Inaugural XTERRA World Cup debuts Saturday in Taiwan

April 14, 2023

With 30 elites from 15 countries including the top five ranked men and women on the start line, this year’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship could be the most epic season-opener in sport history as all the sports biggest stars, the best of the best, have committed to the series in an effort to take their sport to the next level.

/ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – The inaugural XTERRA World Cup kicks off Saturday, April 15, in Kenting, Taiwan with the most impressive elite field ever assembled for an off-road triathlon in the Asia-Pacific region.

With 30 elites from 15 countries including the top five ranked men and women on the start line, this year’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship could be the most epic season-opener in sport history as all the sports biggest stars, the best of the best, have committed to the series in an effort to take their sport to the next level.

“That’s how it should be,” said Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen from Denmark. “The best off-road triathletes in the world signed on for this, to travel to Taiwan and belt it out, and we won’t see any surprise athletes coming from road triathlon anymore. We pushed the level the last few years and this is the best our sport has, and we’re ready to battle it out.”

The first of seven stops on the new XTERRA World Cup is full of new emotions, vibes, experiences, and opportunity.

The defending XTERRA World Champions, Arthur Serrieres and Solenne Billouin from France, feel like there’s room for more wins and another title. Their challengers, however, have made it clear that the past is history, and this year’s story will be different.

“If I wasn’t racing I think my older brother, Arthur (Forissier), should be considered the favorite,” said Felix Forissier, one of the “fab four” elite men from France. “I’ve seen him all winter and he’s really strong. He was strong at XTERRA Worlds last year when he finished second behind Serrieres, and he will be even stronger here.”

A lot of people think Felix should be the favorite. The brothers arrived in Taiwan two weeks early to acclimate to the heat and humidity, familiarize themselves with the course, and adjust to the time zone.

“I tried to do everything I could to maximize my chances to have a good race on Saturday, and I feel good, I’m confident, I know the track, and I’m ready,” said Arthur Forissier, who added that his brother, Felix, will be hard to beat.

Maxim Chane (FRA), who is the only contender with XTERRA race experience in Taiwan, said he spent the off-season focused on Saturday’s race.

“Arthur Serrieres is the one to beat and the World Champ, and as far as pure performance, like we saw last year, he’s the one everyone should be scared of,” said Chane. “I think I’m part of the game too, and Ruben and the other French guys are strong and fit so it will be in play for all those guys but I’ve improved a lot since last year, and feel good on the run and more confident.”

The seven-time World Champion from Spain, Ruben Ruzafa, is also confident and especially excited about the World Cup.

“This is the most excited I’ve ever been for an April race,” said Ruzafa. “I’ve never trained so much this early in the season and I’m motivated to win the World Cup. It’s something new, and I never won the World Cup in mountain biking, so I really want to win the first one with XTERRA.”

It surely feels like any of the top contenders could come out on top this Saturday, because nobody can really be sure how hard the others trained in the off-season, or how the travel or heat or the rugged course that is quick to flatten a mountain bike tire might affect performances.

Found out in real time by tuning into the live stream starting at 5:50am local time at xterraplanet.com/world-cup/taiwan.

2023 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship

Elite Men’s Start List

XTERRA World Ranking – Name, NAT

1 – Arthur Serrieres, FRA

2 – Ruben Ruzafa, ESP

3 – Arthur Forissier, FRA

4 – Felix Forissier, FRA

5 – Sebastien Carabin, BEL

6 – Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DEN

7 – Maxim Chane, FRA

8 – Lukas Kocar, CZE

15 – Xavier Dafflon, SUI

19 – Kieran McPherson, NZL

24 – Michele Bonacina, ITA

38 – Dominik Wychera, AUT

62 – Andres Carnevali del Castillo, ESP

85 – Paris Fellman, LUX

119 – Taylor Charlton, AUS

NR – Yen Ching Chiang, TWN

NR – Kohei Yamamoto, JPN

In the women’s elite race, Solenne Billouin is determined not to let the world title soften her motivation to get even better.

“Being the world champion is a title you have forever and it’s very significant, it’s the most important title you can have in XTERRA,” she said. “The World Cup is longer with more important races and you need to be consistent so I thought it was important to enjoy the winter to keep my energy and motivation for the season high, so I enjoyed time with my family, friends, traveling, and racing cyclocross. Now I feel good, I arrived 10 days ago, and I love the course because it’s super challenging. It’s the kind of race you have to stay focused and do your thing.”

While Billouin has the title, Sandra Mairhofer (ITA) has the No. 1 ranking, and said she’s excited to go out and prove she deserves it.

“I’m feeling healthy and confident and ready to give it my best,” said Mairhofer (ITA), who just won the Winter Triathlon World Championship.

One of her off-season training partners, Loanne Duvoisin from Switzerland, said this was her best off-season training ever after finishing up her college degree.

“I did four weeks of training camp with the national team and another one with Sandra that I’ve never been able to do before because I had school,” said Duvoisin. “Now I have more time for training and for recovering, and more quality sessions, and I hope I will be able to show the improvements on Saturday.”

Alizee Paties from France spent her off-season focused on making big improvements.

“This winter I worked on my weaknesses, so I’m excited to see if I’m better than before,” she said. “I was focused on the swim and the run, that’s what I wanted to do, and it was my best winter of training since I’ve been racing XTERRA. It’s hard to know how I will do against the others, but I’m feeling good and will fight for sure.”

Her teammate Marta Menditto from Italy put much of her focus on finishing her college studies, and while she may not have had the best training experience, she enters with a healthy state of mind which could make all the difference.

“My mind is free right now that I’m done with my geology degree, and it’s cool to be here now as a professional athlete and able to focus on just racing,” she said.

Elite Women XWR – Name, NAT

1 – Sandra Mairhofer, ITA

2 – Solenne Billouin, FRA

3 – Loanne Duvoisin, SUI

4 – Alizee Paties, FRA

5 – Marta Menditto, ITA

13 – Carina Wasle, AUT

15 – Suzie Snyder, USA

19 – Maeve Kennedy, AUS

21 – Lizzie Orchard, NZL

28 – Georgia Grobler, RSA

46 – Kate Bramley, AUS

NR – Jessie Koltz, USA

NR – Johandri Leicester, RSA

NR – Chi Wen Chang, TWN

Find full coverage of the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship at xterraplanet.com/world-cup/taiwan.

2023 XTERRA World Cup Schedule

Date – Race (Location) Purse – Points

Apr 15 – XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship (Kenting, Taiwan) US$25,000 – 110

May 20 – XTERRA Oak Mountain (Shelby County, AL, USA) US$15,000 – 100

May 21 – XTERRA Oak Mountain Short Track (Shelby County, AL, USA) US$5,000 – 20

June 10 – XTERRA European Championship (Namur, Belgium) €25,000 – 110

Jun 11 – XTERRA Belgium Short Track (Namur, Belgium) €5,000 – 20

Aug 12 – XTERRA Czech (Prachatice, Czech Republic) €15,000 – 100

Aug 13 – XTERRA Czech Short Track (Prachatice, Czech Republic) €5,000 – 20

Aug 18 – XTERRA Germany Short Track (Zittau, Germany) €5,000 – 20

Aug 19 – XTERRA Germany (Zittau, Germany) €15,000 – 100

Aug 26 – XTERRA USA Championship (Avon, CO, USA) US$25,000 – 110

Sep 21 – XTERRA Trentino Short Track (Trentino, Italy) €5,000 – 20

Sep 23 – XTERRA World Championship (Trentino, Italy) €100,000 – 120

Read all about the XTERRA World Cup at https://www.xterraplanet.com/world-cup.


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