With event chief Dr. Klaus Schwager along the World Championship course by mountain bike. Get the insight into the challenges of the professional cross triathletes and the fascination of the natural park Zittau mountains alike.
Conrad Stoltz is a three-time ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion and a four-time XTERRA World Champion. He has also taken part in the summer Olympics twice and won numerous professional races across the world. Hailing from South Africa, Conrad ‘The Caveman’ Stoltz completed his first bmx bike race when he was just nine years old – and his strongest discipline remains mountain biking. He entered his first triathlon when he was fourteen, and has been a professional cross triathlete since 1991. Now forty years old, although he’s completed almost every cross triathlon course in the world, this year’s world championships at Zittau Mountains National Park will be a new experience for him. Nevertheless, the objective of the reigning ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion is clear: “To win my fourth straight world title.”
1. What do you find so fascinating about cross triathlon?
With road triathlon, you chase the white line on the road. Its all about taking as much pain as possible. But with off road triathlon you mix adrenaline with lactic acid. To do well you need to be technically skilled, brave and robust- and and of course super fit. There’s tyre, suspension and shoe choices to be made – according to the terrain and constantly changing weather
You could be speeding through wooded single track with rocks, roots and mud- typically East Coast USA or Europe. Or you could be racing on a volcano in Hawaii, or running on a sandy beach in Brazil, riding the Flume trail overlooking Lake Tahoe, or bombing down crowd lined stairs and narrow alleys of a medieval Italian mountain village.
The destinations are phenomenal. Each with its own challenges and culture- this is what keeps it fresh, fun and challenging- its the reason I’m still racing Pro at 40.
The people are also quite laid back, relaxed and no one takes themselves too seriously which makes for a nice atmosphere at the races. Its really a great life-style sport.
2. What’s your strongest discipline in cross triathlon – and will you be able to use it to your advantage in Zittau?
The Mountain Bike. The bike course is longer than usual. 36km vs usual 30km. So that is good for me. I also like technical terrain, I havent seen this course yet- I hope its got some rocks, roots and turns! There is almost 1000m of vertical gain- more climbing than what I'd prefer…
3. What have been the highlights of your sporting career?
- 4x XTERRA World Champion
- 3x ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion
- 2x Olympian
- 10x XTERRA USA Series Champion
- 53 XTERRA Career wins
- Winner Mrs Ts Chicago
- 5x All African Triathlon Champion (ITU)
- 5x South African Triathlon Champion (ITU)
4. How has this season been for you so far?
Its been a very tough season for me. My form has been good all year, but I've had lots of bad luck at races. Flat tyres, sick at races, small injuries etc. Won XTERRA New Zealand and finished 2nd at SA TT Champs.
5. What’s your aim at the World Championships?
To win my 4th straight World title.
6. Are you familiar with the Zittau region? If so, what do you associate with it?
I've only been to Germany twice- once in 1992- when I raced Duathlon World Championships as a Junior. Finished 11th. Distances: 10km run, 60km bike, 10km run- when Juniors were tough!
The other time I stayed with Lothar Leders at his house after we traveled to race ITU World Cups in Japan in the mid 90s.
So I'm VERY excited to visit to Germany again. I love good beer, (especially with an Umpah band) and I think my wife and I will really enjoy the German culture and the wonderful green scenery.
Anyone who has not yet decided for participation in the 2014 ITU Cross Triathlon Zittau World Championships: Until Friday, June 6, 11.59 p.m., the registration for a championship standing must be done according to the „ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships Qualification Criteria“ and „ITU Online Entry System“ on the respective national federation.
Die Zeit läuft! Wer sich bisher noch nicht für eine Teilnahme an den 2014 Zittau ITU Cross Triathlon Weltmeisterschaften entschieden hat: Noch bis Freitag, den 6. Juni 23.59 Uhr, besteht die Möglichkeit sich über den entsprechenden Nationalverband für die Teilnahme an der WM anzumelden!
400 triathletes from all over the world already nominated for the Cross Triathlon World Championships in Germany’s Zittau Mountains
Germany will shortly be hosting the world championships for cross triathletes from all over the world for the very first time. On 16 August, the 2014 Zittau ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships will get underway in the Zittau Mountains national park. Even though there’s still 90 days to go, over 400 athletes from around the world have been registered by their national associations. In addition to numerous German participants, cross triathletes from the USA, Australia, Canada, Russia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Japan and most European countries will be travelling to Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz) this summer for the international highlight of the season.
One of the big names in the triathlon scene will be entering the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Zittau in the region of Saxony. Hawaii winner Faris Al-Sultan will be flying the German flag alongside other German endurance athletes at their home World Championships in the Zittau mountains on 16 August 2014. “Having the World Championships in your home country is always fantastic, so I’m really looking forward to the race,” said Al-Sultan, who lives in Munich, explaining his reasons for entering. The presence of this professional athlete competing for the Pewag Racing Team will be a prominent draw for the World Championships. His attendance will doubtless encourage some of his fellow elite athletes and members of the DTU Age Group National Team to take part. “We’re expecting a large international starting line-up and are confident that we’ll be able to welcome a highly motivated DTU Age Group National Team in Upper Lusatia,” declared chief organizer Dr Klaus Schwager optimistically.
ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Zittau
The ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Zittau will be the official world championships to be hosted in Germany by the ITU International Triathlon Union since 2007. The organizing team and the German Triathlon Union are looking forward to an outstanding international triathlon event in Upper Lusatia. The World Championships hold out the promise of unforgettable times in Germany – especially for age-group athletes taking part in the World Championships within the DTU Age Group National Team.
For regular updates on the Cross Triathlon World Championships log on to www.itu-wm-2014.de (German/English) and www.facebook.com/itu.wm.2014. All information on registration and the DTU Age Group National Team is posted on the DTU website (www.dtu-info.de).
1. What does hosting the 2014 ITU Cross Triathlon WM in Zittau mean to you – and how will you be involved?
For me as chief organizer and inspirer of the event, the World Championships are of course the culmination of the incredible development of ‘our’ O-SEE Challenge. But they mustn’t be allowed to be the final stage! Instead, they should just be a milestone in the hopefully long history of the O-SEE.
The event wouldn’t have become what it is without my input. Then again, it’s only thanks to the uncompromising support provided by the extremely dedicated team around me that my ideas have been materialized so effectively. I take my hat off to all those who have worked tirelessly in recent years to accomplish great things for the O-SEE and to raise the region’s profile.
2. How are you connected to Zittau and the region?
In many different ways! It’s my home, obviously. I’m proud to come from Zittau and I closely identify with the colourful history of what’s now the tri-border region. I’m upset about the economic decline of this once thriving industrial area, for example, but that’s how history goes sometimes. Now a new chapter has begun and we’re playing an active part in it. I love living in this picturesque little town with its wonderful surroundings and appreciate the benefits that go with it – probably because I’m often away on business in big cities like Berlin and Hamburg. It goes without saying that I make full use of the many recreational amenities in the region from the Zittau Mountains to Saxon Switzerland, Jeschken to the Krkonoše Mountains. After all, I live in a place where other people go on holiday – what could be better than that?!
A fortnight after the start of registration for the 2014 Zittau ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, over 100 entries have already been received.
“We’re delighted at this positive response and athletes’ interest,” declared Dr Klaus Schwager, senior organizer of the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Zittau. Those requiring world championship ranking should apply to their national federations. German athletes for example should contact the DTU (German Triathlon Union). All in all, as many as 1,000 cross triathletes from Germany and abroad are expected to compete next summer at the Zittau Mountains National Park.
The website for the 4th ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships has gone online in time for the opening of the registration portals for both the 2014 Zittau ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships and the Zittau O-SEE Challenge being held on the same weekend. Athletes and spectators should visit this website to find out everything they need to know about this sporting highlight next summer. The website also features useful information about the region as well as distances, routes and the schedule of the world championships in Zittau.
For full details of the competitions taking place outside the world championships, go to www.o-see-challenge.de/en.