XTERRA South Africa: Menditto, Bonacina Victorious in 2024 Season Opener

GRABOUW, WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA – The 2024 XTERRA World Tour kicked off with a splash on February 17, as the 17th edition of XTERRA South Africa unfolded in the Elgin Valley.

Overseen by Conrad Stoltz, a five-time XTERRA World Champion, athletes from across the globe competed for a R50,000 prize purse and qualifying slots for the XTERRA World Championship. The event started with a 1.5K swim in the Eikenhof Dam, followed by a 28K mountain bike ride and a 10K run across rugged terrain, highlighted by two significant water crossings that tested the mettle of every triathlete.

Elite Women’s Showdown: Menditto Holds Off Wasle in Thrilling Finish

Marta Menditto (ITA) clinched the title in the Elite Women’s category, finishing with an impressive time of 2:48:38. She claimed victory in her first race of the XTERRA World Tour for the second consecutive year, following up on her win at XTERRA Oman in 2023.

“I prepared hard for this and put in the work, and I’m happy with how I felt today,” Menditto reflected on her performance. She added, “The run was really nice, and I really enjoyed it. Even going in the river was really nice. Really refreshing.” On the topic of weather and preparation for future competitions, she noted, “It wasn’t too hot, but it was still warm, which I think is good preparation for the temperatures in Taiwan. It’s beneficial to have completed a triathlon before the first event of the World Cup.”

The Italian triathlete led the field, showcasing her dominance across all segments, was first out of the water with a time of 25:06 through to the bike segment where she maintained a 47 second lead over runner-up Carina Wasle (AUT). It was Wasle that completed the run segment the fastest with a time of 46:29 and a total time of 2:49:25.

Wasle, who emerged second from the water and maintained her position off the bike, managed to narrow the gap during the run segment, finishing the race just less than a minute behind Menditto. Her efforts on the mountain bike segment paid off, marking a notable improvement in her performance, and her preparation for the race, evidently contributed to her strong finish.

“I really enjoyed today. I came a bit earlier to do a little training camp, and I think it was worth it. I’ve had to focus on my mountain biking because it was always my weakness, and today, I think I showed that I’ve gotten better.” Wasle also acknowledged her competitor’s strength, “Marta’s a really strong mountain biker, and I’m really happy to be very close behind her, securing second place.”

Dieske Kruisselbrink (NED) rounded out the top three, completing the course in 2:56:58 seconds. Despite facing challenges in the swim segment where she was seventh out of the water, Kruisselbrink excelled in the bike segment, overtaking the four competitors ahead of her to finish the bike loop in 1:34:49. Her steady performance in the run segment solidified her third-place finish, opting for a consistent pace over attempting to close the gap to second place.

“The swim didn’t go as well as I hoped, so I tried to set the pace on the bike. I felt really good, and I think I managed that part quite well. I started to overtake some people quite early on and got into a good tempo.” She continued, detailing her approach to the run, “The run was fine, but the gap to second was too big, so I decided to stick to third place and maintain a good pace.” Kruisselbrink also shared her appreciation for the local environment, “Look around, it’s super stunning here, and the weather is very nice compared to the Dutch winter.”

Top 5 Women Results:

1st – Marta Menditto, ITA – 2:48:38
2nd – Carina Wasle, AUT – 2:49:25
3rd – Dieske Kruisselbrink, NED – 2:56:58
4th – Sarah Wild, ZIM – 3:03:02
5th – Marni Sumbal, USA – 3:08:38

Full Results

Elite Men’s Results: Bonacina Dominates with Myburgh and Owen in Pursuit

Michele Bonacina (ITA) led the Elite Men’s race, clinching the title with an outstanding performance across all segments, culminating in a winning time of 2:27:25. His victory was marked by his 2 minute and 24 second lead coming out of the water ahead of the field and his resilience, overcoming technical difficulties during the bike segment to maintain his lead.

“It’s fantastic, the trails are amazing,” Bonacina shared post-race. He emphasized the quality of the trails in Stellenbosch, his rigorous swim, and his effort to widen the gap on the bike, despite having to stop twice to fix his rear wheel.

Reflecting on his race strategy and the day’s performance, Bonacina shared, “I tried to push in the swim, then jumped on the bike to try and widen the gap. I had to stop twice to fix my rear wheel, which was unexpected. On the run, I pushed hard, not knowing the position of the competitor behind me.”

The crossing of the river stood out as a highlight, encapsulating a unique aspect of the XTERRA experience. Bonacina’s exclaimed, “It was so fun to cross the river. We have to come back again next year, I hope.”

Adriaan Myburgh (RSA) secured the second overall spot with a time of 2:32:15, also claiming the title in the South African Cross Tri Champs, held concurrently. Myburgh relished XTERRA’s challenging yet rewarding course, particularly praising this year’s run segment for its added technicality. “The run was even more fun this year,” Myburgh said, appreciating Conrad Stoltz’s meticulous course design.

His journey through the segments, from a 23:33 swim to a 1:23:30 bike and finishing with a 43:49 run boosted his long-term vision, “8 years of triathlon, 5 years of racing XTERRA [and] I’m very grateful to have this title of South African Champion.” His sights are set on building upon his local success to boost his international racing profile in Europe next year.

Ryno Owen (RSA) landed third place with a finishing time of 2:36:04, a mere 31 seconds in front of Joeri Deleebeeck (BEL) and 56 seconds ahead of 5th place Matthew Daneel (RSA). He staged an impressive recovery after a tough swim with a time of 24:06 and bike and run segments of 1:24:56 and 45:05 respectively.

“This is my first professional race as an elite,” Owen remarked, emphasizing the significance of this milestone in his career. His ambition and outlook for the future were clear as he discussed his aspirations, “This year is all in for XTERRA, and we’ll see how it goes. Super stoked to go to the World Champs and race as an elite this year.”

Top 5 Men Results:

1st – Michele Bonacina, ITA – 2:27:25
2nd – Adriaan Myburgh, RSA – 2:32:15
3rd – Ryno Owen, RSA – 2:36:04
4th – Joeri Deleebeeck, BEL – 2:36:35
5th – Matthew Daneel, RSA – 2:36:59

Full Results


The success of XTERRA South Africa 2024 owes much to the exceptional organization and vibrant course that made the event unforgettable. Special thanks are extended to Rob Nel and Conrad ‘The Caveman’ Stoltz, whose transition from champion athlete to master event organizer ensured a world-class XTERRA experience.

The dedication and hard work of the entire team behind the scenes provided an all-out trail festival, complete with additional attractions that captured the unique South African festival spirit. The XTERRA community extends its gratitude to all participants, whose enthusiasm and competitive spirit were key to the event’s success.

Official results and time splits can be found here.

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