A Forissier to Be Reckoned With

Crashing out of the World Cup last season, Arthur Forissier has turned his injury into an advantage. Not only is he ready to defend his title in Taiwan, he’s got bigger ambitions and only one of them is the World Cup title.

Written by
Sarah Bonner
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Arthur Forissier’s 2023 season came to an abrupt and painful end at the World Cup in the Czech Republic. A fast downhill during the first 10K of the bike put him in the hospital and left him needing surgery to repair a broken clavicle. While the rest of the pro field continued to race the second half of the season, Forissier shifted his focus to 2024. Only three weeks after the crash, he was training again. 

“The off season has been going pretty well. I was lucky in a way to have more time than usual because of my accident. I was able to come back to training at the beginning of September.”

While most pros will be wondering about their fitness, Forissier took advantage of the extra time and is ready to bring the heat and defend his title in Taiwan.

Arthur Forissier / 2023 XTERRA World Cup / Taiwan


Building the Fire 

“Even though I had a good race last year, I think I have many things to improve in the race. I really want to put together a better race this year.”

As the returning champion of the opening race, it doesn’t seem like there is much to improve but Forissier doesn’t see it that way. He explains how he aims to “manage” the race better with both technical improvements and preparing specifically for the heat and humidity.

He has incorporated training indoors as well as hot baths and saunas into his regime. On the technical side, he has moved on to the Cervelo ZFS-5. Complete with Reserve wheels, Forissier laughs and says his new 29er feels “kind of like a tractor.”

Arthur Forissier / 2023 XTERRA World Cup / Czech

“It's hard to say, even in French, but what I love about this bike is that I feel really safe and really able to pass everywhere. It seems so easy to pass on the rocky sections so it helps me a lot. It’s really a good feeling to ride it.”

The new bike sponsorship is thanks to his team, Hexatri. The three year old team is a small roster but a strong one with Forissier as the leading and only full-time professional. Along with the bike change, the team also invested in a technical mountain bike coach. Forissier and the rest of the team spent time with a highly specialized coach during an off-season training camp to hone their descending, jumping, and handling skills



Confidence and Competition 

Despite so much time, energy, and effort going into Taiwan and the World Cup series, Forissier says he doesn’t feel any pressure to perform. His unwavering confidence is something you might expect from a well-seasoned, countless XTERRA winning former World Triathlon Cross Champion. 

“I don’t feel any pressure because of the young guys. I’m okay with that and I know that’s the game. If someone is really good this season, it’s cool for them, but, for me, I do what I can do to be the best. I trust my coach, I trust myself, I trust the team and my equipment. I don’t want to spend energy looking at the others.”

"I trust my coach, I trust myself, I trust the team and my equipment."

However, there is one athlete he does admit to have his eye on: his younger brother, Felix Forissier. Marked as his biggest competition, Forissier says his younger brother is the one to watch this season. 

“He’s really talented. He moved from Saint Etienne to another city with his girlfriend, he changed his coach and the way he trains—there are a lot of changes and he seems to be good with this. He is strong in every discipline. There are other very strong guys but most of the time they’re not strong in all three and they have a weakness. In my mind, Felix is strong in all three sports.”

Arthur Forissier / 2023 XTERRA World Cup / Taiwan


World Cup Commitment 

Taiwan will present the first battle for the all-important World Cup series points and with the rule changes this year, the points are more valuable than ever. Last year, an athlete’s top 4 Full Distance and top 3 Short Track races counted toward their points ranking. In the new simplified system, all races count. Full Distance races offer a maximum of 100 points while Short Track races (now worth significantly more) offer a maximum of 75 points. With seven stops, four of which offer Short Track events, athletes need to race more and perform consistently. 

“I'm doing all seven stops of the World Cup,” Forissier says.

“From the moment you know the rules, you have to follow the rules. And it’s the same for everybody. Maybe it was easier last year because if you had some problem you had a ‘joker’ to play. This year there is no joker so we have to be very consistent all season long. For me it’s a good thing. I think I can be strong all season.”

This year there is no joker so we have to be very consistent all season long. For me it’s a good thing. I think I can be strong all season.”

Of all the changes to the World Cup system this year, Forissier is most excited about the increased weight of the Short Track. Like so many other athletes and fans, Forissier has embraced the new rapid and dynamic format and is committed to racing each one on offer. 

“Short Track is really the race I love the most,” he smiles. The 29 year old details the speed and agility of the shorter format and his enthusiasm reveals why he is still motivated and progressing at this stage of his career. The World Cup has bolstered his love of competition and this year only promises more. 

Arthur Forissier / 2023 XTERRA World Cup / Belgium

“What impressed me the most about the World Cup last year was the density of the races. It was the first time in XTERRA history that so many strong guys meet together in the same races. So it was really cool for this; I really enjoyed it.”

Although he gives most of the credit to his coach of 10 years, his enjoyment has given him an ever-present source of motivation to progress and XTERRA can expect to see an even better Forissier than before. 

“My level is a bit higher than the previous year,” he grins. 



The Biggest Title of All 

The 2024 World Cup is clearly his goal but Forissier also has another title in mind: father. 

After breaking his collarbone, Forissier examined his priorities. 

“Because of my crash, I thought a lot about the feelings of my girlfriend. She was there and really worried about me. I was not really feeling good about that. I really want to spend more time with her and be here for her more. It helped me think XTERRA is just sport—it’s a bonus.”

“I was really focused before and now I realize that I have to do different things at the same time. If I want to be a father one day, I have to buy a house and do things like that and for the moment I'm not really ready. So, I will find out about it from now on.”

Forissier clarifies that family life is a plan for the future, or well, “the middle future,” he corrects himself with a smile. His plans haven't deterred his competitive drive, however, nor does it mean retirement is on the horizon.

Arthur Forissier / 2023 XTERRA World Cup / Taiwan

“I think I could be able to race, to be both a competitor and a father. If the priority is to be an athlete, it's really hard to be a father at the same time. If your priority is to be only a father, it's hard to be a competitor at the same time. If you want to be both, I think you have to anticipate and manage differently, but it's possible to do.”

He shares that idea with his partner and XTERRA is very much a part of their family plan, now and in the future. 

“We both think that sport is very important, especially for children. She's a sports teacher, so she agrees, and for her it's also cool to travel when you're young, to see sports and to see what is the daily routine of a competitor. We think that it’s a good example for children.”



Wise to the Prize  

Committed, confident, and a little bit wiser, Forissier is a force to be reckoned with and is coming to Taiwan ready to set the tone. His crash might have put him out of the running in 2023, but it just might be his advantage to secure the title of 2024 XTERRA World Cup Champion. 

The Frenchman can expect to be properly tested when the action begins in Taiwan. He’ll be up against a host of top contenders, including his formidable brother Felix, podium-regular Jens Emil Sloth, and the lightning fast Maxim Chané.

The opening race of the season is always an interesting one as no athlete can be sure of the other’s level. But come March 23, all cards will be on the table.

Click here to get notified when the livestream starts and see who takes gold at the opening race of the XTERRA World Cup.











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Author Bio

Sarah Bonner

Sarah Kim Bonner (MA, PGDip, BA Hons) is a Canadian freelance writer, graphic designer, and professional triathlete. She has worked as a creative for over 10 years, specializing in written storytelling within endurance sports. Emotionally allergic to an office 9-5, she has lived and raced all over the world from the Arctic to Africa and now calls the Canary Islands home. Find her at www.sarahkimbonner.com or @sarahkimbonner.

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