Belgium
June 8
€15,000
100 Points
Full-Distance Triathlon
The 4th stop brings a fresh new set of terrains, with river currents and cobblestone streets thrown into the mix as the series touches down in Nemur, Belgium. The presence of the Citadel at the start of this course has always been an ominous one, and escaping the watchful eye of the fortress will be a battle in itself.
1.5K
Swim
35K
MTB
10K
Trail Run
Partly Sunny
14°C
Water 15°C
+1100m climb
Summary
Full Distance Results

Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen and Sandra Mairhofer Win in Namur

After a wild week of unexpected formats, changing conditions, and endless speculation on who would get it done, it’s Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen and Sandra Mairhofer who have stamped their names on stop #4 of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup. Sloth Nielsen finished in 2:21:02 to claim his 1st win of the series, while Mairhofer crossed in 2:43:57 for her second gold.

Felix Forissier finished in 2nd in a time of 2:22:21 to hold onto the top position in the series, with Arthur Forissier claiming 3rd to see him drop down to third place in the standings, with Sloth Nielsen moving up into second after his win. Solenne Billouin came in 2nd in the women’s race, posting a time of 2:48:57 to maintain 1st place, while Marta Menditto took the bronze to find herself in third place on the series leaderboard.


Men's Full Distance Results (Top 7)
#
Athlete
Time
Run 1
Bike
Run 2
Prize Money
Points
Total
Rank
1
Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen
Times:
2:21:02
Swim:
16:25
Bike:
1:23:22
Run:
39:54
€2,300
Points:
100
Total:
403
Rank:
2
2
Felix Forissier
Times:
2:22:21
Swim:
16:25
Bike:
1:23:33
Run:
41:15
€1,700
Points:
90
Total:
447
Rank:
1
3
Arthur Forissier
Times:
2:23:23
Swim:
16:29
Bike:
1:23:33
Run:
42:12
€1,200
Points:
82
Total:
388
Rank:
3
4
Sebastien Carabin
Times:
2:23:35
Swim:
16:34
Bike:
1:25:13
Run:
40:14
€800
Points:
75
Total:
189
Rank:
9
5
Maxim Chane
Times:
2:26:11
Swim:
17:22
Bike:
1:25:38
Run:
41:45
€650
Points:
69
Total:
333
Rank:
4
6
Arthur Serrieres
Times:
2:26:47
Swim:
16:27
Bike:
1:26:42
Run:
42:15
€450
Points:
63
Total:
310
Rank:
5
7
Sebastian Neef
Times:
2:27:35
Swim:
16:27
Bike:
1:28:05
Run:
41:51
€400
Points:
58
Total:
157
Rank:
10
Women's Full DIstance Results (Top 7)
#
Athlete
Time
Run 1
Bike
Run 2
Prize Money
Points
Total
Rank
1
Sandra Mairhofer
Times:
2:43:57
Swim:
19:00
Bike:
1:36:37
Run:
47:03
€2,300
Points:
100
Total:
338
Rank:
4
2
Solenne Billouin
Times:
2:48:57
Swim:
19:22
Bike:
1:39:41
Run:
48:26
€1,700
Points:
90
Total:
455
Rank:
1
3
Marta Menditto
Times:
2:50:10
Swim:
19:21
Bike:
1:42:22
Run:
47:07
€1,200
Points:
82
Total:
355
Rank:
3
4
Alizee Paties
Times:
2:51:29
Swim:
19:23
Bike:
1:41:20
Run:
49:27
€800
Points:
75
Total:
383
Rank:
2
5
Noemi Bogiatto
Times:
2:52:37
Swim:
19:07
Bike:
1:41:29
Run:
50:09
€650
Points:
69
Total:
69
Rank:
15
6
Anna Zehnder
Times:
2:53:20
Swim:
19:12
Bike:
1:45:56
Run:
46:42
€450
Points:
63
Total:
294
Rank:
6
7
Morgane Riou
Times:
2:58:04
Swim:
20:43
Bike:
1:45:03
Run:
50:30
€400
Points:
58
Total:
58
Rank:
19

For the full race recap including the story of the race, top splits, and athletes insights, click here.

Talking Points

If you were at the finish line to witness Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen cross in first place, you’ll know exactly what this win means for him. Of the 16 World Cup races he’s competed in, the Dane has stood on the podium no less than 12 times. He has been knocking on the door of a World Cup win for a long, long time, and this win will no doubt light a fire under his belly for the races to come.

"It was in the stars today for me to get this chance to get my first World Cup win."
Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen

Sloth Nielsen is in no disillusion as to how much his swim holds him back. For fans of the sport, it’s become part of the show to watch him work his way to the front on the bike, as he does almost every single time. But perhaps today will serve as a revelation of just how competitive he could become if he improves his times in the water. Today he looked dominant. He controlled the race from start to end, claiming the fastest split in all 3 segments. If he could exit the water alongside the French in future races, the world could one day see a Danish XTERRA World Champion. 

Sloth Nielsen now moves into second place in the rankings with only a slight amount of breathing room ahead of Arthur Forissier. But he’ll surely now have his sights locked on the Forissier who sits in first. 

Sandra Mairhofer’s back-to-back wins are a testament to how good she can be when she is in form. After the first 2 stops of the series there were questions of whether anybody would be able to stop Solenne Billouin, and then Mairhofer hit her stride and the game was on. There are a few caveats, with Billouin riding on a flat in Oak Mountain and not being in full health in Belgium, but that doesn’t take away from the world-class performance Mairhofer turned in at both races.

"I saw that the other women behind me didn't have so much power on the uphill. So I tried to push harder on the final uphill to get further away from them."
Sandra Mairhofer

The big question that remains is who, between Mairhofer and Billouin, can maintain this level for the next 3.5 months? Mairhofer may be running out of races to bridge the gap between her and the series leader, but both of them will already be thinking ahead to September and the XTERRA World Champs. Billouin stands the chance of making it a hat trick while Mairhofer has one final chance to take the title on home soil. If Mairhofer can close the gap enough over the next 5 races, we could be in for one of the biggest battles the sport has seen in quite some time when the series culminates at the biggest race of them all.

Felix Forissier did not look his unbeatable self today, perhaps for the first time in any of the Full Distance races in the series this year. He looked on the limit for a lot of the bike section, and once Sloth Nielsen dropped the hammer on the run the Frenchman simply had no response.

“I was with Jens Emil on the first loop of the bike, but on the second loop, he pushed too hard for me to keep up, and I saw him getting further and further away."
Felix Forissier

But still the Frenchman claimed 2nd place to make it five races in a row without falling out of the top two. His strength and consistency has now got to the point where it almost comes as a surprise when he does not win. Another 90 points to his tally puts him firmly in the lead, with a strong chance of ending this season as a double-champ.

For Solenne Billouin, it was another race where the World Champ needed to dig deep. In Oak Mountain she bet on herself to keep pushing on a flat tire to salvage some crucial World Cup points and ended up finishing in second. In Belgium, she bet big on herself again; coming in to salvage as many points as possible with a lingering illness and two weeks without training.

"I didn't expect to really enjoy my race today because I've been sick for the last three weeks. I knew that it wouldn't be a really great race for me, but I did what I could and I still managed to finish second."
Solenne Billouin

However, the World Champ still holds the best record in the series, men included. Like Forissier, Billouin has not fallen outside of the top two in any race so far, with her Short Track win in Oak Mountain putting her ahead of the men’s leader to hold the honour of being the highest scoring athlete in the series. If she can stay on the podium for the remaining races, she may have already done enough to lock down the series and set herself up with the chance of becoming a double-champ with a hat trick of World Championship titles to her name.

Arthur Forissier had a good race for bad legs. He spoke of cramps on the run but still turned in competitive 3rd place to keep his place in the top three on the leaderboard. 

"Their pace was too quick, but I really wanted to stay with [ Jens Emil and Felix]. It was really exhausting, but I was glad to get back with them into the second transition."
Arthur Forissier

He spoke of consistency early on in the season, and so far he has followed the plan with a podium finish in every race except the Oak Mountain Short Track. With Felix often in the spotlight, it seems Arthur has now become the dark horse Felix once was. If he is this fast when his body is not firing fully, there may be a lot to come later in the season when his form hits peak shape. Odds are that there will be 2 Forissiers on the podium at XTERRA Worlds this year, but come the end of the season it may be a coin toss as to which one takes the top step.

For Marta Menditto, this was just the result she needed. Stepping onto the podium for a second time in the series this year will give her a timely mid-season boost. Strong in all three disciplines, she now moves into the top three and will surely be motivated to keep her place there. But with Solenne Billouin so far ahead, and Sandra now charging up the rankings, it may become a 3 way battle between team mates, Menditto and Paties, and the Italian Sandra Mairhofer for who stays in the top three and who relinquishes a podium finish in the series.

Three stops remain, each featuring a Short Track race and the chance to make big moves on the leaderboard with a good result in both races. The series continues at stop #5 in Quebec, with the Short Track race getting the show started on July 12 before the Full Distance gets underway on July 14.

Race Week Updates
Friday, June 7

Mixed feelings and uncertainty at the press conference yesterday were perhaps the clearest illustration so far at just how unpredictable this race has become with the unexpected change in format. Some are firmly in the camp that the strongest triathlete will still take top honours, while others believe we could see a very different podium lineup in both the men’s and women’s races tomorrow.

Always ready to deliver a show, Jens Emil Sloth Nielesen has already laid down the gauntlet, stating, “seems like it’s me versus the French, and I will give them the fight they want.” But the Dane will have competition outside of just the French - and if the fans have anything to say about it, it’ll be coming from local racer, Sébastien Carabin.

The women’s race is equally as wide open, with just as many variables to take into account.

Current leader Solenne Billouin was out running yesterday, but is apparently still suffering some mild sickness post Oak Mountain. She’ll still be on the start line ready to contend, but it remains to be seen if her run of form will be affected.

Italy’s Sanda Mairhofer and defending Champ Alizée Paties would be the biggest contenders to deny the series leader a win, but with the change in format we could see the likes Marta Menditto and Anna Zehnder challenging for the upper steps of the podium. Menditto’s power-to-weight ratio on the bike will play to her advantage on this course, as will her lightning-fast run.

Zehnder’s run is also an absolute weapon. She claimed the fastest run split in the female field in Oak Mountain and with no swim and two opportunities to play to her biggest strength, the Swiss could make a strong play for her first World Cup podium.

The bike and run courses are drying up nicely now, with the main racing lines getting quicker and quicker. Anyone looking to overtake will be venturing into unknown levels of grip, but with so many variables already at play, it seems like those ready to take a risk will be putting themselves in with the best chance of a good result.

Tomorrow we see how it all plays out. The race begins at 14:30 local time, with live tracking available here. Be sure to also follow on IG with updates from between the tape as the race unfolds.

Thursday, June 6

It’s official, water levels in the Meuse are still dangerously high and the World Cup will see its first-ever duathlon here in Namur. The swim will be replaced by a 5K trail run, while the rest of the course remains unchanged. It’s always a difficult call for any organiser, but athlete safety must always come first.

This does however, change the dynamics of the race, with some athletes having their strongest discipline removed while others will have the opportunity to put their strengths to full use.

"I won’t have a two min gap to play with that’s for sure. It’s going to be a very different race. I might experience what it’s like to be a chaser for once."
Aneta Grabmüller

But no swim certainly does not mean an easy race. This is still one of the most physical courses on the series and the wet conditions will be adding to that. Finding the right balance of speed and grip though tyre and equipment choice could go a long way for those looking to come out on top this Saturday.

"I’ve been having the fastest splits in all the races if the swim is not counted in."
Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen
Race Preview

Escape from the Citadel

When completed in its entirety, the Full Distance course of Stop #4 is nothing short of a proper grind from start to finish. Right from the start, athletes take on the unforgiving current of the Meuse River as they power against the flow for the first half of the swim. Survive that, and the pain swiftly transitions from the arms to the legs as the bike section opens with the largest climb of the 35K loop, taking the race away from the cobblestone roads of the Citadel and into the flowing forest trails that surround the city. The final 10K run provides no reprieve whatsoever, with hardly any flat sections across the entire 10K loop.

But with rain continuing to pour and water levels still well above regulation levels, the very real possibility of a duathlon is now looming. Officials are set to announce their verdict on Wednesday (June 5), where the decision to cancel the swim will bring an unexpected twist at a near make-or-break point in the series.

Full Distance Start List
Men's start list
Points
Felix Forissier
357
-
Arthur Forissier
306
-
Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen
303
-
Maxim Chane
264
-
Arthur Serrieres
247
-
Federico Spinazze
189
-
Theo Dupras
158
-
Sebastien Carabin
114
-
Michele Bonacina
109
-
Scott Anderson
102
-
Sebastian Neef
99
-
Sam Teller
85
-
Morgan Rhodes
78
-
Dominik Wychera
62
-
Jules Dumas
58
-
Hugo Bourjon
53
-
Jens Roth
0
-
Xavier Dafflon
37
-
Marin Gautier
37
-
Francois Carloni
34
-
Paris Fellmann
34
-
Vivien Monnet
23
-
Lucas Van Deynze
0
-
Lucas Goene
21
-
Robin Schussler
19
-
Tim Van Daele
13
-
Frederic Delarce
0
-
Hugo Bosscher
0
-
Guillaume Meunier
0
-
Damien Guillemet
0
-
Pierre Simeon
0
-
Koen De Leeuw
0
-
Quirijn Waaijenberg
0
-
Julien Buffe
0
-
Joeri Deleebeeck
0
-
Romain Loop
0
-
Quinten Dewaele
0
-
Guillaume Desette
0
-
Ben Vyvey
0
-
Bart Cooymans
0
-
Romaric Ladet
0
-
Oscar Gladney Rundkvist
0
-
Women's start list
Points
Solenne Billouin
365
-
Alizee Paties
308
-
Aneta Grabmuller
295
-
Marta Menditto
273
-
Sandra Mairhofer
238
-
Anna Zehnder
231
-
Lorena Erl
130
-
Carina Wasle
111
-
Romane Cizeron
91
-
Katja Krenn
46
-
Romy Spoelder
41
-
Brittany Schroeder
36
-
Bonnie Van Wilgenburg
0
-
Morgane Riou
0
-
Willemijn Fuite
0
-
Camille Jobard
0
-
Dieske Kruisselbrink
0
-
Annika Hartmann
0
-
Maya De Backer
0
-
Johandri Leicester
0
-
Isla Hedley
0
-
Noemi Bogiatto
0
-
Lucie Van Der Schalk
0
-

If this becomes a duathlon, we could see the status quo shaken up at the halfway mark of the series. Athletes such as Jens Emil Sloth Nieslen and Sebastien Carabin, who have always relied on their superior bike and run skills to find the front of the race, could now lead from the get go. The same goes for the likes of Marta Menditto, an exceptionally strong biker and runner who could push for the upper steps of the podium without having to make up time from the swim. 

But no matter the format, expect every ounce of power this top tier of athletes has to be poured into this race as the series now starts to approach the business end. Only 3 stops remain after Belgium, and no athlete will want to leave additional work for themselves come stop #7 at the XTERRA World Champs in Italy.

Series Stops
SERIES Reads
Race Recap
Jun 11, 2024
Sloth Nielsen and Mairhofer Masterful at Stop #4 of 2024 XTERRA World Cup
The fourth stop of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup took place on June 8, 2024 with Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen (DNK) and Sandra Mairhofer (ITA) clinching victories.
Recap
May 21, 2024
Mairhofer and Forissier Top Oak Mountain at 2024 XTERRA World Cup Stop #3
The 2024 XTERRA World Cup progressed to its third stop, doubling as the inaugural XTERRA North American Championship and featuring the season's first Short Track race over the weekend of May 18-19, 2024, on the award-winning trails of Oak Mountain State Park.
Race Preview
May 16, 2024
Showdown in Alabama as XTERRA World Cup Heads to Stop #3: Oak Mountain
The 2024 XTERRA World Cup progresses to its third stop, doubling as the inaugural XTERRA North American Championship and featuring the season's first Short Track race. This major event is set to unfold over the weekend of May 18-19, 2024, on the award-winning trails of Oak Mountain State Park.
Race Preview
Apr 24, 2024
2024 XTERRA World Cup Heats Up with Stop #2 in Greece
VOULIAGMENI, GREECE - The 2024 XTERRA World Cup series makes its second stop on April 27, 2024, as the host nation readies itself for the 11th consecutive year in off-road triathlon competition under the XTERRA banner.

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Elizabeth Orchard
GBR
Sixteen time World Champion and seven time spelling bee winner, Jack Johnson is the most respected XTERRA athlete of all time.
Position
#3
Points
84
Age
37
Height
178cm
Weight
63kg
Strength
MTB