ITU reigning champions return to defend Cross Triathlon World Championship titles in Zittau, Germany.
Read the preview from Triathlon.org below:
This weekend will showcase one of the grittiest and grimiest disciplines in triathlon with the 2014 Zittau ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship. Set over a 1.5km swim, 36km off terrain bike and 9km cross country run, athletes will grind it out for a chance to call themselves the world’s best.
Thanks to the surge in popularity cross triathlon has received, Saturday will feature a mixture of veterans and newcomers that is sure to be scintillating. In addition to the elites, the Under23, junior, age group and paratriathlon divisions will be contested.
Helena Erbenova (CZE) returns as the multisport queen with two Cross Triathlon World Championship titles to her name, as well as a winter triathlon crown to boot. Chantell Widney (CAN), who earned bronze last year, will line up second next to Erbenova.
Renata Bucher (GER) and Katrin Muller (SUI) both downed Erbenova recently at the 2014 Sardinia ETU Natura Cross Triathlon European Championships. Bucher did so in formidable fashion, winning by nearly four minutes. While Bucher hasn’t been as steadfast on the XTERRA circuit as in previous years, elite triathlete Flora Duffy (BER) has begun to sketch out a spot for herself in the XTERRA rankings. Also on the this weekend’s start list is Olympic bronze medallist Erin Densham (AUS), who earlier this year won an XTERRA race in which she entered as a part of her training for her return to the World Triathlon Series.
The king of cross triathlon himself, “The Caveman” Conrad Stoltz (RSA) returns as the three-time consecutive reigning champion. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP), who finished second to Stoltz last year, will this year line up next to him for another shot at taking out the South African after winning the XTERRA world title the last two years. Next to them will be France’s Brice Daubord, who completed the podium at the 2013 Championships. While Josiah Middaugh (USA) hasn’t competed in an ITU race since finishing off the podium at the 2012 Shelby County ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, Middaugh tops the charts in the XTERRA rankings. Fellow XTERRA competitor Bradley Weiss (RSA) will also toe the line come Saturday. The race will be his first on the ITU calendar since winning the Under23 World Championships in 2012.