In a race full of twists and turns, Xterra's newest competitor, Anthony Pujades from France, led the men's division out of the water in a swift 18:08. He blazed ahead of Germany's Jens Roth by 20 seconds and Michele Bonacina of Italy by 50 seconds, setting an intense pace for the racers trailing in their wake, including Arthur Serrières from France, Lukas Kočař of the Czech Republic, and France's Maxim Chane.
Felix Forissier, another French contender, emerged from the waters in the 13th position, over a minute behind the leading group. Hot on his heels was his older brother, Arthur Forissier. Seven-time World Champion Ruben Ruzafa of Spain was in the 29th position, while the current Cup leader, Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen of Denmark, was lagging in 38th place.
However, the dynamics of the race took an electrifying turn once they switched to bikes. Arthur Forissier, the recent champion of the Asia-Pacific Championship, led the group up the cobblestone steps of the iconic Citadel. He was closely followed by his younger brother Felix and Kočař, proving that the real contest was just getting started.
Setting the bar high, Felix Forissier executed the fastest split of the day in mountain biking, leaving behind accomplished bikers including Ruzafa, his own brother, Sloth Nielsen, Belgium's favorite Sébastien Carabin, and even the Olympic gold medalist Jaroslav Kulhavý from the Czech Republic.
Unyielding in his pursuit of victory, Felix then gave a stellar performance in the 10K run, widening his lead over the rest. Crossing the finish line in 2:31:21, Felix then warmly embraced his brother Arthur who arrived three minutes later.
An elated Felix expressed his delight over the victory, stating, "I'm incredibly happy to take the Xterra European Championship title against such strong competition." Despite having experienced a setback in the Xterra World Cup in Taiwan, this victory put Felix back on track in his pursuit of the crown.
Coming in third was the determined Ruzafa, who narrowly finished 25 seconds behind Arthur Forissier. Meanwhile, Sloth Nielsen secured the fourth spot, with Chane not far behind in fifth.
Perhaps the most astonishing feat was performed by 2015 Xterra World Champion, Josiah Middaugh from the USA, who passed an incredible 110 competitors on the bike to secure the 10th position. Equally impressive was Carabin, who climbed from the 198th position out of the water to finish 11th.
Despite the high-level competition, Felix Forissier emerged victorious, leaving everyone anticipating his future performance in the race for the crown.