XTERRA Malta Saturday at Majjistral Nature Reserve

Friday 11 September 2020

The sixth annual XTERRA Malta off-road triathlon will take place this Saturday, September 12, 2020 at the Majjistral Nature Reserve on the beautiful island nation in the Mediterranean.

Event organizers Nathan and Deirdre Farrugia of Hellfire Events have implemented a series of safety protocols in conjunction with the local health department to reduce contact between athletes, staff, and volunteers.

The elite race features several of the XTERRA World Tour’s top performers, including 7x World Champ Ruben Ruzafa, reigning XTERRA European Champ and last week’s Czech Champ Arthur Serrieres, the reigning ITU Cross Tri World Champ Arthur Forissier, and recently crowned XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine Champ Maxim Chane.

“The speedy Arthur Serrieres has to be the favorite coming off his double win at XTERRA Czech Republic where he managed to win both the ShortTrack and full-distance races on back-to-back days,” said XTERRA Europe director Nico Lebrun.  “However, never count out Ruben, he just knows how to win.”

Lebrun also has high hopes for the 24-year-old rising star, Maxim Chane, who defeated Forrissier at the French National Championships last month, then won his first World Tour stop at Nouvelle Aquitaine. 

“Belgian professional mountain biker Sebastien Carabin is also in Malta, and he showed his strength in the Czech Republic with the fastest bike split and second fastest run split to finish in third,” added Lebrun. 

XTERRA veteran Francois Carloni, who was second at XTERRA Malta last year, showed that he is still a contender after finishing 5th in Czech Republic, and Filippo Rinaldi from Italy is getting stronger each week.

In the women’s elite race Morgane Riou, the reigning XTERRA European Champion who recently won the French Cross Tri Championship for the fifth time, looks to be the favorite.

“She’ll have strong competition from Marta Menditto, who has shown great form over the last few weeks with a second-place showing at XTERRA Nouvelle Aquitaine and a third-place finish at XTERRA Czech,” said Lebrun.  

Carina Wasle, who punctured here in 2019 and pushed her bike for the entire 15K of the second lap, is back for redemption. Others to look for include Pauline Vie from Portugal, Louise Fox from the UK, and local standout Lara Buttigieg.

“XTERRA Malta is different from any other XTERRA, the rugged terrain has shown that it’s not always the strongest, but the smartest athletes who succeed here,” said Lebrun.  “The bike course runs along the coast that is made up of coralline limestone and has become known for a lot of punctures, and the run is perhaps one of the most spectacular on Tour but can be brutal under the Mediterranean sun. There is absolutely no shade on either the bike or run courses so athletes need to manage their efforts and lather up the sunscreen so they don’t have a meltdown.”

The race starts with a refreshing swim in the iconic Golden Bay, a challenging mountain bike route across the Majjistral Nature Park, riding along the cliff edges all the way to the picturesque Popeye Village movie set and ends with a trail run around the historic watch tower.  The terrain covers clay slopes and rocky paths overlooking the breathtaking bays of Gnejna and Ghajn Tuffieha.

“While the beautiful beaches and rugged nature reserves are some of the most amazing spots in the world, Malta’s archaeological and historical setting also provide a fascinating look into how civilization shaped the way we live,” said Farrugia.

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