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Some of the biggest names in off-road triathlon are in Italy this week for the Xterra European Championship race at the natural park of Biderosa in Sardinia.
The start list includes 43 pros representing 14 countries, including reigning European Tour champions Franky Batelier and Renata Bucher, Olympians Olivier Marceau and Sibylle Matter, and former Xterra World Champions Nico Lebrun and Melanie McQuaid.
Batelier is the man to beat in the men’s race, having not lost in Europe since 2008. The 32-year-old military officer from Normandy, France won all four races on the Tour last year, and the inaugural Xterra Portugal Championship on April 3 to start the 2010 season. Last year in Italy, Batelier came into the bike-to-run transition with the 2008 Xterra World Champ, Ruben Ruzafa, and ran more than a minute faster than the Spaniard to take the crown.
Men’s Pro Start List
Austria – Julian Langer
Belgium – Yeray Luxem, Jim Thijs
Czech Republic – Karel Zadak
Denmark – Ole Vinnergaard
France – Franky Batelier, Nico Lebrun
Germany – Jens Buder, Ronny Dietz, Nico Pfitzenmaier, Felix Schumann
Italy – Fabrizio Baralla, Gianpietro De Faveri, Fabio Guidelli, Luca Molteni, Alessio Picco
Netherlands – Lars Van Der Eerden
South Africa – Lieuwe Boonstra, Carl Pasio
Spain – Ricard Calmet Calveras, Borja Conde
Switzerland – Jean Marc Cattori, Olivier Marceau
United Kingdom – Tom Curtis, Sam Gardner, Llewellyn Homes , Graham Wadsworth
In the women’s race world traveler Renata Bucher from Switzerland is fresh off an impressive victory at the Xterra South Central Championship in Waco, Texas on Sunday, and has notched victories in Saipan, Guam, and Portugal as well this year. At last year’s Italian Championship she fell three minutes behind fellow countrywoman Sibylle Matter on the swim, but put three minutes on Matter during the bike, then held on during the run as Matter closed the gap to within 20 seconds at the finish line.
Women’s Pro Start List
Austria – Carina Wasle
Canada – Melanie McQuaid
France – Myriam Guillot, Marion Lorblanchet
Germany – Claudia Walser
Italy – Monica Gabbanelli, Giuliana Lamastra, Sara Tavecchio, Ilaria Zavanone
Netherlands – Maud Golsteyn
Switzerland – Renata Bucher, Claudia Hossmann, Sibylle Matter
United Kingdom – Emma Ruth Smith, Darrelle Parker, Jacqui Slack
There are 20,000 Euros up for grabs and titles for both the Xterra European and Xterra Italy Championships. The race enters its fourth year in the protected area of Biderosa, and consists of a 1.5-kilometer swim, 32km mountain bike and 10km trail run. The two-lap bike course features long slopes and single track that requires solid technical skills, and shows off athletic abilities.
Race preview provided by Xterra.