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XTERRA World Championships
THIS WEEK: The countdown to Maui is on! The XTERRA World Championship is just 17 days away (Oct. 28) and the 12th annual event promises to be the best yet with a growing international flavor (athletes from 20+ countries) and an incredible pro field. The race is the last race in the 100+ event XTERRA Global Tour that traveled to 17 countries around the world, it boasts a $125,000 purse, and will be televised as a one-hour sports special across the U.S.
As the saying goes, "Maui No Ka Oi" - Maui is the best. Below you'll find the Kahuna's pro race preview, the pro start list, this year's XTERRA Global Tour Championship race winners, and the
weekend's XTERRA TV schedule.
10/27 - XTERRA Makena Beach Trail Run (Makena,
10/27 - XTERRA Boney Mountain Trail Run (Los
10/28 - XTERRA Parks and People Trail Run
10/28 - XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Makena, Maui)
THE KAHUNA'S PRO RACE PREVIEW: Nobody on the planet has been to more XTERRA Championship events than the managing director of the XTERRA Global Tour - "Kahuna Dave" Nicholas. Having been to every World Championship race in Maui since creating the sport back in 1996, and having been onsite to see this years races unfold in Saipan, New Zealand, California, Italy, Alabama, Virginia, Denmark, Austria, Germany, UK, and the U.S. - the
Kahuna is more than qualified to speculate on who might win it all this year. That doesn't mean he'll get it right, in fact, he's hardly ever right (just 1 for 10 in picking winners over the
last five years).
So, with a grain of salt (but with some tasty insight nonetheless) here are the Kahuna's '07
It seems every year gets better. And I have to believe it does. The pro field is superb this
year for both men and women; and the age group competitors are faster, stronger and more
motivated than ever. So while I am excited, I face a real problem. Whenever I pick a winner
it's as big a curse to that athlete as being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. My record is 1
right for the last 5 years. But no matter, here's how I see this fantastic upcoming event shaking out.
The women's field is deep and will bring a great race. Three-time World Champ Melanie McQuaid has not had the season she wanted and she knows this is the BIG one that counts. Jamie Whitmore wrote last year after Maui that she had the "eye of the
tiger" for 2007. Who can doubt her speed after winning 4 of 5 in the USA Championship Series? But there is more than the Melanie-Jamie shootout.
Julie Dibens (England) raced against a good women's entry in Saipan and showed well. She
stomped the field in the UK just a month ago and is rested and ready. Carina Wasle (Austria) had to work during the early part of the year and when she first appeared in Denmark did not have the spark of past years. But as she trained and raised her level of fitness she improved in Austria and won easily in Germany. This will be her third year in Maui and she says she knows what to expect.
Sibylle Matter has a 2d and a 3d at Maui the past two years and this year she is concentrating only on Maui. No Ironman double. Candy Angle has had an average year and surely wants redemption after last year's bad crash. Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer
is a pro mountain biker who has triathlon history and won Denmark over Wasle and Matter. This is her kind of course. And speaking of mountain bikers we have many time mountain bike champ Shonny Vanlandingham and Dara Marks Marino,
another NORBA gal, who has been consistently in the top 4 this year. Kiwi Jen Smith has been
super fast this season finishing off the year with a stunning second at Tahoe and was 4th last year in her first attempt at Maui. Quiet and easy to overlook, Jen Smith is my dark horse.
You must look for Dibens and Matter to lead early. Julie is unbelievably fast in the water. Last
year Matter came out about 2 minutes ahead of McQuaid and Julie is faster. Mel, Jamie, Carina and the others will have to chase these two on the volcano. The question is who will have the patience to stay within their limits and let their power and bike skills do the job?
MAUI PRO START LIST: The professionals competing in Maui are the best-of-the-best in not only the world of XTERRA, but also the mountain biking, triathlon, and adventure racing communities. More than 70 pros, including Melanie McQuaid (2003 & 2005-06), Jamie Whitmore (2004), and Candy Angle (2002), will toe the start line on October 28. Below is the tentative Female start list by race number, determined by their finish position at last year's XTERRA World Championship, then alphabetically. Tentative as of 10.10.07.
# (place at last year's WC) - Name - Age, Hometown
(2007 Championship Wins)
61 (1) - Melanie McQuaid - 34, Victoria, B.C.,
Canada (U.S. West Champs)
62 (3) - Sibylle Matter - 34, Bern, Switzerland
63 (4) - Jennifer Smith - 34, Westport, New
64 (7) - Michelle Lombardi - 38, Somerset West,
South Africa (South Africa)
65 (9) - Shonny Vanlandingham - 38, Durango,
66 (11) - Carina Wasle - 21, Kundl, Austria
67 (13) - Claudia Frank - 37, Rottach-Egern,
68 (14) - Nicole Logan- 34, La Jolla, California
69 (18) - Amber Monforte - 29, Reno, Nevada
70 - Candy Angle - 38, Weymouth, Massachusetts
71 - Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer - 30, Offenburg,
72 - Christina Begy - 37, Denver, Colorado
73 - Erika Csomor - 33, Budapest, Hungary
74 - Julie Dibens - 32, Salisbury, England (UK)
75 - Linda Gabor - 37, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
76 - Sonia Hill - 29, Upper Atiamuri, New Zealand
77 - Lisa Isom - 35, Vail, Colorado
78 - Kristy Lanier - 36, Marlinton, West Virginia
79 - Dara Marks Marino - 32, Flagstaff, Arizona
80 - Sara Tarkington - 26, Boulder, Colorado
81 - Jamie Whitmore - 31, Somerset, California
(U.S. S'East, East, Mountain, USA, Japan)
14. March 178
photo Cheltenham jockey club
14. March 197
photo Cheltenham Racecourse
10. March 182
Slovakian alpine skier narrowly beats Millie Knight to capture gold photo Getty Images