Titans of Off-Road Triathlon Clash in Taiwan

Press Release / 21.03.2024
/ © XTERRA media

Taiwan's Kenting National Park, hosts the opener of the 2nd annual XTERRA World Cup, gathering the world's top off-road triathletes—from legends, emerging talents, returning champions and local favorites competing for a shot at the $340,000 total prize purse throughout the 7-stop global pro series conceived by the pioneers of off-road triathlon. 

The Kenting Youth Activity Center, a characterful classic Hokkien-style villa, is alive with activity as elite athletes converge, preparing for a pivotal chance to earn crucial points in the first of 11 races that will culminate with the crowning of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup Champion. 

Course Description 

The Full Distance Race is a meticulously designed triathlon battleground that spans 42.5 kilometers across three disciplines:

Swim (1.5K): The race initiates with a 1.5-kilometer swim in the Pacific Ocean’s warm waters at Little Bay Beach. Athletes face two 750-meter laps with a short run on the sand between, testing their ability to quickly transition and maintain pace in open water.

Bike (29K): Following the swim, competitors mount their bikes for a challenging 29K MTB course. This segment is a test of stamina and skill, with a relentless mix of climbing and descents along single tracks. Athletes will navigate through tough climbs and technical sections filled with rock gardens and lengthy descents, requiring both power and precision.

Run (12K): The final leg is a 12-kilometer trail run that tests athletes' endurance and agility to the fullest. The course features a mix of grassy areas, loose rocks, and more technical terrain, including roots and riverbeds. This year’s run has been updated to a two-loop format, eliminating an initial steep climb in favor of a layout that promises a faster overall pace.

Nature’s X-Factor

The environmental conditions in Taiwan add a significant layer of complexity. The tropical heat and humidity present a stark contrast to the cooler climates many athletes train in, demanding acclimatization and strategic hydration.

The natural terrain of Kenting's southern mountains offers unpredictable challenges, from the untamed trails to the risk of equipment failure, such as flat tires on the rugged bike course that plagued French stars Felix Forrissier and Maxim Chané in 2023 at the same spot, from the same rock, about 22K into the MTB segment.

Also notably, in 2023, strategy and pace on the run course was crucial for Alizée Paties to secure a victory over Solenne Billouin, highlighting the importance of tactical planning in this sun drenched race with nowhere to hide. This year, with the modified run course, athletes might need to adapt their strategies to maintain a competitive edge.

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