Sloth Nielsen Sizzles and Mairhofer Repeats at 2024 XTERRA France

July 8, 2024

XONRUPT, VOSGES, FRANCE /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen (DNK) and Sandra Mairhofer (ITA) continued their impressive 2024 XTERRA seasons, emerging victorious at XTERRA France.

The 17th annual off-road Full Distance race under the Vosges mountains took place on Sunday, July 7th. 58 World Championship slots for age groupers were also up for grabs for the XTERRA World Championship in Trentino, Italy, taking place on September 28, 2024.

The weekend’s festivities and competition attracted over 2,000 attendees, including elite competitors battling the chilly waters of Lake Longemer and the notorious trails of Xonrupt for the €18,000 Prize Purse. It was a flurry of activity from the swim start, through a revered, technical and flowy bike course, concluding with an uproar at the renowned finish line that stands out as a major highlight in the world of off-road competitions.

Year after year, XTERRA France remains an event with lively festival vibes not only challenging physical limits, but also fostering a sense of unity and collective enthusiasm for outdoor adventure.

Course Conditions

The Enduro Triathlon planned for Saturday was canceled due to adverse weather. Sunday’s sunshine helped to raise water temperatures while trail conditions remained muddy and technically rewarding for those who savor the chance to compete in the wild.

Swim (1.5K): The event started with a single-loop, 1.5K swim in Lac de Longemer, with temperatures around 18-19°C. Athletes, clad in wetsuits, navigated the chilly but clear waters from a spacious beachfront.

Bike (40K): The mountain biking stage featured a 40K course with two laps, each including a 600-meter elevation gain. After an initial flat section, the course climbed steeply, winding through moss-draped forests and challenging descents.

Run (10K): The final 10K run involved two laps through the Vosges forest, with significantly technical terrain, pushing the athletes’ limits through 320m of elevation gain right off the back of the 40K bike ride.

Men’s Race Recap

The Full Distance off-road triathlon was a wild start as elite men and women lined up together on the expansive beach. The beginning was intense, setting up for a challenging day ahead. The bike segment, however, was where athletes truly defined their positions, with the pack spreading out among both the men and women competitors.

In the men’s race, Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen (DNK) leveraged his superior biking skills to overtake Maxim Chané of France and secure his lead, a strategy that served him well through to the run course. He owned the fastest bike and run splits of 2:05:59 and 45:02 respectively with a total time of 3:15:36. Sloth Nielsen reflected on the race, noting, “The bike was an epic course, the sun was out, but the ground was almost as wet as the lake so it was pure carnage.” He added, “It’s the kind of conditions that I like a lot. It was great. I felt good on the run so I just pushed it a bit but I played it a bit safe because I’m flying to Canada tomorrow for XTERRA Quebec.”

His recent victory at XTERRA Belgium, 3rd place at XTERRA Oak Mountain, and 4th at XTERRA Greece, has Sloth Nielsen on top of his game heading into Stop #5 of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup next weekend in Canada.

Maxim Chané (FRA), finished with a total time of 3:18:17 and fought hard to keep up. Chané commented, “The swim was crazy, everything started really fast.” As the race progressed, he said, “Jens Emil caught me near the end on the bike but it was a nice one. For the run, I just managed to push it until the end without losing my second spot.”

Sébastien Carabin (BEL) claimed the third spot and shared, “I was a little sick before the start but I did my best for this race. The bike course is one of my favorites but it was quite muddy and slippery today.” Despite the challenges, Carabin’s biking speed shone through where he managed to make a significant recovery after the swim where he overtook several riders ahead.

Each competitor not only shared their personal reflections but also highlighted the atmosphere and the challenging nature of the XTERRA France course. Sloth Nielsen lauded the community, saying, “It’s amazing how great the support is here every time you go through the start and finish area.” Similarly, Chané appreciated the energy, “The crowd is amazing. It’s what makes XTERRA France really good fun.” Meanwhile, Carabin celebrated the familial aspect, noting, “XTERRA France is one of my favorite races of the season because the atmosphere is amazing and I always come with family at this race who support me.”

Top 5 Elite Men’s Full Distance Results

1. Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DNK: 3:15:36

2. Maxim Chané, FRA: 3:18:17

3. Sébastien Carabin, BEL: 3:21:09

4. Elliot Labourdette, FRA: 3:25:02

5. Jens Roth, DEU: 3:27:37

Women’s Race Recap

The women’s race was a demonstration of Italian dominance with Sandra Mairhofer (ITA), returning as the 2023 XTERRA France Champion and fresh from consecutive victories at XTERRA Oak Mountain and XTERRA Belgium.

The race kicked off with Mairhofer and the other elite athletes plunging into the lake where she expressed satisfaction by stating, “The swim was really good because I started well and I was very close to the front.” Transitioning to the bike, she navigated the muddy with evident enjoyment as she annihilated all competitors with a bike split of 2:25:34 which rivaled many of the men, “I had a lot of fun on the bike. I really enjoyed the downhill.” Despite the conditions, Mairhofer managed her lead carefully, mindful of preserving her bike and maintaining a strategic pace, “I did not push too much to not get a flat tire. I knew I had some time advantage to control my pace until the end.”

Fellow Italian Bianca Morvillo, backed with a recent win at XTERRA Switzerland just the previous month, secured 2nd place. Not as confident in the swim, she remarked, “Swim was not bad, but I’m not a great swimmer.” However, she excelled during the biking segment, where she could leverage her strength, “I got through it to get to the bike where I could push the whole time.” The vibrant atmosphere at the finish line was a highlight for her, reflecting the community’s enthusiasm and support, “The best moment was the finish line with so many people and it was a great atmosphere.”

Anna Wer (POL) also made her mark in the race, starting strong in the swim, “On the swim, I felt really good so I tried to push. I think it went well.” Despite feeling slightly off-pace on the bike due to the after effects of the swim, she found her rhythm and tackled the challenging run with caution and determination, “The run was an amazing mud battle, so I just tried to go at my own pace without risking an injury.”

Top 5 Elite Women’s Full Distance Results

1. Sandra Mairhofer, ITA: 3:43:35

2. Bianca Morvillo, ITA: 4:03:30

3. Anna Wer, AUT: 4:10:36

4 .Carina Wasle, AUT: 4:11:03

5. Emma Ducreux, FRA: 4:16:37

A Full-Fledged Festival Weekend

This year, XTERRA France went above and beyond by introducing a triathlon for toddlers on balance bikes, making the event more inclusive than ever. The festival also featured a Kids Triathlon for 12-15 yr. olds, which focused on nurturing the next generation of athletes in a fun and supportive environment. The weekend was packed with activities, including a SwimRun for teams and a Sprint Triathlon tailored for newcomers. The finish line came to life throughout each race, culminating in a festive pasta party and awards ceremonies that celebrated the achievements of participants across all age groups.


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)