We know Xavier personally at Piana degli Albanesi during the XTERRA Italy Long Distance Sicily. It was all too obvious from the start that he would be the man to beat, the favorite for the overall victory bringing with him the victory of the first XTERRA Long Distance last year in France. In the post-race, during a brief chat with him, we understood why he prefers long distances and why he likes them, what he believes is important in this type of events and what he believes is the right length of a long distance XTERRA. In all this we invited him to take part in our XTERRA, at XTERRA Italy Lake Scanno, where the 21 will take place in July and, surprisingly, the Spaniard told us YES.
Why do you prefer to run a long distance at a normal distance? Yet in the 2016 you became European Cross Duathlon Champion in Romania and it was not exactly a "long".
"I love long distances because I think I'm a" diesel ". I go stronger after having already run for some time and as they say, I come out "at the distance".
Despite this you are an excellent duatleta, as well as European champion 2016 of duathlon cross.
"Yes, it's true. This is in contrast to the long distance. The duathlon is a much shorter and faster race. However, the good results derive from the fact that without the swimming portion I can express myself better. Why? Because I don't like swimming very much. On long distances this is recoverable, on the court a little less.
As an expert and long distance winner; what do you think will be the right format for this type of competition?
"I believe there is no perfect format. XTERRA has taken the right path in my opinion and I love this type of event. However, there may be a correct length of a long distance, around 4 and a half hours even 5 hours. This can be achieved either by extending the distance between the villages or by increasing the height difference. All right.
Will you be in France for XTERRA Altifort in September?
"Obvious. I will be in France to defend my title last year. The location has changed but I expect a duration around 5 hours. Okay so "
Let's move on to what is the real news. You will be in Scanno, for one of the most beautiful and tough XTERRA of the European Tour. How come this choice?
"You convinced me in Sicily but honestly it didn't take long. I love Italy and it's an excuse to travel and be in Scanno. So I talked to my trainer and agreed to try a "short" distance again. "
What do you know about Scanno? What will you do to better understand the peculiarities of the route and try to develop a strategy?
"Scanno is a small town and the inhabitants live to the full on the day of the race. The mtb is a challenging circuit, the mountains where you can ski in winter, the stairs of the village, and then go up challenging. The strategy is to try to stay in a good group in the water, maybe the leading one, give the 90% by bike and then the 100% in trail running. "
In Scanno they have won all the greatest representatives of the world cross-triathlon. It was the land of Conrad Stolz, Nicolas Lebrun, Roger Serrano, Xavier Dafflon, Mauricio Mendez and Ruben Ruzafa. How many chances do you think you have considered that even for this edition there will be world-class athletes including all the Italian national team?
"It's nice to be able to race with all the best. They themselves will give the 100% on the day of the race. Not always the strongest wins in a race. The winner is the one who has the best strategy and the best feelings on race day "
You told us that swimming is not really your favorite fraction. We wanted to tell you that even Xavier Dafflon, when he won the 2017 edition, suffered a delay of about 6 minutes in the first fraction. But then ... do you feel more comfortable like that?
"An XTERRA is not won in the water. It is an important fraction but where you make the difference is by bike. Dafflon is an example. Not a great swimmer but in mtb it goes like a motorcycle and then allows him to go fast even in the race. I will try to keep the leading group in the water and then try to go fast by bike, so I save a bullet (laughs). "
Let's move on to the personal. Between a long distance, a "normal" distance and a short one, what are the major differences in terms of tactics and force management according to your experience?
"Between the three distances, tactics and force management is mainly by bike, to save you depending on the distance and still have strength in the foot race."
In Sicily you told us you loved Italy a lot and you had the chance to visit some famous places like Taormina. Scanno is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy with so much history and charm of a mountain village. Will you book your trip to Abruzzo for a few days? Have you already planned the trip?
"In most competitions, I always spend a few days visiting the city and trying out gastronomy. I would like to stay longer in Italy, I would like to go on the mountain passes in the Alps and climb the mountains on foot. With my part-time job, I don't have many holidays to stay too many days, but I wrote it on my diary and once I will. "
The culinary tradition of Abruzzo and Scannese is also one of the great Italian excellences. How do you combine good food and sports performance?
"I always say that I die in training to have fun in the race and earn a good plate of pasta, pizza, cannoli, tiramisu ... mm I love these typical Italian foods.
All we have to do is give you an appointment in Scanno with a certainty: you will be amazed by the beauty of the place and the sporting test and who knows that it may not bring you luck for a great performance.
"Thank you for keeping this sport alive and for giving you the opportunity to explore these wonderful places where you can compete and disconnect from the daily routine."
See you soon Xavier, we are sure that Scanno will remain in your heart and perhaps, even a little, in your legs.