If history is anything to go by then the host country should do well when the starting gun goes off at the first ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Spain, just a month from today.
The event in Extremadura will be the first Cross Triathlon world titles in history, but there have been regular European and Pan American championships since 2007 and the results from both show that the host country often has an advantage.
At the 2007 Cross Triathlon European titles in Ibiza, Spain took all-three podium places in the men’s race. At the 2008 European titles in Ameland in the Netherlands, Dutch athletes won both the men’s and women’s races. At the 2008 PATCO South American championships in Peru, athletes from Peru also took both men’s and women’s titles.
That has changed in the past two years though, mainly due to Frenchman Franky Batelier and his two consecutive European titles. Batelier won the first in 2009 in Italy, then followed it up with a second-straight win at the 2010 event in Slovakia. The women also started to mix things up, the respective 2009 and 2010 women’s European winners were Swiss athlete Renata Bucher and Austrian Carina Wasle.
Wasle, from Austria, is also a notable athlete given she’s also competed in the highest level at Winter Triathlon. Wasle won the Winter World triathlon title in 2009 and has reached the podium at other world titles and world cup races in the snow.
The field for the first 2011 cross titles could have plenty of athletes like Wasle, as it’s quite common for athletes in Europe to compete in both cross and winter triathlon. But there is also likely to be some athletes who come from traditional Olympic-distance triathlon like Spain’s Ivan Rana. Rana was the 2002 ITU World Champion and finished fifth in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games men’s race and has been named in Spain’s team for the world cross titles, alongside Eneko Llanos.
The inaugural elite world titles will be decided over a 1km swim, 20km mountain bike and 6km cross-country run.
The event also features age-group categories, as well as junior and paratriathlon races. All athletes have the option to also enter the cross duathlon which consists of a 6km cross-country run, 20km mountain bike and finishes with a 3km cross-country run.
The championships will be staged at “The Ring”, in Extremadura, an International Innovation Centre for outdoor sports.