2024 XTERRA France Preview: Xonrupt Eruption

July 3, 2024

XONRUPT, VOSGES, FRANCE /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – XTERRA France gears up for its 17th annual off-road triathlon, set in the scenic Vosges mountains and Lake Longemer. The Full Distance race on Sunday, July 7th, is the 13th stop of the 2024 XTERRA EMEA Tour and a crucial qualifier, offering 58 World Championship slots for age groupers setting their sights on the XTERRA World Championship in Trentino, Italy, on September 28, 2024.

The weekend’s festivities and competition welcomes over 2,000 attendees including elite competitors vying for the €18,000 Prize Purse amidst a heavy contingent of spectators from the swim start, through to the unique bike park, culminating at a raucous finish line that rivals any off-road event around the world.

XTERRA France continues to be a pivotal and celebrated gathering drawing a global community eager to tackle the challenging terrain and immerse themselves in a vibrant festival atmosphere.

Course Description

Swim (1.5K): The adventure begins with a single-loop 1.5K swim in the serene yet chilly waters of Lac de Longemer. This year, athletes are advised to don wetsuits due to cooler temperatures hovering around 18°C, adding an extra layer of challenge to the typically calm swim conditions. The expansive beachfront start allows competitors ample space to navigate this crystal-clear mountain lake.

Bike (40K): Athletes will tackle a 40K MTB course comprising two laps with an elevation gain of 600 meters each time around. The course kicks off with a flat stretch, offering a brief respite before the infamous ‘left turn’ which ushers riders into a substantial climb. This ascent isn’t just about the gradient; its real test lies in the strategic exertion it demands. The track then snakes through dense forests draped in a blanket of green moss—a quintessential French woodland experience. As riders crest the hill, they encounter a mix of single tracks and broader forest paths, leading to a descent that tests finesse and daring in equal measure.

Run (10K): The final leg is a 10K trail run, again split into two laps, featuring 320 meters elevation gain per lap. This segment challenges competitors with steep, technical terrain that may have runners nearly crawling up ascents and carefully navigating the slippery descents. The Vosges forest provides a stunning, albeit grueling, backdrop for this ultimate test of endurance and skill.

Enduro Triathlon (Special Event): On the eve of the main race, athletes will face off in an intense, spectator-friendly competition involving three rapid-fire mini-triathlons—each comprising a 600m swim, 6K bike, and 3K run. The unique format not only provides entertainment but also determines the starting order for the following day’s Full Distance race.

Elite Course Insights:

  •  Aneta Grabmüller (CZE): “It’s brutal, especially the bike but the ambiance is electrifying!”
  •  Sandra Mairhofer (ITA): “The course is great, I love the forest and the lake is calm which makes for a great swim.”
  •  Emma Ducreux (FRA): “The bike route reminds me of the World Championship in Molveno. It’s a steep climb and a technical descent. On the running part, you will have to manage your effort with a lot of elevation gain. It’s a demanding and long race.”
  •  Sébastien Carabin (BEL): “XTERRA France is a demanding course in the three disciplines: long swim, long bike, long run.”
  •  Guillaume Meunier (FRA): “XTERRA France is ‘the place’ to do an XTERRA, in the forest of fir trees, often muddy, MTB and trail run loops are reserved for the strongest competitors.”

Elite Start List

(World Ranking – Name, NAT)


3 – Sandra Mairhofer, ITA

8 – Aneta Grabmüller, CZE

17 – Carina Wasle, AUT

22 – Emma Ducreux, FRA

34 – Romane Cizeron, FRA

41 – Anna Wer, POL

42 – Camille Jobard, FRA

46 – Katja Krenn, AUT

81 – Maya De Backer, BEL

NR – Bianca Morvillo, ITA

NR – Ladina Scherzinger-Buss, CHE

NR – Lucie van der Schalk, AUS


4 – Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DNK

8 – Sebastien Carabin, BEL

9 – Maxim Chané, FRA

22 – Xavier Dafflon, CHE

23 – Petr Soukup, CZE

25 – Scott Anderson, DEU

26 – Jens Roth, DEU

38 – Lucas Van Deynze, BEL

40 – Nicolas Duré, FRA

41 – Elliot Labourdette, FRA

43 – Damien Guillemet, FRA

51 – Guillaume Meunier, FRA

59 – Marin Gautier, FRA

62 – Baptiste Fordoxcel, FRA

70 – Pierre Simeon, FRA

82 – Vivien Monnet, FRA

87 – Pâris Fellmann, LUX

98 – Aurélien Pinel, FRA

102 – Hugo Bourjon, FRA

111 – Romain Loop, BEL

140 – Karl Mell, EST

NR – Charlie Smoak, USA

Women’s Race Preview

Mairhofer vs. Morvillo

A true battle of Italian talent may take center stage with a head-to-head battle between two exceptional athletes. Sandra Mairhofer (ITA) is returning as the reigning XTERRA France champion, having dominated last year’s race with a commanding lead that saw her finish nearly 9 minutes ahead of her closest competitor, Alizée Paties (FRA). Sandra, who is also the back-to-back Full Distance race winner from the last two stops of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup at Oak Mountain and Belgium, shares her feeling towards this race, “I have really good memories from France last year. Really loved the course, the roots, and the climbing.”

She will be put to the the test by Bianca Morvillo who may still be unranked in 2024 after her first XTERRA race since 2018 taking place on June 22nd of last month at XTERRA Switzerland. She dominated the competition by winning around 20 minutes ahead of her 3 closest competitors.

Her motivation for XTERRA France is driven by a desire for new experiences. “The motivation that drives me to do XTERRA France is to see new routes and new places that I don’t know and to put myself out there again in a high-level event,” Morvillo shared. Despite her unfamiliarity with the specifics of the race, her enthusiasm is palpable: “I know little about the race, but I’ve heard that it’s very beautiful, that it’s well organized, and that the MTB route is challenging, which is also why I decided to take part!”

Grabmüller vs. Ducreux

Aneta Grabmüller (CZE) and Emma Ducreux (FRA) are recognized as two of the fastest swimmers in the women’s field at XTERRA events, making them standout competitors from the start. Grabmüller is facing a crucial decision following a challenging and unfortunate outcome at XTERRA Belgium, where she did not finish. “I’ve been struggling with my health since Belgium, so I am leaving it to a last-minute decision,” she revealed, indicating the uncertainty of her participation. Despite recent setbacks, her past performances remain impressive, including a 2nd place at XTERRA Greece and another 2nd in the Oak Mountain Short Track, which places her 5th overall in the XTERRA World Cup standings. “Back in 2021, I had a mechanical and finished 4th here, so I promised I’ll be back to improve that result,” Grabmüller added, reflecting her determination to overcome previous challenges at XTERRA France.

Emma Ducreux (FRA), on the other hand, comes into this race with a win in 2024 at XTERRA Portugal. Her consistent top-ten finishes at Oak Mountain and Greece position her as a strong contender, especially on home soil. “I am delighted to return to XTERRA France,” Ducreux expressed, signaling her enthusiasm. Having recently focused on sprint triathlon, she notes, “I will have to pace my effort as smoothly as possible,” a strategy that served her well last year when she placed 5th at this event. As Grabmüller and Ducreux prepare for the race, all eyes will be on them right from the swim start, expecting strong performances that could define the podium outcomes.

The Podium Battle Rages On

Camille Jobard (FRA) has demonstrated impressive form this season, securing 5th overall at XTERRA Switzerland and 2nd at XTERRA Nouvelle Aquitaine. “XTERRA France is densely packed with participants, making it a fantastic weekend of sports filled with numerous races and a lively atmosphere,” Jobard explains. She adds, “I enjoy racing at XTERRA France because it’s a stunning event with a very challenging mountain bike loop. If we’re in good shape on the bike, we can really make a difference. However, it can also feel incredibly long if it’s not your day. I hope it won’t be cold this Sunday for the race, as poor weather really toughens the conditions.”

Romane Cizeron (FRA) is also hitting her stride at this point in the season, coming off a strong 3rd place finish. She and Jobard battled until the final lap on the trail run segment at XTERRA Switzerland two weekends ago and are anticipated to resume their rivalry on Sunday. Meanwhile, Anna Wer (POL) is aiming to secure another podium following her 3rd place finish at XTERRA Lake Garda in May. With one of the longest courses of the year ahead, any woman on the start list has a shot at capturing the crown.

Men’s Race Preview

Sloth Nielsen vs. The Pack

Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen’s (DNK) 2024 season has been marked by exceptional performances, solidifying his place as a top competitor for this race. He clinched victory at XTERRA Belgium and secured a strong 3rd place finish at XTERRA Oak Mountain, alongside a 4th place finish at XTERRA Greece in Vouliagmeni. These results have propelled him to 2nd overall in the 2024 XTERRA World Cup standings.

Sloth Nielsen looks forward to XTERRA France, viewing it as a pivotal race to reignite his competitive spirit. He expresses a deep connection with the event, stating, “XTERRA France is definitely a rust buster for me and it’s time to get in the racing mood again. It’s one of the coolest XTERRA events on European ground.” He finds the demanding bike course to be a perfect match for his strengths, and his recent move to the Vosges Mountains has only deepened his affection for the race, making him feel as though it’s being held in his backyard. Jens also shares a candid insight into his motivation: “I love racing more than I love training, so that’s why I want to do XTERRA France and hopefully, it can give me the edge for XTERRA Québec the weekend after.”

Maxim Chané (FRA) has shown consistent excellence securing multiple 5th place finishes at XTERRA Belgium, Oak Mountain (both Full Distance and Short Track), and XTERRA Greece. He is currently ranked 4th in the 2024 XTERRA World Cup standings. This is his home race and after finishing 2nd overall last year, look for Chané to aim for the top of the podium in 2024.

Sébastien Carabin (BEL) has also maintained a strong presence with a 4th place finish at XTERRA Belgium, a 5th at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, and 10th at XTERRA Greece. Carabin shares his enthusiasm for the XTERRA France event: “XTERRA France is one of my favorite races of the season because the atmosphere is amazing and the MTB track is quite demanding and long compared to other races. I always come with family at this race who support me.”

Xavier Dafflon (CHE) clinched 2nd place at XTERRA Switzerland and finished 9th at XTERRA Belgium. Additionally, he took 5th place at XTERRA Lake Garda. Dafflon speaks highly of XTERRA France, noting, “Even though it is not a World Cup, XTERRA France is one, if not the biggest, XTERRA event worldwide. He describes the course as demanding in all three disciplines: “XTERRA France has a long swim, long bike, long run. As the mountain bike session is the main dish, I am looking forward to it. If it starts to rain, the mud will be the host of the party.”

With 22 Elite Men currently on the start list—and the possibility of additional last-minute entries—anticipate potential surprises and upsets. The results from Saturday’s Enduro Triathlon will directly influence the start times for Sunday’s Full Distance race, adding an extra layer of strategy and competition.

Race Village Festivities

At the heart of the race village, the custom-built bike park is a central feature that draws crowds and serves as the hub of action. Each year, the course is uniquely designed using approximately 1,200 pallets of wood to create a complex network of ramps, bridges, and berms. This setup also ensures that spectators everywhere enjoy a front-row view of the competition.

This year, the event has expanded to include a triathlon for children as young as three years old, using balance bikes, taking place on Saturday, July 6th. With each edition, the organizers refine and enhance the event’s atmosphere, from the bike park to the diverse racing formats. The energy at the famously loud finish line is palpable for competitors and supporters alike. The festivities include a pasta party on Saturday evening and awards ceremonies, celebrating the achievements of all participants in one of the XTERRA’s most iconic events.


XTERRA is a global lifestyle brand that champions the outdoor enthusiast in their pursuit of relentless adventure. From pioneering the sport of cross-triathlon in 1996, XTERRA has grown to become a leading brand in off-road adventure through the XTERRA World Tour, XTERRA Trail Run World Series and the XTERRA World Cup, connecting an eco-aware community of worldwide explorers that seek to protect the places where they play. For more information, visit xterraplanet.com.

High-resolution images available for use here (Photo credit: XTERRA).