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The Xterra East Championship will unfold for the 12th consecutive year in downtown Richmond, Virginia on Sunday.
Conrad Stoltz has won four of the last five here (Josiah Middaugh won in 2008) and captured last year’s crown despite cutting his foot just minutes before the swim start. Indeed, this is where he got his start in Xterra back in 2001, and on twisty, turny courses like this one Stoltz’ is at his best. The “Caveman” is on fire in 2010 having taken the top step in each of the first three championship races in Nevada, Texas, and Alabama.
Right behind him is Josiah Middaugh, who has been second at all three championships this year despite having the fastest run at each stop. It seems that if he could come off the bike within striking distance, a heated chase to the finish line would follow. Plus, it’ll be Father’s Day and Josiah just welcomed his third child (first girl) into the family May 12.
Craig Evans, Ryan DeCook, and Cody Waite have had great races in Richmond and are riding strong this year. All told, there are 15 really fast guys in this race and with the unpredictability of the sport, especially on this course, anything could happen.
USA – Matt Boobar, Ryan DeCook, Craig Evans, Dominic Gillen, Trevor Glavin, Damian Gonzalez, Brandon Jessop, Will Kelsay, Josiah Middaugh, Chris Newell, Branden Rakita, Cody Waite, Seth Wealing, Brad Zoller.
SOUTH AFRICA – Conrad Stoltz
In the women’s race look for another throw down between Shonny Vanlandingham and Melanie McQuaid. McQuaid won the last two in Richmond and also won here in 2004. This will be her 10th straight year in Richmond, and she’s won three, was second 5 times, and 3rd in her first try back in 2001.
It’s a great mountain biker’s course with lots of turns and technical singletrack to navigate which plays into the strengths of both McQuaid and Vanlandingham, who was a 7-time member of the U.S. Mountain Biking team and NORBA’s most successful racer ever.
The speedy Lesley Paterson will also be on hand, and she hasn’t finished worst than 3rd place in years. Also in the mix will be Christine Jeffrey, the sports’ best swimmer, and Emma Garrard, who just had her best finish ever when she came in 4th at the Xterra South Central Championship in Texas last month.
Four-time Xterra European Tour Champ Renata Bucher may also race on Sunday, depending on how well her toe heels after getting it stuck in her derailleur during warm down riding in Alabama on Sunday.
USA – Emma Garrard, Kristy Lanier, Shonny Vanlandingham
AUSTRALIA – Christie Sym
CANADA – Christine Jeffrey, Melanie McQuaid
MEXICO – Fabiola Corona
NEW ZEALAND – Jenny Smith
SCOTLAND – Lesley Paterson
SWITZERLAND – Renata Buche
Race preview provided by Xterra.