From France to Maui

As we mentioned in our Switzerland review last week, with four more months until the XTERRA World Championships, athletes are getting serious about qualifying for Maui. A popular way to qualify is to compete in an XTERRA Gold Race, which offers up 51 qualifying spots. More bids up for grabs means that in most age groups, there will be more than one Maui qualifier.

XTERRA France is one of these Gold Races but one of the few that even crossing the finish line is a victory.

830 athletes out of 1000 registered, started the race in Xonrupt, but only 605 crossed the finish line. The rest 225 DNF due to technical issues or because they were stopped after the bike, not being able to make the swim+bike cut off. The conditions in France were hard one more time, but this is what makes this race unique.

In every age group, amateurs gave it their all, hoping to nap a spot at the XTERRA World Championships in October.

Let’s start with Thibaut Gire from France, who won the M15/19 and the slot for Maui. He was almost 25’ in front of the 2nd athlete, in an age group that usually has very few athletes. This time in France we had 10 men in this category, but no woman.

For the F20/24 Ana Molinari from Germany, was the fastest and won the first slot, with local Nolwenn Houot behind her, grabbing the second one. For the men, the winner was once again Maxime Danon, and in second place another strong athlete, Robin Tournant. Both French have qualified in previous races of the Tour, so the 2 slots will go to other athletes with the roll down process. We are looking forward to see all these fast and young athletes competing in Maui this year.

Another French, Pauline Aigon did it again in the F25/29 winning her 3rd title of the season. She was 25min faster than her countrywoman Elisabeth Siroux who qualified to Maui with her second place. The other slot will go to 3rd or 4th place finishers.  For the M25/29, Arnaud Taurelle from France, was not only the winner of the day, but the fastest amateur overall. With his amazing performance in such a hard race like France, he is one of the contenders for the AG title in Maui. The second slot went to Belgian, Matthieu Neirynck.

In the Category 30/34 for the women, French Laurianne Plaçais took the title and the Maui qualification, in front of our 2016 AG Euro tour champion, Sjoukje Dufoer from Belgium. Another Belgian, Nicolas Corentin won the title and the slot for Hawaii in the men category, just 11 seconds in front of second place winner and Maui qualifier, Sébastien Kuefner from Germany. With 98 finishers in this age group the 3rd slot went to Belgian Johan Goubau.

Nadine Jackel from Germany and Lise Cholvy from France, are already planning their trip to Maui with there 1st and 2nd place in the F35/39. For the men, 104 athletes crossed the finish line in this AG. Czech, Philipp Eberl, Swiss Martin Welti and French Johann Mathis are the 3 qualified athletes.

The title in the F40/44 went to Inge Roelandt from Belgium. Polish Katarzyna Galewicz was second and both are happy qualifiers for the beautiful island of Hawaii. In the same category for the men, the title went to our 2nd best amateur of the the race, French Romaric Delepine. The second slot went to our 3rd place age group winner last year in Maui, Stephane Delicourt from France. The 3rd slot went to Frederic Loree, who is leading the AG this season.

For the F45/49 Riikka Vreeswijk-Kelja from Netherland was untouchable and took the title by more than 30 min ahead of Swiss Veronica Ziemke. As Rikka has already qualified for Maui the extra slot will go to 3rd place Veronique Paccard.

In the M45-49 we had some great battles. Jeff Stage from France had a great performance and took the first place, 17’ in front of Swiss Dirk Pauling. As they both have qualified in previous races, the roll down will make some people happy. The 3rd slot went to Jan Debnar, second last year in the Euro tour. Arthur Winter from Austria and French David Boulous, who are fighting for this seasons Euro Tour jersey, were 6thand 7th respectively.

The two slots for the F50/54 category, went to 1st place Catherine Gance from France and countrywoman Patricia Dubier. For the men, Arnaud Lalevee is unstoppable in this AG. After winning in Switzerland he was again 1st in Xonrupt, 30 min ahead of second place Gregor Kobert from Germany. The 3rd slot went to French Olivier Roux.

No woman in the F55/59 category but for the men, Philippe Costet from France, won the title and the Maui slot, in front of Italian Andrea Zamboni who finished second and qualified too.

In the M60/64 our Swiss XTERRA warrior Peter Naegeli was once again the winner here after his title at home, a week before. The last slot for Maui was captured by French Jean Louis Couste, after winning the 65/69 category.

Full Race Results are available here

After a short brake for 3 weeks, the action continues on July 30th, with our next XTERRA race in Abruzzo, Italy.