XTERRA European Tour in Germany

Stop No. 10 on the XTERRA European Tour takes the Tribe to Zittau for the XTERRA Germany Championship race on Saturday.

In the men’s race Roger Serrano and Francois Carloni, ranked first and second in the XET Elite Standings after nine events, face off one final time for bragging rights. In five previous head-to-head meetings Serrano finished ahead of Carloni at XTERRA Malta, Spain, and Greece while Carloni was faster in Portugal and Italy. Carloni will not be able to catch Serrano in points, even with a win on Saturday (he’d have 522 to Serrano’s 526) and because he’s getting married on the weekend of August 29-30 will not be able to collect more points at either of the last two races of the season in Denmark or England that weekend.

Ruben Ruzafa, who is not racing in Germany, is the only other elite that could potentially score more points than Serrano and win the Euro Tour title, but he would need to race at XTERRA Denmark on Saturday then the XTERRA European Championship on Sunday, and do well at both. The three-time XTERRA World Champion said he has no plans to race in Denmark, but until that event is in the books we’ll have to wait on crowning Serrano with the XTERRA European Tour Championship title (but it’s looking really good for the kid from Tarragona).

In the women’s race Helena Erbenova is shooting for her seventh win of the season and fourth in a row.  Last weekend in her home country she wrapped up her third XTERRA European Tour Championship title in four years.

On the line to stop her in Germany are two women who have won XTERRA Germany before in Carina Wasle and Jacqui Slack, as well as Brigitta Poor who has finished one position behind Erbenova at XTERRA Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Czech this year.

XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas is on site in Zittau and brings us this report from Wednesday…

Zittau is back for the 15th year of the O-SEE challenge, which has doubled as the XTERRA Germany Championship race since 2009 here in this wonderful east Germany village.  The weather could not be much better.  A total opposite of last year’s ITU race where the skies opened in the morning and conditions were miserable for most of the day.

Our press conference this afternoon talked about the future of XTERRA here and with a new Mayor, everything looks solid.  As this area of Germany, known as Saschen or Saxony continues to grow and prosper - it has started to infiltrate on our wonderful bike course.  A few sections that were neat single trails are now being graded and filled with gravel.  There will be a bit of disruption for this year and Benno Schwanger and his team will find or build alternatives. Regardless the course is one big lap that has spectacular views, runs through idyllic country villages and is a solid challenge to riders of every skill level.

Tonight was the big opening party for the O-SEE crew.  Bar-B-Ques going, kegs of cold Czech beer (remember we are only 5K from the borders of both the Czech Republic and Poland).  The men have added a neat, big tent and installed a raised wood floor; no doubt in response to last year’s rain and muddy grass.  With a very quiet 30K genny humming the place looks as if it should be a bedoin Sheik’s tent rather than an XTERRA headquarters in the mountains of Germany.

A nice big sold-out field is set for Saturday and I’m looking forward to watching Jens Roth - a fast, young German who was 2d at the ETU cross championships as well as Malte Plappert who was 3d at the ETU and a fantastic 5th in France.

Francois Carloni is back and last week’s Czech winner Ben Allen knows this course well.  Bradley Weiss will be looking for some revenge for last weeks cut tire and Euro Series leader Roger Serrano and Jan Pyott will all be in the hunt.

Helena Erbenova continues her unbelievable string of races and will be challenged again by Brigitta Poor, Jackie Slack and Carina Wasle. We’ll have more news on the construction and how it will impact the bike in the next few days.

Rank      Name, NAT
1              Roger Serrano, ESP
2              Francois Carloni, FRA
4              Jan Pyott, SUI
10           Markus Benesch, AUT
11           Tomas Kubek, SVK
13           Martial Schmidt, FRA
14           Veit Hönle, GER
15           Nicolas Fernandez, FRA
16           Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA
20           Malte Plappert, GER
21           Ben Allen, AUS
23           Bradley Weiss, RSA
26           Michael Szymoniuk, AUT
39           Tomas Jiranek, CZE
41           Pavel Andreev, RUS
44           Vaclav Holub, CZE
48           Christopher Schwab, AUT
57           Jens Roth, GER
NR          Theo Blignaut, RSA
NR          Jon Heasman, GBR
NR          Krzysztof Kokot, POL
NR          Peter Lehmann, GER
NR          Christian Otto, GER
NR          Dominik Wychera, AUT

Rank      Name, NAT
1              Helena Erbenova, CZE
2              Brigitta Poor, HUN
3              Carina Wasle, AUT
6              Sandra Koblemueller, AUT
13           Lenka Cibulkova, CZE
14           Jacqui Slack, GBR
NR          Corinna Choun, AUT
NR          Emilie Lefur, FRA
NR          Nicole Olivari, ITA