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More than 80 elites will line up this Sunday in Maui for the 2014 XTERRA World Championships, with defending champions Ruben Ruzafa and Nicky Samuels highlighting the start lists.
Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz (RSA) lines up as the sport’s most successful racer ever with an unprecedented 51 championship wins and four XTERRA world titles to go with his three ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships. He’s also an XTERRA icon and fan favorite, looming larger than life when he walks through the athlete village. The Caveman is 41, but shows no signs of slowing down—and you need look no further than his back-to-back wins at XTERRA England and XTERRA Denmark in August as proof.
He’ll face off against the man of the moment, Ruben Ruzafa. The reigning and two-time world champion from Spain is undefeated since winning Worlds last year as he swept through the European Tour with seven straight victories, then took down American legend Josiah “Beast Mode” Middaugh at the USA Championship last month.
Dan Hugo (RSA) will also line up and has been brilliant all year, winning seven majors including the prestigious XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship. Word is Hugo has geared his entire season around this world championship race and will be looking for the title. Asa Shaw (FRA) and Ben Allen (AUS) finished second and third, respectively, and will be back to try to return to the podium. 2013 XTERRA U.S. Champion Leo Chacon (CRC) will return to Maui, along with other former ITU athletes Brent McMahon (CAN) and Brendan Sexton (AUS). Brad Weiss (USA) has been top four at everything the last two years, and Michael Weiss (AUT) won this race the last time he was here.
One youngster to watch will be Mauricio Mendez—the 18-year-old sensation from Mexico has captured the hearts of the XTERRA Tribe and inspires one-and-all with his smile and youthful exuberance.
See the complete pro men’s pro start list below.
In the women’s race, the battle for the title will likely come down to defending champion Nicky Samuels (NZL) and 2014 XTERRA standout Fora Duffy (BER). Samuels dominated the 2013 race, while Duffy has been stellar, winning every event she’s entered except one.
The one woman who has beaten Duffy this year is European Tour Champ Kathrin Mueller, and she’ll also be in the mix in Maui on Sunday.
Those three should put on quite a show, but you’ve also got Chilean rock-star Barbara Riveros, American greats Emma Garrard and Shonny Vanlandingham, past Euro Tour champ Helena Erbenova, Canadians Chantell Widney and three-time XTERRA World Champ Melanie McQuaid, and Brit Jacqui Slack.
Noticeably absent from the start list is two-time XTERRA world champ Lesley Paterson. The “Scottish Rocket” is once again dealing with the effects of the Lyme Disease that she has battled throughout the 2014 season.
“My Lyme Disease kicked up a notch after the race so I’ve decided to focus on getting it into remission so I can get back to form next year,” said Paterson. “As gutted as I am to miss it, I’ll be cheering on everyone from afar!”
See the complete women’s pro start list below.
RELATED PHOTOS: 2013 XTERRA World Championships
Overall there will be 816 athletes competing, with 592 men and 224 women making up the start list. There will be 41 countries and 40 of the United States represented on Sunday. Lewis Ryan (NZL) and Rachel Anders (USA) are the youngest competitors at 16. Ron Hill (USA) at 77 and Charlotte Mahan (USA) at 69 are the oldest male and female, respectively.
Pro Men Start List
(place at last year’s WC) – Name – Age, Hometown
(1) – Ruben Ruzafa – 30, Malaga, Spain
(2) – Asa Shaw – 30, Frejus, France
(3) – Ben Allen – 30, North Wollongong, Australia
(4) – Josiah Middaugh – 36, Vail, Colorado
(6) – Conrad Stoltz – 41, Stellenbosch, South Africa
(9) – Leonardo Chacon – 30, Dulce Nombre, Costa Rica
(10) – Brice Daubord – 29, Orleans, France
(11) – Francois Carloni – 29, Frejus, France
(14) – Dan Hugo – 29, Stellenbosch, South Africa
(15) – Romaric Delépine – 38, Metz, France
(16) – Jan Kubicek – 35, Chodov, Czech Republic
(17) – Ryan Ignatz – 36, Boulder, Colorado
(27) – Branden Rakita – 34, Colorado Springs, Colorado
(28) – Chris Ganter – 36, Boise, Idaho
(34) – Jim Thijs – 34, Overijse, Belgium
Bart Aernouts – 30, Merksem, Belgium
Rom Akerson – 30, Paquer,a Costa Rica
Matt Dewis – 22, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Rory Downie – 25, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Arthur Forissier – 20, Saint Etienne, France
Jon Heasman – 39, Claygate, United Kingdom
Nicolas Hemet – 37, Saint Etienne du Rouvray, France
Llewellyn Holmes – 33, Bristol, United Kingdom
Grayson Keppler – 27, Dallas, Texas
Tomas Kubek – 24, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Cedric Lassonde – 38, London, France
Yeray Luxem – 29, Merksem, Belgium
Brent McMahon – 34, Victoria, Canada
Mauricio Mendez – 19, Mexico City, Mexico
Joshua Merrick – 33, Alamosa, Colorado
Joseph Miller – 35, Cebu City, Philippines
Felipe Moletta – 29, São José dos Pinhais, Brazil
Nick Moore – 30, Gold Coast, Australia
Takahiro Ogasawara – 34, Mathida, Japan
Ryan Petry – 23, Boulder, Colorado
Jan Pyott – 33, Oberägeri, Switzerland
Roger Serrano – 23, Barcelona, Spain
Brendan Sexton – 29, Wollongong, Australia
Pro Women Start List
(1) Nicky Samuels – 31, Wanaka, New Zealand
(3) Flora Duffy – 27, Devonshire, Bermuda
(4) Barbara Riveros – 27, La Pintana, Chile
(5) Emma Garrard – 33, Park City, Utah
(6) Chantell Widney – 34, Edmonton, Canada
(7) Helena Erbenová – 35, Jablonec, Czech Republic
(8) Shonny Vanlandingham – 45, Durango, Colorado
(9) Jacqui Slack – 31, Stoke-On-Trent, United Kingdom
(10) Suzie Snyder – 32, Fredericksburg, Virginia
(11) Carina Wasle – 30, Kundl, Austria
(13) Kathrin Müller – 30, Freiburg, Germany
(14) Renata Bucher – 37, Lucerne, Switzerland
(16) Danelle Kabush – 39, Victoria, Canada
(17) Melanie McQuaid – 41, Victoria, Canada
(18) Caroline Colonna – 50, Taos, New Mexico
(19) Sarah Backler – 32, Tauranga, New Zealand
(26) Mieko Carey – 36, Tumon, Guam
Dimity-Lee Duke – 30, Roelands, Australia
Genevieve Evans – 41, Carnelian Bay, California
Louise Fox – 34, Reading, United Kingdom
Maud Golsteyn – 34, Nieuwstadt, Netherlands
Belinda Hadden – 36, Wandana Heights, Australia
Penny Hosken – 27, Ringwood, Australia
Maia Ignatz – 34, Boulder, Colorado
Sandra Koblmueller – 24, Rohrbach, Austria
Kara LaPoint – 27, Truckee, California
Charlotte McShane – 24, Mount Taylor, Australia
Lizzie Orchard – 28, Epsom, New Zealand
Sara Schuler – 33, Boulder, Colorado
Susan Sloan – 33, Benoni, South Africa
Debby Sullivan – 33, Rocklin, California
Judy Vandenberg – 42, Doesburg, Netherlands