XTERRA Elite race preview Poland

Friday 10 August 2018
Last year XTERRA Poland had more than 1000 competitors across a variety of different races. 2018 looks to be even bigger with a Trail run, Open water swim race, a sprint distance event, the kids race and of course the main XTERRA Event.

For the Elite races, we have strong fields in both races. XTERRA Poland is just one week before the XTERRA European championship in Germany which given their proximity to each other has made racing both events a very attractive prospect. 

5 of the 6 top women in the XTERRA Europe tour rankings will race in Poland  

Our tour leader Carina Wasle has had a rare fortnight off racing and should take to the start line fresh and recovered from her last block of races. It will be interesting to see what happens, she might be very strong, or her body might need some adjustment to having 2 weeks without a race! Either way our Austria athlete is looking for a win, something she is still missing from her 2018. As long as she avoids a DNF she will still lead the tour whatever her result, so perhaps with nothing to lose she can go all in for the win. 

XTERRA Poland 2017 winner Brigitta Poor, is fresh from a win last week in Romania and will be the athlete to beat. She has won every race she started this season with the exception of Greece. With a third race in a row in Germany next week she may hold something back to keep her powder dry for the European Championships. 

Helena Karasková showed some good form at a local cross triathlon last weekend, and in Poland last year was second behind Poor. With a slower swim, this is not an easy race for her as the twisty singletrack is not an easy place to overtake slower athletes, Helena recently told us that 2018 is her last season and following her win at home in Czech we know she will want to go out with a bang. 

Morgane Riou is in 5th on the Euro tour, this will be her first time at XTERRA Poland. She was second in Romania and is focusing on a big result in Germany next weekend, so she will be training a lot this week before the race, so she will have to wait and see how the body responds on Sunday. 

Samantha Kingsford started the race in Czech this year but was a DNF, unable to back up racing just 5 days after a stunning race at the ITU World Champs. She won XTERRA Albay this year, so I can’t wait to see what she can do against our top European athletes. As always, there is a strong Polish field headed by Ania Tomica, who sits in 6th in the European tour, also Sabina Rzepka who was 9th last year and the best polish athlete. 

Unless your name is Bradley Weiss, you will have to beat the World Champion to win the men’s race! It is great to have our 2017 XTERRA world champion taking the start in Poland. We know he is training hard to defend his world title later in the year, so he may not be at 100% strength following a training block at altitude but following a 4th at ITU champs, 3rd in France and 2nd in Czech, be warned the South African will be charging on this course. 

Equal favourite and last year’s XTERRA Poland winner Sam Osbourne from New Zealand is back. After an amazing 2nd place at ITU he was disappointed with his race in Czech so he will be fired up to step back up onto the podium. Sam will aim to race from the front and lead all day, the twisty singletrack will suit him and remind him of the riding back home in Rotorua. If he is at the front of the race when he reaches the run it will be hard to beat him.  

Perhaps someone who can is Frenchman Arthur Serrieres who ran his way to victory in Romania last weekend. If he can limit his gap after the swim and stay relaxed on the bike then he is a sure bet for a top 3 and possibly the win. 

Other contenders include Ben Allen and Max Chané. Allen is returning to form with a 3rd place in Romania, but we know he wants more. Chané will enjoy this course, but he is coming off a big training block ahead of Germany, so he will have to use his skills rather than his legs to achieve a good finish. 

It will be interesting to watch this race, I think that the swim will have a big impact on the overall race. We know a group with Chané, Allen, Osbourne will try to get away, but if Weiss or Serrieres can hang with the group and not lose more than 30secs then it’ll take something special to beat them.  

If he wins on Sunday, Serrieres can take the lead in the Tour standing by one point ahead of François Carloni. Peter Lehmann who has plans to race every remaining race on the tour, will fight for some good points knowing there is chance he can finish on the Tour podium. He is currently 5th and will move to third if he can finish inside the top 6. 

4 Polish athletes will race, the fastest local athlete last year was Sylwester Swat with an impressive 11th place. 

This is the last race before the European championship and the last chance to fine tune racing form ahead of the biggest race of the season. We know we will see good racing from everyone, as is the XTERRA spirit that when the race starts, athletes will give everything they have until they cross the finish line.
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