Serrières and Riou Conquer the Elements at XTERRA Nouvelle Aquitaine

May 6, 2024

BEAUMONT-DU-LAC, FRANCE /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – On May 4th, 2024, the fifth edition of XTERRA Nouvelle Aquitaine delivered an unforgettable race day, described by many as both wild and crazy. Arthur Serrières (FRA), current XTERRA World Cup Champion, triumphed for the fourth time at his local race, while Morgane Riou (FRA) made a victorious comeback in the women’s race after a two-year absence.

The course had been redesigned in a new location around Vassivière Lake, where competitors faced an incredible challenge amidst a punishing cold front. This unexpected weather led to the suspension of the swim portion due to the chilly, rain-soaked conditions, transforming the scenic trails into a muddy and grueling test of endurance.

Despite the tough conditions, the race was a critical battleground for those vying for the 28 qualifying spots for the 2024 XTERRA World Championship, along with a €7,500 elite prize purse. This year’s XTERRA Nouvelle Aquitaine will be remembered for the remarkable grit and determination displayed by the competitors.

Course Conditions

XTERRA Nouvelle Aquitaine organizers were compelled to adapt the event format, transforming the triathlon into a three-part duathlon. This adjustment included:

  • An initial trail run loop of 4.4K.
  • An MTB segment of two 16K loops, totaling 32K.
  • A final trail run of two 5K loops, totaling 10K.

The race commenced with athletes donned in warmer gear to combat the chill, as they tackled the first running segment. As competitors transitioned to the bike course, conditions held initially, but the persistent rain eventually turned the paths into a muddy morass.

Despite these tough conditions, the support from the event organizers was exemplary. Athletes expressed their gratitude for a well-coordinated effort under adverse circumstances, highlighting the positive atmosphere fostered by the organizers and XTERRA community.

Men’s Race Recap

The men’s race at XTERRA Nouvelle Aquitaine took an unexpected turn with the cancellation of the swim segment, which was keenly anticipated especially due to the swimming prowess of Jules Dumas (FRA) and Jens Roth (DEU). Instead, the competition started with a 4.4K run segment, where Marin Gautier (FRA) initially took the lead. Arthur Serrières, a two-time XTERRA World Champion and winner of the inaugural 2023 XTERRA World Cup, kept pace with Gautier and eventually passed him before transitioning to the bike segment.

Ruben ‘The Boss’ Ruzafa, a three-time XTERRA World Champion known for his exceptional mountain biking skills, managed to stay close to Serrières during the first loop of the bike course. However, as the race progressed, Serrières began to pull away, ultimately securing a commanding lead in the final trail run with Ruzafa holding onto second place after completing the final run segment on his own. Jules Dumas finished in third place; despite missing the opportunity to excel in the swim, his conditioning from last weekend’s World Cup Stop #3 in Greece helped him maintain a lead over the rest of the field. Jens Roth finished just 21 seconds behind Dumas, setting the stage for an intriguing future rivalry in upcoming XTERRA races.

Top 5 Men’s Results

1st – Arthur Serrières (FRA) – 2:36:19

2nd – Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) – 2:44:31

3rd – Jules Dumas (FRA) – 2:47:59

4th – Jens Roth (DEU) – 2:48:10

5th – Nicolas Duré (FRA) – 2:51:41

Complete results can be found here.

Top Three Men’s Quotes

Arthur Serrières (FRA):

  • “The race was a tough one. I never had a race in these conditions with both mud and cold at the same time. It’s something really special and memorable for everyone.”
  • “The race turning into a duathlon was the best and safest solution for everyone. I’m quite happy to race against Ruben because I know he is a strong opponent.”
  • “The first run was a bit too slow. After that, I just took the bike and got the lead. I rode through the bike segment alone. I knew that after the first loop on the bike the track would be muddy and destroyed.”
  • “On the second loop, I really opened the gap and I had a comfortable lead at transition 2. I pushed a bit on the first loop of the run to gain some rhythm and be more confident. It will be one of the most memorable races in my career.”

Ruben Ruzafa (ESP):

  • “My race was good and I’m happy with my result. I tried to not push a lot in the first run to save my energy for the bike and that’s where I took second place [after passing Jules Dumas].”
  • “In the final run with all the mud, I think my pace was good. Happy to be racing again with Arthur Serrières, Jules Dumas, and Jens Roth. I can’t wait to race another XTERRA again.”

Jules Dumas (FRA):

  • “It was a bit of a special race because there was no swimming, and that’s one of my advantages. I had to manage the first run to be able to take the bike without being too tired.”
  • “On the bike, I tried to hold on to Ruben but in the second lap, I lost a little time, then the cold made me lose a lot of energy.”
  • “On the second run, I was completely frozen and I tried to get to the finish as best I could. It was one of the most difficult races I have participated in because it is a beautiful race with beautiful courses, but the rain and the cold made it really difficult.”

Women’s Race Recap

The women’s race featured a lineup of three elite competitors: Morgane Riou and Camille Jobard from France, and Pauline Vie from Portugal. Morgane Riou, returning to XTERRA after a two-year hiatus due to injuries and military service, came into this race with an impressive history of seven XTERRA victories since 2018, including the 2019 XTERRA European Championship. Her comeback was marked by a strong performance that led her to victory.

Camille Jobard, who had a challenging 26th place finish at the XTERRA World Championship in Trentino, Italy last September, has eight top 10 finishes since 2018. In this race, she managed to secure a second-place finish after getting overtaken by Riou 3 kilometers into the initial run. During the bike segment, Jobard seemed to be gaining ground, however, she faced physical challenges as she continued to cramp up during the second loop of the bike segment, which allowed Riou to widen the gap.

Pauline Vie, coming off a recent third-place finish at XTERRA Portugal, unfortunately, did not finish the race. She withdrew during the bike segment, citing the overwhelming cold that affected her ability to continue. Riou’s strategy during the race appeared cautious; having faced injuries from biking accidents in the past, she opted to slow down and ensure a safe finish under the difficult conditions.

Women Results:

1st – Morgane Riou (FRA) – 3:28:05

2nd – Camille Jobard (FRA) – 3:35:29

Top Two Women’s Quotes

Morgane Riou:

  • “I’m very happy about my win. It was a very tough race, the first time I raced in such conditions—cold, rainy, and a muddy MTB track.”
  • I thought about stopping after one loop on the bike because I was very cold, but it’s been such a long wait for me to return to racing that I couldn’t give up. I had much more power on the last trail run, which allowed me to take advantage and win this crazy race.”
  • “I want to give a big thanks to the organization; they were perfect under these hard conditions. The place is very beautiful. The course is beautiful. I haven’t raced in 2 years so it was very special for me, and I’m very happy to see my XTERRA family once again.”

Camille Jobard:

  • “Morgane was really strong on the uphills but I managed to stay close, joining T1 less than 20 seconds behind her. My transition was awful though; after putting on my first shoe, I had a huge cramp and struggled to catch my second shoe!”
  • “The start of the run was quite good. I expected Morgane to overtake me quickly, but surprisingly she only passed me after 3km. I stayed close to her until a big downhill where I slid down and got 2 huge hamstring cramps. I really struggled after this fall.”
  • “I joined the finish line, happy to take second place for the first time in XTERRA. Can’t wait to come back on this course, without the rain hopefully!”

Sunday’s events at XTERRA Nouvelle Aquitaine saw improved weather conditions, with more sunny periods to round off the weekend. The day was packed with activities, including a range of trail runs from 7K to 42K, appealing to various age groups and skill levels capping off a challenging and memorable sporting weekend.


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-res images available for use here.