Forissier Fortuitous & Billouin Brilliance at Stop #2 of 2024 XTERRA World Cup

Arthur Forissier clinches victory after brother Felix's navigational error, while Solenne Billouin dominates the women's race in Vouliagmeni.

Forissier Fortuitous & Billouin Brilliance at Stop #2 of 2024 XTERRA World Cup

The second stop of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup in Vouliagmeni, Greece, on 27 April , 2024, was marked by dramatic turns and dominant performances. Arthur Forissier (FRA) capitalised on a late-race misfortune to secure victory in 2:19:54, while Solenne Billouin (FRA) remained undefeated with a winning time of 2:42:36. The scenic yet challenging course in Vouliagmeni, hosting its 11th year of XTERRA competition, tested the mettle of over 50 professional athletes vying for a €15,000 prize purse and crucial series points.

Updated standings show Felix Forissier (FRA) maintaining a slim 8-point lead over his brother Arthur, with 2023 World Cup Champion Arthur Serrières (FRA) debuting in third. Solenne Billouin leads the women's field, followed by a tie for second between Aneta Grabmüller (CZE) and 2023 World Cup Champion Alizée Paties (FRA).

Pre-Race Expectations and Conditions

The men's race saw the anticipated return of double-champion Arthur Serrières, who opted for extended winter training instead of racing in Taiwan. His main challengers were series leader Felix Forissier and second-place Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen (DNK). The women's field welcomed back Sandra Mairhofer (ITA), a consistent top performer, setting the stage for intense battles with Billouin and Paties.

2024 XTERRA World Cup Heats Up with Stop #2 in Greece
The 2024 XTERRA World Cup series continues in Vouliagmeni, Greece, as top off-road triathletes compete on a challenging course for crucial points and qualifying slots.

The Full Distance race, with water temperatures at 19°C and air temperatures ranging from 18°C to 22°C, featured a 1.5K two-lap swim, a challenging 30K two-lap mountain bike with loose pebbles, sharp rocks, and punchy climbs, and a 9.2K run with a technical scramble followed by a 1K sprint through town.

How the Race Was Won

Men's Race

Swim - Jules Dumas (FRA) led out of the water in 18:25, closely followed by a chase pack including Michele Bonacina (ITA) (18:36), Felix Forissier (18:34), Maxim Chané (FRA) (18:48), Federico Spinazzè (ITA) (18:32), and Arthur Serrières. Arthur Forissier exited 20 seconds behind but made up time with the day's second-fastest transition.

Bike - The Forissier brothers broke away early, shattering the lead pack. Arthur set a fierce pace (1:20:25) that only Felix could match (1:21:01). Bonacina suffered a puncture, pushing him out of the top five. Serrières, caught by Jens Emil Sloth Nielson (1:21:14) and Theo Dupras (FRA) (1:21:13), led the chase group.

Run - The Forissier brothers were initially neck and neck, with Felix creating a 10-second lead. Serrières pushed hard to close the gap, setting the fastest run split (38:11). In a dramatic finish, Felix took a wrong turn in the final 1,000 meters, allowing Arthur to surge ahead for the win. Serrières finished third, nearly catching the brothers.

Women's Race

Swim - Aneta Grabmüller led with a substantial margin (19:56), followed by Emma Ducreux swimming solo (20:35). Solenne Billouin (21:24), Sandra Mairhofer (21:24), Anna Zehnder (21:04), Romy Spoelder, and Marta Menditto trailed in a chase pack. Alizée Paties had an unusually challenging swim, losing significant time.

Bike - Grabmüller led deep into the bike segment until Billouin overtook her with the fastest split (1:33:09). Mairhofer moved into third (1:35:32) but couldn't close the widening gap to the leaders. Paties showcased her technical skills (1:37:20), working into fourth place.

Run - The top positions remained unchanged, with Paties securing 4th (47:27), Marta Menditto 5th, and XTERRA hall of famer Helena Karásková Erbenová 6th (50:01). Mairhofer reflected positively on her performance (48:48), while Grabmüller expressed surprise and satisfaction with second place (47:48). Billouin shared her mixed emotions and the physical challenges faced en route to victory, posting the fastest run split (47:06).


Arthur Forissier reflected on the final moments, "I don't know what happened with Felix; he was just focused at the end and he just switched off for one second. I really don't know, I think maybe he was a little bit too focused." Felix, visibly upset, confessed, "At the finish line and the beach, I couldn't see my way and lost myself and the first place."

Serrières remained upbeat, "I'm quite happy today, just missing some rhythm as I don't have many races under my belt this season. I don't feel any pressure; I'm so happy to just get back racing here, just enjoying being back."

Billouin shared her mixed emotions, "I felt less confident than in Taiwan, but actually, my body was fresher, so you know you have to take what you have with you on race day, and it went super well." Despite a slow start to the run, she found her stride, "The first two kilometers I was a bit shaky, like I didn't have good energy. But I also know that coming off the bike, you always need a bit of time."

Top 10 Men: Overall Results

  1. Arthur Forissier, FRA: 2:19:54
  2. Felix Forissier, FRA: 2:20:19
  3. Arthur Serrières, FRA: 2:20:30
  4. Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DNK: 2:21:21
  5. Maxim Chané, FRA: 2:23:52
  6. Federico Spinazzè, ITA: 2:24:21
  7. Jules Dumas, FRA: 2:24:44
  8. Theo Dupras, FRA: 2:25:39
  9. Kieran McPherson, NZL: 2:26:44
  10. Sébastien Carabin, BEL: 2:27:42

Top 10 Women: Overall Results

  1. Solenne Billouin, FRA: 2:42:36
  2. Aneta Grabmüller, CZE: 2:45:04
  3. Sandra Mairhofer, ITA: 2:47:08
  4. Alizée Paties, FRA: 2:49:06
  5. Marta Menditto, ITA: 2:54:26
  6. Helena Karásková Erbenová, CZE: 2:55:06
  7. Anna Zehnder, CHE: 2:56:23
  8. Carina Wasle, AUT: 2:58:34
  9. Elizabeth Orchard, NZL: 3:00:15
  10. Emma Ducreux, FRA: 3:03:36