How has the XTERRA landscape evolved in recent years and what impact did it have on the Italian movement?
The cross triathlon sector and the entire XTERRA circuit are in strong growth, but evolution should not be stopped. Certainly, this sector must grow numerically and make the races even more popular, especially in Italy. Our athletes are getting good results, now some real specialists of this discipline are emerging and finally we have achieved two important successes in the XTERRA circuit in a few months with Rinaldi and Peroncini, without forgetting that Eleonora has also achieved a splendid success at the Cross Triathlon World Championships .
How important is it to invest in the cross triathlon sector also considering the results obtained?
XTERRA is a well-known and prestigious international circuit and its coming to Italy is good for the whole cross-country movement. As with other important international circuits, this internationalization can do nothing but help the movement to offer new stimuli.
What can the Federation bring to XTERRA?
FITRI is responsible for coordinating national circuits and international events that are held on national territory: in this aspect the Federation plays a pivotal role.
It is difficult to align the regulations between XTERRA and ETU, what XTERRA could still do and how can FITRI move?
FITRI is part of ITU, the International Triathlon Union, and in turn of ETU, the European Triathlon Union, and therefore respects the international regulations. I hope that in the future there may be an approval, but it is an agreement that must be made with international bodies.
The cross triathlon involves all the triathlon categories, but how important can it be for the youth ones?
In the growth of an athlete, cross can be useful from a technical point of view, but, when certain levels are reached, specific choices must be made to emerge. For those who will continue to compete in the cross, but also for those who will veer towards triathlon in its classical declination, this activity carried out at a young age will prove to be very useful: we note this aspect even in cycling where many road champions have a past in cyclocross or on the track.
XTERRA is trying to strengthen the cross triathlon in Southern Italy and this year has already organized a long distance event in Sicily. These two aspects as seen by FITRI?
Southern Italy can undoubtedly benefit from these initiatives. Most of the national activities are carried out in central and northern Italy, an area in which the activity is numerically wider and, where, as regards organizational aspects, administrations are more available. However, FITRI has brought several competitions to the South, often with good results even if with great difficulties, and if XTERRA managed to create an important event, it would be a great thing, both for our sports movement and for all aspects related to tourism national and international in a region as beautiful as Sicily. The idea is good and I hope it can be achieved by taking all the positive aspects of this project.
It is conceivable that the cross triathlon will become an Olympic discipline, and in this case, at what point are the works and what can real hopes be?
The movement of the cross triathlon has still to grow a lot in order to aspire to become an Olympic discipline, but if the dream came true we would be certain that the race would give a great show.
We thank the president of FITRI Luigi Bianchi - Interview by Alberto Fumi, FITRI press officer