Xterra West Championship Set For Saturday

The first championship-level race of the 2013 Xterra U.S. Points Series will take place this Saturday at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nev.

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The first championship-level race of the 2013 Xterra U.S. Points Series will take place this Saturday at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nev. The event will welcome some of off-road triathlon’s biggest stars, with Conrad Stoltz (RSA), Josiah Middaugh (USA), Lesley Paterson (SCO), Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) and Melanie McQuaid (CAN) all on the start list.

PHOTOS: 2012 Xterra West Championship

Men’s Preview
Four-time Xterra world champion Stoltz comes in as the defending champion and is always a pre-race favorite with his ability to dominate on a mountain bike. Middaugh finished second at this race and at the Xterra World Championship last year and will be looking to make the move to the top of the podium. Other athletes to watch include Dan Huge (RSA), Branden Rakita (USA), Will Kelsey (USA), Ryan Ignatz (USA), Matt Lieto (USA), Will Ross (USA) and Chris Ganter (USA).

Women’s Preview
As the two-time reigning Xterra world champion, Paterson comes in as the heavy favorite on the women’s side. Paterson has shown early-season strength this year with a win at an elite mountain bike cup race and a third-place finish at Ironman 70.3 California. After some time away to deal with a knee injury and surgery, 2010 Xterra world champion Vanlandingham seems ready to return to the podium. Always a factor in Xterra racing is three-time Xterra world champion Melanie McQuaid. The Canadian had a disappointing start to her season at 70.3 California and will look for redemption in Vegas.

Other contenders include Danelle Kabush (CAN), Suzie Snyder (USA), Christine Jeffrey (CAN), Emma Garrard (USA) and Kelly Cullen (USA).

See the start list (as of April 5) below. Note: Rank indicates their final position in the 2012 Xterra U.S. Pro Series standings, NR = not ranked.

Rank – Men – Age, Hometown
1 – Conrad Stoltz – 39, Stellenbosch, South Africa
2 – Josiah Middaugh – 34, Eagle-Vail, Colorado
4 – Craig Evans – 35, Hendersonville, Tennessee
5 – Branden Rakita – 32, Colorado Springs, Colorado
6 – Will Kelsay – 31, Boulder, Colorado
9 – Will Ross – 23, Anchorage, Alaska
11 – Damian Gonzalez – 36, Stockton, California
12 – Ryan Ignatz – 34, Boulder, Colorado
28 – Chris Ganter – 34, Boise, Idaho
NR – Matt Lieto – 34, Bend, Oregon
NR – Matt Mangen – 30, Ivins, Utah
NR – Joshua Merrick – 42, Alamosa, Colorado
NR – Jason Michalak – 35, Crested Butte, Colorado
NR – Erich Wegscheider – 27, San Jose, California

Rank – Women – Age, Hometown
1 – Lesley Paterson – 32, San Diego, California
2 – Melanie McQuaid – 39, Victoria, B.C., Canada
4 – Danelle Kabush – 37, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
5 – Suzie Snyder – 31, Fredericksburg, Virginia
6 – Tamara Donelson – 37, Edwards, Colorado
9 – Caroline Colonna – 48, Taos, New Mexico
10 – Shonny Vanlandingham – 43, Durango, Colorado
12 – Emma Garrard – 30, Park City, Utah
14 - Christine Jeffrey – 40, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
22 – Brandi Heisterman – 37, Squamish, B.C., Canada
NR – Jamie Brede – 35, Breckenridge, Colorado
NR – Rachel Challis – 37, Carlsbad, California
NR – Kelley Cullen – 32, New Castle, Colorado
NR – Lauren Harrison – 35, Los Altos, California

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