Middaugh mania: father and son are oldest and youngest in XTERRA World Championship elite field | VailDaily.com
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Middaugh mania: father and son are oldest and youngest in XTERRA World Championship elite field

Josiah was the 2015 world champion and Sullivan won XTERRA USA Championship in Beaver Creek this summer

Sullivan Middaugh crosses the finish in first place for the Xterra USA Championship on July 16 in Beaver Creek. Middaugh edged out his dad, Josiah, who took second.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Sullivan Middaugh wasn’t even a “twinkle in his dad’s eye” when Josiah Middaugh made his XTERRA debut at Keystone in 2000. On Saturday, the 18-year-old will line-up for his second career elite XTERRA race — and first world championships — as the youngest competitor in the field. His dad, as you could have probably guessed, will make his 21st world championship start in Trentino, Italy as the oldest.

“I am most excited to share this experience with my son, Sullivan,” Josiah, who has finished in the top-10 at XTERRA Worlds 10 years in a row and been the top American nine straight years, told XTERRA.

“Seeing his recent enthusiasm for triathlon has reenergized my training in hopes that I can keep up!”



“I want to get the most out of this race and do my best,” stated Sullivan, who has been training this fall in Park City with his Project Podium teammates — a group focused mainly on Olympic-distance road triathlons.

“I also want to use this race as experience for the future.”

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Even though his goal is to pocket wisdom for down the road — eh, trail — and it’s his first trip to Europe ever, competitors would be wise to not look over the XTERRA rookie. In his elite debut, he dominated everyone — including his 15-time champion dad — to win the XTERRA USA championship on July 16. After a substantial training block at altitude, which has included up to three daily sessions, the 2022 Battle Mountain graduate believes he’s fitter than ever.

“I am definitely in the best shape of my life so far,” he stated.

“I would say I have improved a lot in the swim, bike and run.”



There has to be at least an outside chance that Sullivan, who won the 15-19 age group world title last year in Maui, could follow in the footsteps of Hayden Wilde, the 2021 overall champion who also built his confidence by winning the 15-19 age group World titles in 2015 and 2016. If not this year, perhaps in a few.

“I would say this is a learning year for me,” Sullivan answered when asked about his theme for the season.

“There were a lot of firsts for me this year — competing in the junior road triathlons at the beginning of the year, my first elite race at Xterra Nationals in Beaver Creek, and now this will be my first time competing outside of the U.S.”

2021 XTERRA World Championship results

Top 10 elite men

1. Hayden Wilde, Whakatane, New Zealand 2:18:24
2. Arthur Serrieres, Montpellier, France 2:18:46
3. Ruben Ruzafa, Malaga, Spain 2:19:17
4. Seth Rider, Germantown, Tennessee, USA 2:20:27
5. Sebastien Carabin, Andrimont, Belgium 2:20:46
6. Josiah Middaugh, Eagle-Vail, Colorado, USA 2:21:00
7. Maxim Chane, Falicon, France 2:24:00
8. Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, Aarhus, Denmark 2:24:43
9. Francisco Serrano, Monterrey, Mexico 2:27:48
10. Xavier Dafflon, Düdingen, Switzerland 2:28:11

Top 10 elite women

1. Flora Duffy, Devonshire, Bermuda 2:39:49
2. Loanne Duvoisin, Vevey, Switzerland 3:46,56
3. Michelle Flipo, Cuajimalpa, Mexico 2:50:17
4. Eleonora Peroncini, Parma, Italy 2:56:09
5. Suzie Snyder, Boulder, Colorado, USA 3:02:01
6. Alizee Paties, Dijon, France 3:02:55
7. Carina Wasle, Kundl, Austria 3:05:02
8. Amanda Felder, Sedona, Arizona, USA 3:07:54
9. Katie Button, Sechelt, BC, Canada 3:11:29
10. Melanie McQuaid, Victoria, BC, Canada 3:17:21

 

 

Another first has been living on his own. That’s been a little adjustment for Dad, too.

“We have talked almost every day and he seems to be doing great. The training volume is intense but he seems to be handling it well,” Josiah said.

“It is great when we get a call from him, wondering what he should have for dinner or what to buy from the grocery store. It is hard not having him around, but thrilled that he is finding his own way.”

“I think that the group environment in Park City has helped me a lot with my training,” Sullivan stated.

“I am pushed by my teammates every day and it is easier to stay motivated. I am still getting used to living on my own but I am getting the hang of it.”

After landing in Italy, Sullivan checked out the bike and run course.

“The course has a lot of climbing on the bike which will suit my strengths very well,” he noted.

“It also has a lot of technical sections with a lot of wet roots which I am not very used to.”

Sullivan and Josiah Middaugh will be the youngest and oldest competitors, respectively, in the men’s elite field at the 2022 XTERRA World Championships on Saturday in Trentino, Italy.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

The 18-year-old swapped his trusty hard-tail for a new full-suspension (2018 Scott Spark RC 900) bike for the first time with the European debut in mind. Both Middaugh’s plan to use trusted tires capable of a variety of conditions and flat protection, with a larger tire option just in case. With rain falling daily, the technical course promises to be slippery, which will be reminiscent of the last 15 minutes of the 2021 championships’ bike leg.

Past XTERRA World Champions

PAST MEN’S CHAMPIONS (Runner-up)
2021: Hayden Wilde (NZL), 2:18:39 (Arthur Serrieres)
2019: Bradley Weiss (RSA), 2:33:39 (Arthur Serrieres)
2018: Rom Akerson (CRC), 2:52:41 (Bradley Weiss)
2017: Bradley Weiss (RSA), 2:32:09 (Mauricio Mendez)
2016: Mauricio Mendez (MEX), 2:49:38 (Ruben Ruzafa)
2015: Josiah Middaugh (USA), 2:35:32 (Braden Currie)
2014: Ruben Ruzafa (ESP), 2:29:56 (Josiah Middaugh)
2013: Ruben Ruzafa (ESP), 2:34:34 (Asa Shaw)
2012: Javier Gomez (ESP), 2:26:54 (Josiah Middaugh)
2011: Michael Weiss (AUT), 2:27:00 (Dan Hugo)
2010: Conrad Stoltz (RSA), 2:31:07 (Franky Batelier)
2009: Eneko Llanos (ESP), 2:37:22 (Nico Lebrun)
2008: Ruben Ruzafa (ESP), 2:37:36 (Michi Weiss)
2007: Conrad Stoltz (RSA), 2:40:54 (Olivier Marceau)
2006: Hamish Carter (NZL), 2:42:36 (Olivier Marceau)
2005: Nicolas Lebrun (FRA), 2:38:19 (Eneko Llanos)
2004: Eneko Llanos (ESP), 2:28:44 (Olivier Marceau)
2003: Eneko Llanos (ESP), 2:32:56 (Nicolas Lebrun)
2002: Conrad Stoltz (RSA), 2:22:55 (Eneko Llanos)
2001: Conrad Stoltz (RSA), 2:28:48 (Kerry Classen)
2000: Michael Tobin (USA), 2:30:53 (Mike Vine)
1999: Ned Overend (USA), 2:32:50 (Michael Tobin)
1998: Ned Overend (USA), 2:24:46 (Wes Hobson)
1997: Mike Pigg (USA), 2:28:48 (Ned Overend)
1996: Jimmy Riccitello (USA), 2:27:42 (Mike Pigg)

MEN’S RECORD BOOK 
Swim Record: Glenn Wachtel (USA) 18:10 (2000)
Bike Record: Michael Weiss (AUT) 1:17:30 (2011)
Run Record: Jan Rehula (CZE) 33:14 (2004)

PAST WOMEN’S CHAMPIONS (Runner-up)
2021: Flora Duffy (BER), 2:39:49 (Loanne Duvoisin)
2019: Flora Duffy (BER), 2:49:23 (Lesley Paterson)
2018: Lesley Paterson (GBR), 3:29:07 (Michelle Flipo)
2017: Flora Duffy (BER), 2:47:47 (Barbara Riveros)
2016: Flora Duffy (BER), 3:14:59 (Lesley Paterson)
2015: Flora Duffy (BER), 2:54:17 (Lesley Paterson)
2014: Flora Duffy (BER), 2:47:59 (Barbara Riveros)
2013: Nicky Samuels (NZL), 2:57:48 (Lesley Paterson)
2012: Lesley Paterson (GBR), 2:44:12 (Barbara Riveros)
2011: Lesley Paterson (GBR), 2:45:59 (Marion Lorblanchet)
2010: Shonny Vanlandingham (USA), 2:58:20 (Julie Dibens)
2009: Julie Dibens (GBR), 2:56:42 (Lesley Paterson)
2008: Julie Dibens (GBR), 3:03:57 (Danelle Kabush)
2007: Julie Dibens (GBR), 3:01:24 (Melanie McQuaid)
2006: Melanie McQuaid (CAN), 3:07:53 (Danelle Kabush)
2005: Melanie McQuaid (CAN), 3:07:16 (Sybille Matter)
2004: Jamie Whitmore (USA), 3:01:35 (Melanie McQuaid)
2003: Melanie McQuaid (CAN), 2:57:08 (Jamie Whitmore)
2002: Candy Angle (USA), 2:57:33 (Jamie Whitmore)
2001: Anke Erlank (RSA), 3:00:59 (Cherie Touchette)
2000: Kerstin Weule (USA), 3:07:04 (Melanie McQuaid)
1999: Shari Kain (USA), 3:04:19 (Kerstin Weule)
1998: Sue Latshaw (USA), 2:58:49 (Uli Blank)
1997: Cameron Randolph (USA), 3:04:25 (Lesley Tomlinson)
1996: Michellie Jones (AUS), 3:04:53 (Shari Kain)

WOMEN’S RECORD BOOK
Swim Record: Raeleigh Tennant (AUS) 18:31 (2000)
Bike Record: Melanie McQuaid (CAN) 1:29:27 (2011)
Run Record: Erika Csomor (HUN) 38:18 (2004)

The contenders

“It will be a very Euro-centric pro field,” Josiah stated when asked about the men’s elite-field contenders.

“They didn’t take much of a break during the pandemic, so XTERRA has been developing strongly in Europe; so there are many new players and a very deep pro field.”

Every World Triathlon Cross champion — the ITU’s own international off-road triathlon championships — will be in Trentino. Several of those athletes have decorated XTERRA resumes as well, like Conrad “the Caveman Stoltz, a four-time XTERRA world champion and the winner of the first three World Triathlon Cross Championships (2011-2013).

Ruben Ruzafa — who has had the fastest bike split in an astounding eight straight XTERRA Worlds — won the ITU event in 2014-2016 and in 2018. The three-time XTERRA world champion enters with the No. 3 ranking.

“This race will be very special. First time Worlds is in Europe, near home, many people will come to enjoy and it makes it special,” he told XTERRA.

“I am in a moment in my career (where) I enjoy every race and every moment without the pressure to have to prove anything, so I’m able to live the races more relaxed.”

On paper, the heavy favorite is France’s Arthur Serrieres. The only blip in his last 16 races — he’s won 15 of them — came from a mechanical issue on the bike. Serrieres is the reigning and two-time ITU World Triathlon Cross champion, the reigning and three-time XTERRA European champion and was the runner-up at XTERRA Worlds the last two seasons. The winners on those years — Hayden Wilde and Bradley Weiss — will not be in Italy.

“Everybody has a card to play, it’s a world championship, a one day race, so we can have surprises,” he told XTERRA.

“I proved I can be strong this year, and looking forward to see if I can do it again in Molveno.”

Serrieres arranged two big altitude training camps — one in July and another in September — for this race. On Sept. 15, he said he didn’t feel great, “but it’s part of the down after the altitude.”

“I should be good in two weeks,” he continued.

Josiah believes the Forissier brothers, also from France, should play into the mix, too. Felix is No. 5 and Arther, the 2019 ITU Cross champion, is No. 8. “Lucas Kocar from Czech Republic will be strong, as well as about a dozen other contenders,” Josiah added.

“I know Sullivan and I can compete with all of them, but we will just have to focus on our own races and compete for every position.”

Americans in the XTERRA World Championships elite field

Men: 

Billy Allen, Tom Eickelberg, Barret Fishner, Josiah Middaugh, Sullivan Middaugh, Keller Norland, Branden Rakita, Humberto Rivera, Benny Smith, Brian Summers, Colin Szuch, Sam Teller, John Wiygul

Women: Amanda Felder, Irena Ossola, Amanda Presgraves, Suzie Snyder, Nicole Valentine

Themes of ‘new’ and ‘old’ are woven into the XTERRA tapestry this year — from the location itself to the age range of the elite fields — but it doesn’t fit perfectly for the Middaugh’s.

“I am looking forward to the new location,” Sullivan remarked. “This is my first time in Europe so it will be an awesome experience.”

XTERRA World Championships full elite men’s field

XTERRA World Ranking/Bib# – Name, nationality

2/1 – Arthur Serrieres, FRA
3/2 – Ruben Ruzafa, ESP
5/12 – Felix Forissier, FRA
6/3 – Sebastien Carabin, BEL
7/4 – Josiah Middaugh, USA
8/14 – Arthur Forissier, FRA
9/15 – Lukas Kočař, CZE
10/6 – Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DEN
11/5 – Maxim Chane, FRA
14/16 – François Vie, POR
16/17 – Franco Pesavento, ITA
18/18 – Sullivan Middaugh, USA
19/19 – Petr Soukup, CZE
20/8 – Xavier Dafflon, SUI
23/20 – Jens Roth, GER
24/21 – Federico Spinazzè, ITA
26/7 – Francisco Serrano, MEX
27/22 – Scott Anderson, GER
29/23 – Guillaume Meunier, FRA
30/24 – Sebastian Neef, GER
32/25 – Francois Carloni, FRA
33/26 – Maxime Gourmaud, FRA
34/27 – Kieran McPherson, NZL
35/28 – Riccardo Ridolfi, ITA
36/29 – Michele Bonacina, ITA
38/30 – Colin Szuch, USA
41/31 – Lucas Van Deynze, BEL
43/32 – Rui Dolores, POR
46/33 – Andrea Zanenga, ITA
47/34 – Veit Hönle, GER
*XWR/Bib# – Name, NAT
48/35 – Peter Lehmann, GER
57/36 – Dominik Wychera, AUT
61/37 – Arthur De Jaegher, BEL
62/38 – Jan Šneberger, CZE
66/9 – Samuel Jud, SUI
75/39 – Julien Buffe, FRA
85/40 – Jules Dumas, FRA
90/41 – Andres Carnevali del Castillo, ESP
98/42 – Gaëtan Vivien, FRA
102/43 – Tiago Maia, POR
103/11 – Branden Rakita, USA
108/44 – Michal Francke, CZE
110/45 – Benny Smith, USA
115/46 – Edmond Roy, CAN
116/47 – Sam Teller, USA
121/48 – Quirijn Waaijenberg, NED
140/49 – Billy Allen, USA
153/50 – Pâris Fellmann, LUX
157/51 – Keller Norland, USA
174/52 – Thomas Sauser, SUI
177/53 – Hugo Amaral Barbosa, BRA
207/54 – John Wiygul, USA
219/55 – Herbert Peters, GER
238/56 – Alex Rhodes, GBR
254/57 – Humberto Rivera, USA
326/58 – Tom Eickelberg, USA
396/61 – Octavio Vicente, POR
472/11 – Brian Summers, USA
729/59 – Barret Fishner, USA
NR/60 – Adriaan Albert Myburgh, RSA

As far as goals for Josiah, who has already been inducted into the XTERRA Hall of Fame? It’s business as usual. In other words, there’s still a bit of fire burning in his competitive soul.

“Really just focused on getting the most out of myself on race day,” he wrote in a message from the airport on his way to Italy earlier this week.

“I am confident that I still have some fight left in me and I can’t wait to compete.”


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