A strong pro field is gathered in the small town of Figueira da Foz on Portugal’s central coast for Saturday’s first ever XTERRA Portugal Championship, the first of six championship events in the 2010 XTERRA European Tour.
There are 25 pro men and 11 pro women including defending 2009 XTERRA Euro Tour champs Franky Batelier from France and Renata Bucher from Switzerland on the start list.
Batelier, who was perfect in Europe in 2009 with XTERRA victories in Italy, Czech, Germany, and Austria, faces off against three-time Tour champ (’06-’08) and fellow countryman Nico Lebrun. Lebrun, who raced in the America Tour last year and won the XTERRA USA Championship, fell just 55 seconds shy of winning his second XTERRA World Title in Maui last year. Also in the mix are Lieuwe Boonstra (2009 XTERRA South Africa Champion), and Sam Gardner (2010 & 2009 XTERRA Saipan Champion).
Men’s Pro Start List:
BELGIUM – Yeray Luxem, Jim Thijs
ENGLAND – Sam Gardner, Peter Hawkins, Llewellyn Holmes, Tim McDowell, Graham Wadsworth
FRANCE – Franky Batelier, Fabien Combaluzier, Cedric Lassonde, Nico Lebrun
GERMANY – Jens Buder, Ronny Dietz
NETHERLANDS – Lars Eerden
PORTUGAL – Custodio Antonio, Lino Barruncho, Tiago Coutinho, Sergio Dias, Rafael Gomes, Nuno Neves
SOUTH AFRICA – Lieuwe Boonstra
SPAIN – Jesus Colas, Borja Figueroa, Francisco Jimenez, Guillermo Oliva
The women’s race will see four of the top five performers in last year’s Euro Tour (Bucher, Carina Wasle, Maud Golsteyn, Myriam Guillot) doing battle. Look for a showdown between Bucher (4-time Euro Tour Champ with 20 career XTERRA wins) and Wasle – who defeated Bucher at XTERRA Czech last year and was 4th at XTERRA Worlds.
Women’s Pro Start List:
AUSTRIA – Carina Wasle
ENGLAND – Darrelle Parker
FRANCE – Alexandra Borrelly, Myriam Guillot, Marion Lorblanchet
NETHERLANDS – Judy Berg, Maud Golsteyn
PORTUGAL – Maria Areosa
SPAIN – Gabriel Faci, Yolanda Vallejo
SWITZERLAND – Renata Bucher