XTERRA Europe | European Off-Road Triathlon Tour

The European Union's premier off-road triathlon series. Featuring championship races in five countries leading up to the XTERRA World Championship in Maui, Hawaii, USA.

XTERRA Switzerland Championship Saturday




The last of five stops on the XTERRA European Tour is this Saturday, September 10, and the 2011 Euro Tour titles will be on the line at the XTERRA Switzerland Championship in Prangins. XTERRA managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas is on-site for the race and brings us this report.

The European final is just two days away. It has been a fabulous season in Europe with great racing and sold out fields. The weatherman has been very cooperative. Yesterday and today were sunny and warm and race day is predicted to be 27-29C or in the low 80’s to those Fahrenheit folks.

The field is over 600 strong when combining Championship and Light. The lead story has to be German pro Ronny Dietz leading many time Champion Olivier Marceau for the European Pro title. Ronny is a tall, handsome man with an easy smile. He won XTERRA Germany a few years ago and is a consistent podium racer. However this year has been great for him with a brilliant win in the rain in Czech and second places in Italy and Germany. Marceau has won twice but has had some lower place finishes. Dietz leads on raw points by 20 – but the rules allow one race to be dropped and if we add up just the 3 best finishes this season the two protagonists are within 2 points of each other. It will all boil down to who finishes in front of the other regardless of place

It is not so close for the women with Marion “Bubu” Lorblanchet having a dream season winning 3 of 4 events. Renata Bucher is in second with one win but is 28 points behind. It would take a major meltdown or mechanical for the “Swiss Miss” to beat her French friend.

For any race, there is always the surprise and for the men it is the entry of Marcel Zamora, a five time Ironman Nice winner. That is not a typo – Zamora is the king of Nice and you can throw in two Monaco 70.3 victories to his very impressive CV. Zamora is here on Thursday riding the course so the Spanish champion is serious. It is also late in the season and that means that “The Professor” Nicolas Lebrun will be ready to win as he heads into the big money XTERRA fall.

For the women it is the return of many time XTERRA winner Sibylle Matter. Sibylle returns after taking a season off for the birth of her first child. Knowing her for many years, she is not back for a grand tour but to do well and nobody should be surprised if she stands on the podium.

Many of you probably think Switzerland – mountains – long climbs. If so, you would be wrong about our race venue. The village of Prangins is right on Lac Leman (also known as Lake Geneva) and only about 20K from the Geneva airport. It is more in the heart of rolling hills, vineyards and huge estates. The main compound, transition and finish is across the street from a genuine Castle, now the National Museum of Switzerland. Michael Schumacher, 7-time formula one world champion lives on the run course. And no, you gearheads, you cannot go into his garage.

Yesterday the water temp was a nice 20C (68F) but strong winds today whipped up this huge body of water, it is 45 miles long, and water temps dropped. The bike is very unusual with a combination of beautiful paths, singletrack through corn fields, narrow ledges under highways, water crossings and has but about 1,000’ total climbing. The run is similar being fast and not too technical but great fun. All disciplines are two laps and this race goes to the fastest not necessarily the best technical rider/runner.

Lots of hotels and pensions are in the area, the food is very French but always with Swiss Fondue. Views of the mountains are spectacular, especially with the clear fall weather. From the swim start you can look east to see Mont Blanc covered in snow and to the south the jet d’eau in the harbor of Geneva. The jet is one of the largest fountains in the world and puts 130 gallons of water a second up 450 feet into the sky.

The ancient city of Nyon is less than 5K away and the very cosmopolitan cities of Geneva and Lausanne just minutes by car. There is no shortage of great things to experience and see in this area. Anybody have an extra $100,000 for a watch? Switzerland is the home of Rolex, Patek-Philippe, Vacheron and in price all the way down to Swatch. In fact, the top Swiss male and female will win a Hublot timepiece – Hublot makes one of the most expensive watches in the world at the moment costing $105,000. The XTERRA awards are slightly less but stunning none the less.

More tomorrow as things progress and all the athletes arrive in Prangins.

Follow along with “Kahuna Dave’s” adventures on the XTERRA Facebook page.

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