XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine in Moliets-et-Villemartin, France is back for a second edition on August 28-29, after hosting its first full distance race in 2020.
This year, the event will also see elite athletes lining up for some action-packed racing in the XTERRA Short Track Pujols event on Sunday, promising an unmissable weekend of racing in the beautiful region.
Kicking-off with the full distance race on Saturday, age-group and elite athletes will first dive into the beautiful Lac de la Cadie to complete the 1,500m swim course, before heading out to complete the 30km bike course and 10km run course, winding through the vineyards that the region is famous for.
In the elite race, a prize purse of 7,500€ euros is up for grabs, plus a spot in Sunday’s adrenaline filled Short Track race. Those that finish in the top 20 will automatically qualify, with some wild card spots also up for grabs. Talented age-group athletes could also be in the mix for the positions and the chance to race on Sunday, while also looking to earn a coveted XTERRA World Championship slot. Eyes will also be on the Junior and under-23 athletes, with the top 3 in the Sprint race able to step up to the Short Track course and race amongst some of the sports best off-road racers.
XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine promises to bring even more drama to the fast, multi-lap Short Track event. In a unique format, the event will be cut into two stages. In the morning, athletes will race the first stage over a 400m swim (2 laps) and a fast and furious 1.5km run (2 laps) before preparing for more fast racing in the afternoon with a pursuit-style competition. The best-ranked athletes will start first, as a game of cat-and-mouse unwinds over the 8km mountain bike course (4 laps) and 1.5km run (2 laps). It will be all-out racing from the off, with a 5,000€ prize purse also adding to the incentive.
Men’s Elite Race
In the men’s elite race, a star-studded line-up includes two-time XTERRA European Champion and firm favorite, Arthur Serrieres (FRA). After successfully defending his title and showcasing his talents last weekend at the XTERRA European Championships in Germany, the French athlete will be looking to add another race win to his collection, after a stellar season so far.
“I am looking forward to the race as I enjoy it a lot. I am happy to be racing again in both the Short Track and in the full distance. The Short Track format looks really good on paper, but it could be a really tough race so let’s see how it goes” he said.
Speaking about the start list, he added: “Ruben Ruzafa and Arthur Forissier will be the ones to watch out for!”
Competitor and friend, Arthur Forissier (FRA) will be looking for a strong result, and after winning four Short Track races in his career, he will be looking to excel in Pujols. Seven-time World Champion, Ruben Ruzafa (ESP), will also be lining up alongside XTERRA Portugal winner, Felix Forissier (FRA), and young talent, François Vie (PRT).
Looking ahead to the race, Ruben Ruzafa said, “I have taken a few days off after the European Championship to recover but I realize my body is still a bit tired. I will definitely be looking to fight to be at the head of the race and earn a podium spot!”
Speaking about the two-stage Short Track race, Ruzafa said, “It looks like a really interesting format. The second race starts like a mountain bike race and as that is my specialty, I can’t wait to be on the start line. The race in the morning is unknown for us too so it will be exciting to see what happens.”
While Maxim Chané (FRA) will not be returning to defend his title, other top-ranked athletes include Sébastien Carabin (BEL) and François Carloni (FRA) among others.
Elite Men’s Start List at time of writing:
WR – Name, NAT
3 - Arthur Serrieres, FRA
4 – Ruben Ruzafa, ESP
13 - Arthur Forissier, FRA
19 - Sébastien Carabin, BEL
24 - François Vie, PRT
25 – Felix Forissier, FRA
32 – Geert Lauryssen, BEL
43 - Mathias Cloostermans, BEL
54 – Théo Dupras, FRA
114 – Will Crudgington, GBR
119 – Brian Tétard, FRA
130 - Julien Buffe, FRA
279 – Romaric Ladet, FRA
Women’s Elite Race
The women’s field also features a stellar line-up, including Morgane Riou (FRA) who finished in a very respectable fourth place at the XTERRA European Championship last weekend in Germany.
“I broke my radius bone three months ago and had to have an operation. I only managed to have one month of good training before the first competition of the season in XTERRA Germany last weekend, so my fourth place was promising! Now I am really happy to be racing in France and hope I can have a good result here,” said Riou.
“This is my first time at XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine. I checked out the bike course yesterday and it will definitely be a hard race with lots of sharp uphills, technical tracks, dry grass and lots of strong ladies on the start list. The Short Track will also be interesting, and it will be shared on France TV so that will be amazing for the sport.”
Alizée Paties (FRA) will also be returning to defend her title after winning XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine in 2020. She said, “This weekend will be like my first day at school after a few difficult months, so I just want to appreciate the race and have fun! I also love the Short Track format so we will see if I am in shape after the full distance race.”
Speaking about the course, Paties added, “The mountain bike course is very nice through the forest and the running is also beautiful along the vineyards. I can’t wait to be back here and to see all the athletes and organizers and enjoy the incredible atmosphere.”
It will also be exciting to welcome back Michelle Flipo (MEX), who is currently based in Spain for training. Despite not having raced XTERRA for a few years, her past results including a 2nd place finish at XTERRA Worlds in 2018, wins at XTERRA Switzerland in 2016 & 2017, and XTERRA Denmark in 2018.
“The last time I raced XTERRA was in 2018 so I am looking forward to having fun this weekend and giving my best. I also want to earn a spot for the XTERRA World Championships so I will give everything on Saturday!” commented Flipo.
She added, “I know the girls out there are very strong and I know I have been away for a while, so I don’t know how I am on the mountain bike compared to them. It will also be racing my first Short Track race on Sunday. It is a race where you can’t make any mistakes and need 100% focus and explosiveness. Let’s see what happens!”
Loanne Duvoisin and Solenne Billouin have also won big races and shown ability to race brilliantly this season and will be in contention for the overall on both days for sure.
Elite Women’s Start List at time of writing:
WR – Name, NAT
5 - Morgane Riou, FRA
7 - Loanne Duvoisin, CHE
12 - Solenne Billouin, FRA
17 - Marta Menditto, ITA
18 – Alizée Paties, FRA
42 - Emeline Azam, FRA
47 - Pauline Vie, PRT
51 – Maria Calleja, ESP
163 - Louise Fox, GBR
NR – Michelle Flipo, MEX
Stage 1 of the Women’s Short Track race will start at 9:00 CEST, followed by the men at 9.30 CEST. After a break, Stage 2 of the Women’s Short Track race will start at 14:00 CEST, followed by the men at 15:00 CEST.
Broadcasting will start at 13:00 and will begin by showing a replay of the morning races, followed by live coverage of the Stage 2 races. English commentary can be found here and French commentary here.