XTERRA European Tour News

Wasle and Batelier win XTERRA Germany

Monday, September 10, 2007

Two great stories from the Black Forest in southern Germany.  Carina Wasle is nearly impossible to beat on this mountainous course.  She is the horse to bet on at this race.  Francky Batelier has finished 2nd twice in two XTERRA’s.  For him, the 3rd time was a charm as he chased down the very strong young German, Andreas Bocherer, on the last lap of the run for his first win.

I’ve seen lots of races, but this 6th chapter of XTERRA Germany had more passing and re-passing than any I can think of.  Ironman Champ Faris Al Sultan led everyone from the swim with Bocherer and Batelier close behind.  The two mountainbikers made quick work of the road rider with Andi simply thrashing the steep hills and putting 45 seconds on Franky.  Nico Lebrun, Nico Pfitzenmaier and Belgium’s Jim Thijs were nose to tail at the end of the first lap with Lebrun having passed 16 riders.

Sibylle Matter was 2 minutes + up on Hungarian Eszter Erdelyi, 3 up on Carina Wasle and 4 up on Austrian champ Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer coming out of the water.  But Sibylle was a bit tired from finishing 2d at last weekends Monaco 70.3 race and tiny Carina was equally as impressive on the bike as Bocherer, pulling to within a minute of the lead at the end of the first runde.  Eszter had a bit of the flu and dropped back to 5th with Anna Baylis coming forward with Carina in a very close race.

Andi Bocherer was having the bike race of his young career.  Nothing Batelier, Lebrun or Pfitzenmaier tried could cut into his lead; and these are three very fast men.  Bocherer arrived at T2 with over a minute in hand from Batelier.  Lebrun, who finished the Monaco race in 3rd simply could not make up enough time on Franky and looked content to podium in third.  Just back from Nico was German National Champion Felix Schumann and then a death struggle for 5th with Pfitzenmaier, Denmark Champ Ronnie Dietz (Germany) and Czech Jan Kubicek just inches apart.

The women’s race was just as good.  Carina had put the hammer down and had a solid lead into T2.  Sibylle had problems and was back in 4th with new Mom Katrin Hill up into third behind Anna Baylis-Scheidenbauer.   Katrin won the Titisee race just 3 years ago and it was great to see her back racing and still very fast. 

Unlike so many races, the competitors were not finished competing after the bike.  Eszter may not have felt strong on the bike, but the girl can run, and she sped her way from 5th to 3rd with the fastest woman’s run by nearly 3 minutes.  Bocherer came around the first lap still in the lead, but the bright green uniform of the Frenchman was just 100 feet behind and the writing was on the wall.  Lebrun had his typical fastest men’s run but had lost too much on the swim/bike to challenge young Andi.  Schumann was solid in 4th but the battle for 5th between Dietz/Pfitzenmaier/Kubicek was still hot with less than a minute between the 3. 

The end to a very exciting race saw the Frenchman Batelier come home 45 seconds ahead of a very happy Bocherer.  Lebrun taking 3rd and the Euro points lead from Ronny Dietz.  Schumann in 4th and a very tired and pleased Pfitzenmaier in 5th, Kubicek 6th and Dietz 7th, still with less than 2 minutes separating the three.

Carina had a sore right calf the past week and was only able to run on the Wednesday before the race.  She said she felt good, but was not certain how it would hold up on the steep climbs and descents of the German running trails.  Clearly it was good enough.  Sibylle came on strong in the run to finish second, as mentioned Eszter flew to third with Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer 4th and lovely Katrin Hill 5th.

The weather in Europe this summer has been terrible.  This week in Germany was no better with cold temperatures and rain during the middle of the week.  But like Denmark and Austria, race day was OK with the sun actually coming out a few times during the day.

This race in the Black Forest has now become a tradition.  The Titisee-Neustadt folks love having the athletes in town, the hotels are full, the restaurants are busy and the race is colorful and loud with music and announcers keeping everyone entertained.  A bunch of Americans made the trip this year and all loved the trails, the food, the folks and the party.  Put this on your list To Do for next year.