Taiwan
March 23
US$25,000
100 Points
Full-Distance Triathlon
🔴 Watch Replay
Returning to where it all began, Taiwan will once again get the World Cup started with a raw, rough and rugged course that simply refuses to be taken lightly. A never-ending series of punchy climbs, technical rock sections and hair-raising descents, the 40.5K journey from Little Bay Beach to Stony Brook Farm has become infamous in its relentlessness, and will test every skill an athlete has on the way to the finish.
1.5K
Swim
29K
MTB
12K
Trail Run
Partly Sunny
27°C
Water 24°C
+1060m climb
Summary
Full Distance Results

Felix Forissier and Solenne Billouin Start Strong in Taiwan

France once again leads the XTERRA World Cup with Felix Forissier and Solenne Billouin taking maximum points in the opening race of the 7-stop series. Billouin as the current World Champion and Forissier as the European Champion both executed an almost perfect race from start to finish, working their way to the front on the bike and slowly tightening the screws from there.

Denmark’s Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen went hunting as he always does and put together an impressively fast race to claim 2nd with last year’s winner in Taiwan, Arthur Forissier, finishing close behind in 3rd to put two Frenchmen on the podium.

Reigning World Cup Champion Alizée Paties walks away with silver to make it two French athletes on the women’s podium with her Italian teammate Marta Mendito dropping the hammer on the run to finish in 3rd.

Read the full race report here, or watch the live replay on Youtube.

Men's Full Distance Results (Top 10)
#
Athlete
Time
Swim
Bike
Run
Prize Money
Points
Total
Rank
1
Felix Forissier
Times:
2:38:31
Swim:
19:45
Bike:
1:26:05
Run:
49:38
$3,000
Points:
100
Total:
100
Rank:
1
2
Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen
Times:
2:39:52
Swim:
21:51
Bike:
1:24:43
Run:
49:22
$2,300
Points:
90
Total:
90
Rank:
2
3
Arthur Forissier
Times:
2:41:44
Swim:
19:47
Bike:
1:27:12
Run:
51:03
$1,700
Points:
82
Total:
82
Rank:
3
4
Maxim Chane
Times:
2:45:12
Swim:
19:46
Bike:
1:28:20
Run:
53:24
$1,400
Points:
75
Total:
75
Rank:
4
5
Sebastien Carabin
Times:
2:46:55
Swim:
24:48
Bike:
1:26:02
Run:
52:05
$1,100
Points:
69
Total:
69
Rank:
5
6
Sebastian Neef
Times:
2:47:58
Swim:
20:44
Bike:
1:28:43
Run:
54:25
$900
Points:
63
Total:
63
Rank:
6
7
Kieran Mcpherson
Times:
2:50:18
Swim:
20:48
Bike:
1:32:15
Run:
53:49
$750
Points:
58
Total:
58
Rank:
7
8
Scott Anderson
Times:
2:54:05
Swim:
19:48
Bike:
1:34:01
Run:
56:21
$600
Points:
53
Total:
53
Rank:
8
9
Federico Spinazze
Times:
2:54:49
Swim:
19:42
Bike:
1:33:37
Run:
57:48
$450
Points:
49
Total:
49
Rank:
9
10
Ben Allen
Times:
2:56:05
Swim:
19:12
Bike:
1:33:52
Run:
59:33
$300
Points:
45
Total:
45
Rank:
10
Women's Full DIstance Results (Top 10)
#
Athlete
Time
Swim
Bike
Run
Prize Money
Points
Total
Rank
1
Solenne Billouin
Times:
3:10:02
Swim:
23:19
Bike:
1:43:12
Run:
59:43
$3,000
Points:
100
Total:
100
Rank:
1
2
Alizee Paties
Times:
3:13:13
Swim:
23:19
Bike:
1:46:21
Run:
59:52
$2,300
Points:
90
Total:
90
Rank:
2
3
Marta Menditto
Times:
3:16:51
Swim:
23:23
Bike:
1:49:05
Run:
1:00:25
$1,700
Points:
82
Total:
82
Rank:
3
4
Aneta Grabmuller
Times:
3:23:09
Swim:
21:51
Bike:
1:51:01
Run:
1:06:43
$1,400
Points:
75
Total:
75
Rank:
4
5
Anna Zehnder
Times:
3:27:46
Swim:
22:32
Bike:
1:55:49
Run:
1:05:37
$1,100
Points:
69
Total:
69
Rank:
5
6
Jacqui Allen
Times:
3:30:52
Swim:
23:17
Bike:
1:55:00
Run:
1:08:05
$900
Points:
63
Total:
63
Rank:
6
7
Carina Wasle
Times:
3:38:40
Swim:
24:56
Bike:
2:03:05
Run:
1:05:38
$750
Points:
58
Total:
58
Rank:
7
8
Hannah Lee Young
Times:
3:45:59
Swim:
25:57
Bike:
2:09:18
Run:
1:05:59
$600
Points:
53
Total:
53
Rank:
8
9
Lorena Erl
Times:
3:58:23
Swim:
25:35
Bike:
2:12:53
Run:
1:14:42
$450
Points:
49
Total:
49
Rank:
9
10
Cheri Cho
Times:
4:40:12
Swim:
22:35
Bike:
2:41:01
Run:
1:31:31
$300
Points:
45
Total:
45
Rank:
10

Talking Points

A brutal start is what was expected and a brutal start is what it was, with strewn bodies on the finish line perfectly illustrating just how much this course will take - and just how much these athletes are willing to give.

The heat and humidity were once again unforgiving, the steepness of the climbs unjustly represented by what we see on camera, and the constantly changing technical terrain a never-ending mental drain for the entirety of the race. To see the speed that these athletes were pushing in these conditions is phenomenal, and testament to the level required to remain competitive in the series.

That said, Felix Forissier and Solenne Billouin seemingly did not put a single foot wrong for 42.6K, both posting an arguably perfect race.

Felix Forissier wanted his revenge on this course and he got 100% of that revenge, and possibly a bit more. Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen called him a ‘dangerous man’ and it’s unlikely there is a single athlete in the men’s field that would disagree. The Frenchman is amongst the fastest in all three disciplines and seems to only gain more speed and momentum as the race goes on. Third out of the water, third fastest on the bike, and second fastest on foot, he could not have asked for a stronger start to this World Cup series. The younger of the Forissier duo is a triple threat and it’s going to take a lot to beat this man. One thing’s for sure though, it will be exciting to see what happens when the Champ Arthur Serrières enters the fray.

"I think it’s a good revenge for last year. I’m in shape and my preparation for this race was great, but I can come back stronger."
Felix Forissier

It’s a very similar story for female winner Solenne Billouin. She came painstakingly close to winning here last year, only to give up the very small lead she had in the final kilometres. This year she not only got it done with a perfect performance, she has also issued a strong statement to the rest of the field. Claiming the fastest bike and the fastest run, the World Champion is clearly still carrying the momentum that started to build in the second half of last season and it may take something special to put a stop to that.

"Most of the training is done, so it’s about being smart from here on out."
Solenne Billouin

The question that many will be wondering is whether Solenne Billouin and second-place finisher Alizée Paties will have reverse seasons between this year and last. The unwaveringly-consistent Paties started strong with a win here in 2023 but wasn’t able to complete the perfect season with a World Championship win after finishing behind Billouin. This year she has stated that she is building her season to peak at the World Champs in September, and will therefore likely be happy with her result today. Billouin, on the other hand, did reference at the press briefing just how hard it is to remain consistent for 7 months, and will be in no dissolution about the challenge ahead.

There is not a fan of off-road tri on the planet that can argue against Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen being one of the most fun athletes to watch. The look on the Danish athlete’s face is all you need to see to know just how hard this man is willing to push and just how much he loves to compete. As the best biker in the series it’s no surprise that he took the fastest bike of the day, but it is interesting that he took the fastest run too. There is nothing he likes more than to go fast and by the looks of things he’s getting faster. When the blue wave of French dominance eventually breaks, it’ll almost certainly be at the hands of a Dane.

"It was a day on the hunt and I executed it as I should. It was so much fun and I loved it.”
Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen

With Arthur Forissier and Marta Menditto completing the podium, it wasn’t so much the people on the podium that came as a surprise as it was the order in which they finished. But if there was one standout performance that deserves special mention, it’s that of Aneta Grabmüller. After giving birth to a baby girl in 2023, the Czech athlete first dipped her toe back into XTERRA racing in her home country last year before arriving in Taiwan to put on perhaps one of the best performances of her career. After claiming the fastest women’s swim split, she went on to hold the lead on the bike for the better part of an hour. She may have overcooked it or possibly succumbed to the heat, but she could have also just announced herself as the one to shake things up at the top of the female field. Certainly a name to watch in races to come. 

It was also great to see France’s Maxim Chané come in at 4th and he’ll surely be pleased with finishing the race without issue this time round. Kieran McPherson may have dropped slightly from his 4th place here last year, but the Kiwi racer extends his reign as the APAC Champion for another year. Hannah Lee Young will no doubt be smiling as she has the honour of taking the APAC Champs title but keeping it in Australia as Maeve Kennedy ends her reign at the top.

It’s been a long day for those between the tape in Taiwan, and there is still a long way to go in the series. Felix Forissier and Solenne Billouin finish with their names at the top of the pile as the series now heads to the fast and flowing trails of Vouliagmeni, Greece.

Race Week Updates
Friday, March 22

The press conference has just wrapped up and the top contenders have had their final word. Tomorrow the World Cup begins and any further talk will be left for between the tape. 

On the course:

It seems unanimous across the board that this is a brutal course, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for some. Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen loves the challenge the bike section brings, going as far as to call it his favourite course in XTERRA and likened it to “eating dessert first” as the first of the 7 stops. Kieren McPherson also sees the technicality as a slight advantage in his favour. Describing himself as more of “a thinker”, the reigning APAC Champ believes there is a lot of risk and reward to be found on the course, but getting the balance right is key. 

On strategy:

Most athletes gave very measured answers, hinting that the series is long and many of the post off-season questions still need to be answered before expectations can be set. World Champion Solenne Billouin did, however, say that she still retains her ‘“race to win” mentality while World Cup Champion Alizee Paties spoke on making changes that will allow her to be strong at the end of the season to compete for the World Championship title that eluded her last season. 

For the men, Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen will be out hunting on the bike and hoping to put the nail in the coffin before the run, whereas Kieren Mcpherson believes his strength lies in the feet, particularly the last half hour of the race. 

On the competition:

It would be hard to confidently predict a winner in either of the races. Solenne Billouin and Alizee Paties played cat and mouse the entire season last year and neither of them have ‘started their engines’ this season, whereas Italy’s Marta Menditto has. These three will undoubtedly lead the race, but who gets it done is anybody’s guess. 

For the men it’s just as tough. Asked point blank who his biggest competition was, Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen was unable to pick between the three most dangerous rivals on the stage. Pointing to the Forissier duo first he referenced the threat both Frenchmen bring, but acknowledged that McPhereson does have what it takes to follow him on the bike and could certainly pose a problem if it comes down to the run.

Felix Forissier was quick to say that he wants he his revenge on this course, while his brother Athur, who took the title here last year, was happy concede that he doesn’t mind which Forissier takes the win tomorrow, as long as the XTERRA Taiwan title stays in the family. 

Diplomatic answers for now, but tomorrow all questions will be answered when the action begins. The livestream begins at 05:50am local time (GMT+8). Tune in to see who walks away with their name at the top after the first stop of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup.

Thursday, March 21

Felix Forissier and Maxim Chané were spotted out on the bike today. The French pair have both made adjustments to their bike setup after suffering a flat tyre on the same rock last year. After dropping from the front of the race to riding on a flat to salvage a 10th position, Maxim says he is happy to sacrifice a few seconds on the descents given the consequences of having the wrong setup on this course.

France's Maxim Chané with Australian elite Tom Fisher.

World Cup Champ Alizée Paties echoed the toughness of the bike loop in her interview ahead of the race.

“It is one of the hardest tracks I’ve done in XTERRA."
Alizée Paties

News has just come in and sadly the man who would have undoubtedly been out the water first to lead on the bike will not be on the startline this Saturday. Italy’s Michele Bonacina came off the bike yesterday and has suffered a wrist injury. It’s not yet clear how long he will be out for, but we wish him the best and hope to see him back between the tape soon.

Wednesday, March 20

Athletes are arriving to very dry and dusty conditions in Kenting, with the weather being almost as unpredictable as the trails. While dark clouds have continued to threaten over the last few days, almost no rain has fallen yet strong winds continue to make things tough for those on the trails - especially high up at the top of the mountain.

Many of the top contenders have now been here a few days getting acclimated, including World Cup Champion Alizée Paties, World Champion Solenne Billouin, European Champion Felix Forissier and his brother, Arthur, who claimed the top spot in Taiwan last time round.

Arthur Forissier is already playing the smart game. Spotted testing his new testing his new Cervelo ZFS-5 and stashing water bottles in the jungle to make sure he stays hydrated during recce rides and last minute training.

The new descent on the bike course is looking spicy and could flip the race on its head. It’s slower and requires more precision than previous years, so time gained and lost here could be huge. If Strava is anything to be believed, Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen is significantly faster than everyone. Could it be enough for the lead off the bike that he needs?

“Last year I was on my hardtail but I regretted that after my first recon of the course. Now I can't wait to get back on my full-suspention to really push it on the bike and go faaaaaast."
Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen

Unfortunately news has just come in and Eric Lagerstrom will not be starting. The wildcard entry who would no doubt have made things interesting upfront has suffered from a returning injury and chosen not to take chances with the high demands of the race in Taiwan. But with two Forissiers, Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen and a very in-form and motivated Maxim Chané on the line, expect the opening race to still go full tilt right from the horn.

Event Preview

The Rude Awakening

This is a course that takes no prisoners. Between the consecutive climbs, the unforgiving heat, and the sheer weight of the humidity, this is the rude awakening a full-gas series like the XTERRA World Cup deserves. The course is almost entirely natural from start to finish, and a place on the podium will take absolutely every ounce of strength, skill, and concentration an athlete has, with no room for error or doubt. 

For almost anyone other than Arthur Forissier and Alizée Paties, this will be a race of redemption. Although not on the start list, World Champion Arthur Serrières still has a score to settle with this course after starting his 2023 with one of his worst results of the season. Top contenders Felix Forrisier and Maxim Chané will want to erase the memories of going from a potential podium to salvaging a top-10 position after both puncturing a tyre on the same rock. World Champ Solenne Billouin will no doubt be itching for another crack at the battle with Paties that raged on for almost 40K before Paties settled it on the final climb. The list goes on.

This is a course that will make or break, and nothing in between. A rude awakening, and also the ultimate curtain raiser of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup.

Full Distance Start List
Men's start list
Points
Felix Forissier
0
-
Arthur Forissier
0
-
Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen
0
-
Sebastien Carabin
0
-
Maxim Chane
0
-
Kieran Mcpherson
0
-
Sebastian Neef
0
-
Scott Anderson
0
-
Federico Spinazze
0
-
Tom Fisher
0
-
Dominik Wychera
0
-
Matteo Sfregola
0
-
Sam Teller
0
-
Paris Fellmann
0
-
Karl Mell
0
-
Ben Allen
0
-
Nathan Cohen
0
-
Takehiro Irokawa
0
-
Benjamin Forbes
0
-
Yuan Keng Hsu
0
-
Yen Ching Chiang
0
-
Women's start list
Points
Solenne Billouin
0
-
Alizee Paties
0
-
Marta Menditto
0
-
Carina Wasle
0
-
Anna Zehnder
0
-
Aneta Grabmuller
0
-
Lorena Erl
0
-
Jacqui Allen
0
-
Hannah Lee Young
0
-
Cheri Cho
0
-
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.

JOIN THE XTERRA COMMUNITY

For news, event updates, stories and more.

Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later..
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