American and second in Utah last year, and Danelle Kabush, third last year – are actually creating a blur of blue throughout the trails this year.

The particular well-traveled Jacqui Slack and Renata Bucher – with four XTERRA World Tour wins apiece this year – add to the depth of the women’s field. Slack just won XTERRA England last weekend, while Bucher moved her base-camp to Ut for some race specific prep along with Emma Garrard.

These collection of XTERRA stars will be up against a pair of ringers from the road world – Barbara Riveros and Heather Jackson – who are looking to upset the actual natural order of things. # @@ # @!!

Last October, Riveros was second at XTERRA Worlds and Knutson was fourth in what was the 1st XTERRA for both. Riveros, an Olympian and ITU standout, must be out front in the swim along with Christine “Big Fish” Jeffrey, and also proved she can mountain bike in Maui by posting the actual third-best bike split. # @@ # @!!

Knutson has had a remarkable season with is victorious at Oceanside, Alcatraz, and Wildflower and just finished 2nd at the IM 70.3 World Championships. She has already been mountain biking in Bend, Oregon, as part of her training regimen.

Others to look out for include Chantell Widney, winner of XTERRA Canmore and 3rd-place finisher at TERSEBUT Cross Tri Worlds, and Brandi Heisterman – who had a pair of third place showings on the America Trip.

The mix of previous and new, experience vs. youth, is creating a lot of excitement with this year’s pro races. It’ll all come down to who can suffer best contrary to the gnarly challenge that Mother Nature dishes out at the XTERRA USA Tournament.

Find out how it shakes out next Sat., Sept. twenty one, at 9am MST on tweets @xterraoffroad #xterraUTAH and Facebook. # @@ # @!!

XTERRA USA Championship Pro Start Listing

The professionals competing in the XTERRA USA Championship are usually among the best mountain bikers, triathletes, and also adventure racers on the planet. Rank sama dengan Current rank in 2013 XTERRA?U.S. Pro Series / NR sama dengan Not ranked. As of 9.12.13 # @@ # @!!

  PRO MEN Rank Name -- Age, Hometown 1 Josiah Middaugh – 35, Vail, CO two Dan Hugo – 27, Stellenbosch, South Africa 3 Branden Rakita and 32, Colorado Springs, CO 4 Thomas Ignatz – 34, Boulder, CO 5 Bradley Weiss – twenty-four, Cape Town, South Africa 6 Craig Evans -35, Hendersonville, TN seven Nick Fisher – 27, Ogden, UT 9 Cody Waite and 34, Lakewood, CO 10 Jerr Michalak – 35, Lakewood, CO 11 Matt Mangen – thirty, Ivins, UT 12 Andy Lee – 41, Lakeway, TX 14 Conrad Stoltz – 39, Stellenbosch, South Africa 14 Chris Ganter and 34, Boise, ID 15 Will certainly Ross – 24, Anchorage, NEJ 28 Patrick Valentine – 27, Colorado Springs, CO 29 Damian Gonzalez – 36, Stockton, CA NR Ben Allen – 28, Wollongong, Australia NR Grant Bovee -- 29, Boulder, CO NR Leonardo Chacon – 29, Liberia, Panama and nicaragua , NR Guy Crawford - thirty four, Auckland, New Zealand NR Mary Goth - 28, Salt River City, UT NR Jordan Jones - 32, Golden, CO NR Nicolas Lebrun – 40, Digne, France NR Joshua Merrick -- 31, Alamosa, CO NR Bryan Rhodes – 40, Christchurch, New Zealand NR Ruben Ruzafa and 29, Malaga, Spain NR Heath Thurston - 35, Orem, UT NR Adam Wirth – thirty-five, Boise, ID PRO WOMEN Position Name - Age, Hometown one Lesley Paterson – 32, San Diego, CA 2 Shonny Vanlandingham and 44, Durango, CO 3 Melanie McQuaid – 40, Victoria, B.C., Canada 4 Suzie Snyder and 31, Fredericksburg, VA 5 Danelle Kabush – 38, Calgary, Alberta,Canada 6 Brandi Heisterman – 37, Squamish, B.C., Canada 7 Emma Garrard – 30, Park City, UT 8 Caroline Colonna and 49, Taos, NM 9 Kelley Cullen – 32, New Castle, CO 10 Christine Jeffrey and 40, Tucson, AZ 12 Jaime Brede – 36, Breckenridge, CO 13 Tamara Donelson – 37, Edwards, CO 18 Catherine Sterling – 36, West Boylston, MOTHER 21 Rachel Challis – thirty seven, Carlsbad, CA NR Renata Bucher – 36, Lucerne, Switzerland NR Genevieve Evans - 40, Tahoe City, CA NR Heather Knutson – 29, Bend, OR NR Barbara Riveros – 26, Una Pintana, Chile NR Jacqui Slack – 30, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom NR Carina Wasle – 28, Kundl, Austria NR Chantell Widney and 33, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada  

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