XTERRA Malta Elite Preview
For the third race of the 2019 tour, XTERRA athletes and crew will head to the Island of Malta. This weekend’s race has previously been the tour opener for many years but has moved little bit later this year offering athletes a different experience and a better chance of good weather.
In the women’s race we will see some new names on the podium, with only 3 female athletes racing in the Elite category on Saturday. The big favorite will be Carina Wasle, she is currently second in the Euro tour standings after her win in in Cyprus. Whilst she started XTERRA Greece, she hurt her knee during the bike leg and couldn’t finish the race.
“During the last 3 weeks, I’ve tried everything to recover as quickly as possible. The good news is that I can swim and bike again, the bad news is I can’t run at all. But I will be in Malta and try to do my best” said Carina earlier this week.
Even though she is carrying an injury, we are quite certain that with a solid swim and bike, if Wasle can run she will win this race and will lead the European Tour standings. Despite this opportunity to score some easy points, I hope she will listen to her body and make a good decision on whether to race.
Battling with her will be Maria Doring from Germany, Doring finishing 10th in Cyprus this year and an excellent 8th at the 2018 European Champs. She may well believe that Saturday could be her day given Wasle’s unknown condition.
The third female athlete racing will be Adriana Klimkova from the Czech Republic. Malta will be the first race in the Elite division for this young athlete. Looking at previous results, on paper, the podium should be in this order. But with Carina injured and Malta’s rocks renowned for causing bike mechanicals anything can happen. We will await the finish to see the result.
The battle for the top 3 will be harder on the men’s side, especially with 2018 European Tour winner François Carloni making the trip from France.
“I feel like I’ve recovered from the Cape Epic MTB race and that I’m ready to race XTERRA properly. After racing the ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds, I took one easy week and now the sensations are good. I’m very exited to be back in Malta, this is my third time here. I like this race, especially the MTB loop”
Carloni was 4th in 2018, a year where he won in Belgium along with the overall series, he knows that if the winter training pays off, he has a serious chance to win this race.
However, the Frenchman will not have an easy day. Maximilian Sasserath from Germany finished in front of him in Malta last year and was also better in Greece just 3 weeks ago!
“After finishing second and third in Malta my goal is to finish on the Podium again. After a solid race in Greece, a good World Championships 10 days later and then a local Team race on the road last Sunday, I am looking forward to another good performance. Maybe it will be good enough to claim the top step. This year, staying healthy is as important as a result. I had to finish my season after last year’s race due to injury.”
If I had to guess the final athlete on the podium, I would choose between Geert Lauryssen from Belgium and Jens Roth from Germany.
We connected with Jens few days ago;
“It’s nice to be back with my XTERRA Family, I can’t wait to race with my friends again. This winter I changed my weekly routine, I’ve done 25 consistent weeks including a training camp on Gran Canaria with the Ironman World Champion Patrick Lange.”
I’m sure Roth will be strong. He will lead the swim with perhaps a 60second advantage and will look to keep this lead as long as possible.
For an athlete like Lauryssen, he will have to use his bike power. He has previously posted the fastest bike split here in Malta, so he will be confident that he can ride to the front before the second bike lap and make his move.
Samule Jud from Switzerland will also race, he is currently 3rd in the European Tour after two solid races in Cyprus and Greece. With another good performance he has the opportunity to take the lead in the series after this event.
Rui Dolores did not have his best result in Cyprus, but the Portuguese athlete is consistently in the mix. He finished 6th last year in the European Tour and on a good day will trouble the top five. This run loop is hard and will suit him well.
“This is my second time in beautiful Malta. The course is very demanding but it’s very fun to race. Lots of rocks, long descents and technical uphills that make it a great challenge for the athletes. I started my winter training a bit later this season and as a result I felt far from my best in Cyprus. I’ve trained well in the last couple of weeks and I feel the improvement already, so I hope to have a good performance and have fun in Malta.” said Rui
Another animator of the 2018 European tour will start his season in Malta. Peter Lehmann from Germany was 3rd last year in the series. Lehmann is 100% “Live more” traveling with his girlfriend and family to many countries, creating many good memories. He didn’t have a good race here last year, but then went on to podium three times during 2018, but what Lehmann needs now is a win!
Kostas and Carel from the XTERRA Europe team will be onsite to cover the event and provide some visual content of XTERRA athletes suffering on the beautiful Island of Malta.