With the XTERRA World Championship heading to an entirely new continent for the first time in 26 years, featuring one of the strongest elite fields in XTERRA history, and the final round of the explosive Short Track series all happening on the same weekend, you can guarantee all eyes will be on Trentino, Italy come this weekend.
Watch the action live right here on Colorado Triathlete. Coverage for the world championship race starts at 12:30am Colorado time on Saturday, October 1st. Coverage for the short track event starts at 6:00am Colorado time on Sunday, October 2nd.
Keep an eye on Colorado favorites Josiah and Sullivan Middaugh
With neither Hayden Wilde nor Flora Duffy able to toe the line in order to defend their title, we’ll be seeing two new XTERRA Champions for 2022. Fitting given the new location.
And with the Europeans largely dominating the upper section of the XTERRA world rankings, expect the home crowd to be exceptionally loud.
Watch for America’s all-time greatest XTERRA racer, Josiah Middaugh, and his son Sullivan, who beat his dad at this year’s USA Championship in Beaver Creek. Both are right at home at altitude and in the mountains.
Josiah Middaugh is a 20-year veteran and the 2015 XTERRA World Champion. He’s been in the top 10 at Worlds for 10 straight years. To say he’ll feel right at home at altitude, climbing up a rocky path in the Dolomites — no matter what the weather conditions are — would be an understatement.
His son, Sullivan, who turned 18-years-old in March, literally grew up with XTERRA and has grown into a world-class athlete. He just graduated from Battle Mountain High School where he set the school record in the 5K (15:30) and is headed to Arizona State University as part of the USA Triathlon Project Podium squad which is designed to develop athletes into Olympic medalists.
“Looking forward to a mountain course for worlds,” said Josiah Middaugh. “I am most excited to share this experience with my son Sullivan as we bookend the elite start list as the youngest and oldest in the pro field. Seeing his recent enthusiasm for triathlon had reenergized my training in hopes that I can keep up!”
XTERRA World Championship 2022 on Saturday, October 1st
XTERRA Short Track in Molveno, Italy on Sunday, October 2nd
XTERRA Worlds makes its European debut
After announcing back in February that the XTERRA World Championship will be held on European soil for the first time in 26 years, we’re now just days away from finding out if Trentino has what it takes to be a worthy successor to the legendary Maui island.
But by all indications so far, there is little doubt that the entire event will deliver nothing short of a spectacle for the hundreds of athletes and thousands of fans in attendance, bringing a fitting end to a huge season of racing and the beginning of a new era for XTERRA.
Rising to the occasion in sheer numbers, the new host will see a capacity field of over 750 of the world’s best amateur and professional XTERRA athletes from 40 countries across the world take on even bigger climbs in potentially one of the most competitive fields in XTERRA Championship history.
And with the removal of the at-large pool this year, every single athlete that lines up beneath the Brenta Dolomites on October 1st would have earned their spot the hard way, and will no doubt be ready to leave absolutely everything they have out on the course.
What makes Trentino Championship worthy?
Already a bucket-list destination for off-road and adventure enthusiasts, Trentino embodies almost everything XTERRA looks to inject into its events: culture, community, and a challenging terrain that offers awe-inspiring views for those strong enough to conquer it.
Off the course, Trentino has so much to offer the XTERRA community that it’s recommended for those heading to the race stay for at least a week. From climbing, hiking, and riding to skiing and snowboarding, Trentino is built around adventure and exploration. History buffs can dig into how the Brenta Dolomites once served as a vicious battleground in the First World War, culture connoisseurs can choose from an array of museums and galleries, and the entire area offers the kind of culinary experience you’d expect from rural Italy.
But on the course, where it truly matters, Trentino has every ingredient of an XTERRA Championship course. From the crystal waters of Lake Molveno, through the brutal yet beautiful forest trails and up into the sawtooth peaks of the staggering Brenta Dolomites, this course is every bit worthy of a Championship race.
There’s a reason the inaugural XTERRA Trentino Dolomiti Paganella off-road triathlon was named the 2021 Event of the Year for this same venue just less than a year ago.
A look at the new championship track
Swim – 1500m. Starting off in Lake Molveno, where the water is so nice you could bottle it and make a fortune, the 1500m swim will take athletes around an M-shaped loop, with a short beach run at halfway.
As a homage to the Maui swim, this lap allows a long start straight, reducing the washing machine effect at the first turn buoy and removing the stress around overtaking lapped athletes that can sometimes occur in two-lap swims.
The water temperature in October is typically around 15-18°C, a little on the chilly side so wetsuits are likely to be compulsory. Typically the lake is flat and free of chop which should make for fast swim times all round.
Bike – 32km. The bike course takes in the best that the Paganella Dolomiti region has to offer with a little something for all riding styles.
Coming out the first transition, riders will have a few minutes of flat lakeside trail to get settled, take on some nutrition and maybe even pass a few people. But after the first left the elevation begins – a central theme for this epic course.
The climb can be broken down into three parts, starting with a steep 1km stretch that will show exactly who has bought their A-game before being followed by a flatter and faster section.
This section will split the field, bringing the cream to the crop as the faster swimmers either knuckle down in an attempt to keep their lead, or, if they’ve overcooked it, fall back into the pack to try and save some energy.
At roughly 6km, the trail kicks up again as it switchbacks away from the town of Andalo. Climbing here is steep but the rocks and roots keep it interesting. Athletes able to master the combination of power, patience and precision will prevail here.
The last part of the climb is the steepest. With gradients hitting 18% in some places, those who have gone too hard too early will be hemorrhaging time here to those who have paced their efforts with a little moderation. Fortunately there is grip here in the form of rough concrete service roads, so pure power is all that counts knowing that recovery time lies just ahead.
From the top riders will plunge down into the purpose-built Blade Runner trail. One of the best laps in the bike park, this trail is a wicked mixture of machine-built flow and natural single track with enough roots, jumps and drops to keep riders on their toes.
Once back in Molveno the course takes riders through a section of Sunday’s Short Track course, going around a small lap in front of the crowds before heading out for a second loop.
Run – 10km. At first glance, the run course looks straightforward. But only for those who have paced the bike leg correctly. The key to a good run here is to be comfortable running hard after a tough bike.
The course starts off fast and flat along the lakeside, using the natural trails and rolling terrain to create a fast and flowing opening 1.5km. But things then get technical quickly before a steep climb up to the waterfall.
From the top it’s a fire road plummet back down to the start of the second lap, or to hit the biggest finish line of the XTERRA season.