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Following an action-packed racing season that traveled around the world to qualifying events in 22 countries, XTERRA will host its 26th annual XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon at the base of the breathtaking Brenta Dolomites in Trentino, Italy on Saturday, October 1.
It’s the first time since XTERRA’s inception in 1996 that the off-road triathlon championship will take place outside the Hawaiian island of Maui. Instead, 750 of the world’s best amateur and professional XTERRA athletes representing 40 countries will head to Trentino to take part in the championship race’s European debut.
Elite athletes will race for a share of a $100.000 prize purse, while all competitors chase the sports’ ultimate, most-coveted title of XTERRA World Champion.
2022 XTERRA World Championship: Who to watch
If World Championships were won on paper or by popular opinion, the title would already belong to Arthur Serrieres – and for good reason. He’s the reigning and two-time World Triathlon Cross Champion, the reigning and three-time XTERRA European Champion, he won the Europe Triathlon Cross Championship on this course in Trentino last year, and was runner-up at XTERRA Worlds the last two times to a pair of gentlemen – Hayden Wilde & Bradley Weiss – who won’t be on the start line. Serrieres is the fastest runner in the sport, he arranged his entire year and two grueling altitude training camps for this one day, and is as fiercely competitive as they come. But, he still has to earn it in real life, where anything can happen, against a stacked field of 60 elite men representing 20 countries. Serrieres will have to fend off the likes of the Forissier brothers – Felix and Arthur – who are both on a remarkable hot streak of wins this season. Maxim Chane is also a major contender due to his strengths on hard courses with a lot of climbing. He’ll be in his element in Trentino.
All eyes will also be on 18 year-old Sullivan Middaugh, son of off-road legend and 2015 XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh, who will also be racing. In addition to (quite literally) growing up with XTERRA, the younger Middaugh has become a world-class athlete of his own, heading to Arizona State University this fall as part of the USA Triathlon Project Podium squad which is designed to develop athletes into Olympic medalists.
The women’s race offers a lineup that is just as thrilling. At the top of the list is Sandra Mirhofer, who has the home field advantage in Trentino. Mirhofer lives in South Tyrol, about 2.5 hours away from Trentino in northern Italy and won the European Triathlon Cross Championship on this same course just one year ago when it doubled as XTERRA Trentino. The reigning World Cross Triathlon Champion has had a phenomenal year, winning the XTERRA European Championship and XTERRA Germany, the Italian Cross Tri National Championship, and the Italian Winter Triathlon National title for the fifth straight year.
Mirhofer’s toughest competition will come in Alizee Paties, who was second to Mairhofer at the last two big races in the Czech Republic and German. But there are a lot of strong women in the field who know how to break the tape. Loanne Duvoisin won the World Cross Triathlon Championship and was runner-up to only Flora Duffy at XTERRA Worlds last year. Solenne Billouin won XTERRA Portugal, Jindriska Zemanova won XTERRA Italy-Lake Garda, Katie Button won the Canadian majors at XTERRA Victoria and Whistler, Lesley Paterson won the XTERRA USA Championship race, and Suzie Snyder won in the Dominican Republic.
2022 XTERRA World Championship: Course and format
Already a bucket-list destination for off-road and adventure enthusiasts, Trentino embodies almost everything XTERRA looks to inject into its events: culture, community, and a challenging terrain that offers awe-inspiring views for those strong enough to conquer it.
The challenge athletes face in Trentino combines a 1.5-kilometer (1-mile) swim in Lake Molveno with a two-lap 32-kilometer (20-miles) mountain bike that climbs high into the Dolomites, followed by a flowy 10-kilometer (6.2-miles) trail run that twists through forest trails and the lake shore.
The water temperature in October is typically around 15-18°C, a little on the chilly side so wetsuits are likely to be compulsory. Typically, the lake is flat and free of chop which should make for fast swim times all round.
Coming out the first transition, riders will have a few minutes of flat lakeside trail before the elevation begins – a central theme for this epic course.With gradients hitting 18% in some places, those who have gone too hard too early will be hemorrhaging to those who have paced their efforts with a little moderation.
On the run, the course starts off fast and flat along the lakeside, using the natural trails and rolling terrain to create a fast and flowing opening 1.5km. But things then get technical quickly before a steep climb up to A waterfall. From the top, it’s a fire road plummet back down to the start of the second lap, or to hit the biggest finish line of the XTERRA season.
How to watch the 2022 XTERRA World Championship Livestream
The 2022 XTERRA World Championship livestream kicks off at 9:00 a.m CEST (Italy time)/3:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 1 with the men’s race, followed by the men’s race at 9:03 a.m. CEST/3:03 a.m. ET, with the men’s winner expected to cross the line at approximately 11:20 a.m. CEST/5:20 a.m. ET and the women’s winner at approximately 11:45 a.m. CEST/5:45 a.m. ET. The race will be streamed live on xterraplanet.com, and a highlight reel will be made available after the event.