XTERRA South Africa 2024: Elite Triathletes Converge in the Elgin Valley

GRABOUW, WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA – On February 17, the 2024 XTERRA World Tour kicks off with the 17th edition of XTERRA South Africa in the heart of the Elgin Valley.

Organized by the legendary Conrad Stoltz, a five-time XTERRA World Champion, the Full Distance Off-Road Triathlon at the Elgin Grabouw Sports Club features elite athletes battling for the top spot and a prize purse of R50,000 with local talents simultaneously competing in the South African Cross Tri Champs.

The challenge is set with a 1.5K swim, a 28K MTB ride, and a 10K run through the valley’s stunning landscapes. As competitors from around the globe gather, they will not only battle for the top spot, but also compete for 28 limited slots at the 2024 XTERRA World Championships in Trentino, Italy on September 28.

Course Description

The race blasts off with a 1.5K swim in the Eikenhof Dam, where athletes navigate two 750m laps featuring an Australian exit, showcasing the dam’s naturally clean, tea-colored waters.

The competition intensifies with a 28K bike course that weaves through the Western Cape’s dramatic sandstone formations and vibrant fynbos, with 70% on singletrack designed by Conrad Stoltz, including a figure-eight loop and an over-and-under bridge at the 21K mark.

The culminating 10K run, will test athletes with a mix of single and jeep tracks and two significant water crossings, adding a challenging twist to the final stretch before the finish line.

Elite Focus: Who To Watch Out For

XTERRA South Africa features an elite roster of exceptional athletes ready to showcase their skills on the demanding course. Here are a few top competitors to watch:


World Ranking – Name, NAT

5 – Marta Menditto, ITA

The Italian triathlon sensation is ready to launch her season like last year, where she grabbed the win in Oman on March 18th. Throughout 2023, Menditto consistently impressed on the global stage, securing 2nd at the XTERRA Oak Mountain Full Distance Triathlon and 3rd at the XTERRA Lake Garda Full Distance Triathlon. Her dominance was further extended by a 6th place finish at the XTERRA World Championship and a triumphant victory at the 2023 Europe Triathlon Cross Championships.

“When I was 14 years old, I had to write a small thesis and I chose XTERRA South Africa and, specifically, Conrad Stoltz for the sports segment. It’s incredible that, 10 years later, I’m finally going to South Africa to compete in Conrad’s race as an elite athlete myself,” Marta Menditto expressed, reflecting on her journey. “I’m eager to learn as much as possible from one of the best and enjoy the legendary MTB trails. I’m grateful for the opportunity before the Taiwan World Cup, which is one of the year’s most important races,”

14 – Carina Wasle, AUT

Austrian athlete Carina Wasle impressed in 2023 with a string of notable performances. She claimed victory at XTERRA Lake Scanno on July 22 and competed in the XTERRA Germany Full Distance Triathlon on August 19, securing 8th place in a fiercely competitive field. Wasle’s stellar triathlon season also saw her win the 2023 AUT Cross Triathlon National Championships on June 8, solidifying her position as a leading contender in the Elite Women’s category.

“I’ve competed in XTERRA South Africa a few times, and it’s always been a fantastic start to the XTERRA season. After a 6-year hiatus from the African sun, I’m back.” Wasle is determined to achieve greater heights this season. “To climb higher in the rankings and achieve better results in the races ahead, I know I need to focus particularly on improving my biking skills. XTERRA South Africa is the first real test to see if I’ve managed to enhance my biking, especially since I’ll be up against strong competitors like Marta.”

84 – Dieske Kruisselbrink, NED

Following an impressive 5th place finish at XTERRA Netherlands on September 16, 2023, Dieske Kruisselbrink from the Netherlands reflects on her upcoming race in South Africa with optimism and determination.

“XTERRA South Africa will be my first race of the season and I hope it will be a good kick-off! I spent the last weeks training in and around Stellenbosch and think it’s a great place to live and train.” Kruisselbrink’s resilience is personified through overcoming a significant setback. “I am very grateful for being able to race and try my best again after I got badly hit by a car during a training ride last summer. I’m still working on the heavy shoulder injury this caused me, but the recovery is going very well so far.”


World Ranking – Name, NAT

11 – Michele Bonacina, ITA

Michele Bonacina excelled in the 2023 season, claiming 1st at XTERRA Lake Scanno on July 22, and securing 4th at XTERRA Germany on August 19. His strong presence continued with a 7th place finish at the XTERRA World Championship on September 23. Additionally, Bonacina’s dominance extended to the World Triathlon Championship Series, where he triumphed at the Europe Triathlon Cross Championships and the ITA Cross Triathlon National Championships, solidifying his elite status in the triathlon world.

2023 © Alice Russolo

“XTERRA South Africa has quickly become one of my favorite races,” Boncania adds. “Given Conrad Stoltz’ status as a remarkable athlete, he understands what competitors look for in an XTERRA event. I’m aiming for a strong performance here, but since it’s the first XTERRA of the season, I’ll be using it as a test to gauge my preparation.”

87 – Quirijn Waaijenberg, NED

Quirijn Waaijenberg showed a few commendable performances on the XTERRA World Tour last season. On May 13 at XTERRA Weston Park, he secured 6th place. Earlier, on April 22, 2023, Waaijenberg was in action at XTERRA Greece, where he achieved 7th place in a highly competitive field.

“It’s an early start to my XTERRA Season, and I’m really looking forward to racing again. I’m hoping to compete for the podium in this early race, though it’s too soon to tell where I stand.” Waaijenberg continued, “I’m having a blast in South Africa, feeling race-ready with my final week of training before heading off to Grabouw.”

Key Matchups and Predictions

In the highly anticipated showdown at the upcoming XTERRA Full Distance Triathlon, all eyes are on the Italian power duo, Marta Menditto and Michele Bonacina, as they enter the race as the clear favorites to dominate their respective categories. Menditto, with her exceptional accolades in 2023, is expected to lead the women’s race, potentially edging out Carina Wasle. Despite Menditto’s blend of skill and determination positioning her slightly ahead, the gap between her and Wasle might be narrower than anticipated, setting the stage for a captivating battle for the top spot.

On the Men’s side, Michele Bonacina is poised to set the pace from the get-go, with predictions placing him significantly ahead of his competitors. However, the presence of strong contenders like Quirijn Waaijenberg, who has shown commendable performances, suggests that Bonacina’s path to victory might not be as clear-cut as it seems. Bonacina’s unparalleled strength, endurance, and racing intelligence make him the standout favorite, yet the competitive field promises a dynamic and unpredictable race.

A Weekend To Remember

XTERRA South Africa extends beyond the elite competition, offering a trail festival atmosphere that encapsulates the essence of the XTERRA community. With activities ranging from glamping and camping to live music, bonfires, and beer gardens, the event promises a holistic experience for athletes and spectators alike.

Additional races, including the Sprint Triathlon, a 21K Half Marathon (to qualify for the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Sugarloaf Maine on September 1st, 2024) and the premiere of the XTERRA Youth Tour with a Junior Triathlon, ensures that XTERRA South Africa is more than just a race—it’s a celebration of the outdoor lifestyle, inviting participants of all ages and abilities to engage in the thrill of off-road triathlon.


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.

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