From XTERRA News
Kapalua, Maui (October 22, 2018) – The 23rd annual XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon scheduled for Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Kapalua, Maui boasts the most competitive elite men’s field ever assembled.
It’s a bold statement, but easy to support considering the past four winners, and second-place finishers, are on the start list.
Bradley Weiss from South Africa won last year, Mauricio Mendez from Mexico was second. Mendez won in 2016, and Ruben Ruzafa from Spain was second. Josiah Middaugh from the U.S. won in 2015, with Ruzafa finishing second, and Ruzafa won in 2014, the year Middaugh placed second.
And that’s the story, all these men have gotten the better of each other at one time or another, and they’ve all remained at the top of their game.
“I think that Maui always shows us that there is more than one favorite,” said Ruzafa, who has been first off the bike at XTERRA Worlds each of the last five years. He won two of those races, in 2013 and 2014, but got chased down by Middaugh in 2015, Mendez in 2016, and Weiss in 2017.
“This year, for the first time since 2014, I’ve done altitude training to prepare for Maui and I’ve changed things in my run and bike training,” said Ruzafa, who has won Maui three times and captured four of the last five ITU Cross Tri World Titles since 2014. “I was in the Sierra Nevada for two weeks at the end of September, and since then at my home in Spain. The course is so hard, and different every year because of the weather. We always have to wait until the last moment to see what the terrain conditions will be like.”
No matter what the conditions are like on Sunday, you can count on the reigning champ Brad Weiss to be in the mix.
“The goal is always to win, and I will be disappointed with anything less than defending my title,” said Weiss, who won the XTERRA Asia-Pacific and European Championships this year. “Saying that, the caliber of athletes racing continues to improve and there is a long list of contenders working hard to dethrone me. I welcome the challenge and look forward to facing it come race day, and at the risk of sounding arrogant, I will say I am the favorite. I proved I can win on this course in 2017 and plan to do the same in 2018. The course suits me well and I look forward to maximizing those advantages come race day.”
If experience means anything, give the advantage to Middaugh, who will be racing in his 18th straight XTERRA World Championship fresh off a win at the XTERRA Pan Am Champs last month against Weiss and Mendez.
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