Canadian pro and Trek Factory Team member Jenny Fletcher is making a big come back after suffering a pulmonary embolism last year. Her 5th place finish among a strong international field at the Cannes International Triathlon in Cannes, France yesterday showed she’s regaining fine form under her new coach Leanda Cave. France’s Charlotte Morel and Herve Faure each claimed inaugural victories through the challenging course in the Maritime Alps. The race started with a very fresh swim in 14 degree sea and ended with a spectator-friendly run along the beautiful beachside La Croisette.
In the women’s race, Tine Deckers, considered one of the biggest threats, had to drop out with a mechanical, leaving the hills to Morel who charged up them with a big lead and held on during the run. Morel recently recovered from a stress fracture so was thrilled to maintain the gap on the run. As a former ITU athlete, the win was Morel’s first ever race at the distance and her first non-drafting event, proving her move up in distance to be extremely promising on the world stage.
Frederick Van Lierde, the current Hawaii Ironman World Champ finished in fourth but came out of the water just seconds behind Frederic Belaubre and Robin Pasteur. The group started the bike together and put in a one minute gap on the chase pack. At a press conference prior to the race, the Polar sponsored Van Lierde was on-site to answer questions and promote the launch of the new Polar V800 GPS watch. In a candid interview he discussed being OK with the pressure of being a marked man at every race now that he has the world title, saying, “While it’s impossible to come to every race in perfect form, I will always give everything I have when I show up to the start line.” In that press conference he also seemed to predict Sunday’s outcome, explaining, “I’ve had a lot of fourth place finishes before winning in Kona. I’m Ok with fourth.” Despite his fourth place finish, only a minute separated first and fourth in a tight race.
Van Lierde’s explained, “You can only have three or so peak performances a year. My first was for Abu Dhabi, my second will be for Ironman Nice and, of course, the main one is Kona.” The champion also let the audience in on his training regime which maxes out at 35 hours a week , while his longest run before an Ironman is 35 km. Not surprisingly with his swim background, he spends most of his exclusively solo training hours on the bike. The father of two prefers to push himself in training than to negotiate other people’s schedules. Van Lierde’s presence in Cannes certainly lent the race prestige and depth.
The event also featured a medium distance event (1km swim, 50 km bike, 8km run) along the same stunning course. Race director Manuela Garelli took over the race from the TriStar series which folded this year. Garelli’s grace and elegance were visible in all the fine details of the race weekend, promising this will soon become among the best events worldwide. Together with race sponsor Polar, the organizers spared no expense and were athlete-oriented throughout the race, from the numerous and attentive volunteers to the opulent post-race spread—brimming with local cheeses, fresh fruit and French pastries.The race also partnered with Escape to Alcatraz whereby the top 15 athletes in each race qualified for the coveted entry to Alcatraz in 2015.
April 13, 2014, Cannes, France
Long Course:2k swim, 80k bike, 16k run
1. Herve Faure (FRA) 3:36:45
2. Giulio Molinari (ITA) 3:37:15
3. Nicolas Fernandez (FRA) 3:37:25
4. Frederick Van Liede (BEL) 3:37:35
5. Herve Banti (FRA) 3:40:41
6. Frederic Belaubre (FRA) 3:42:45
1. Charlotte Morel (FRA) 4:09:06
2. Celine Bousserez (FRA) 4:09:14
3. Martina Dogana (ITA) 4:16:20
4. Emma Bilham (FRA) 4:17:30
5. Jenny Fletcher (CAN) 4:19:28
6. Margie Santimaria (ITA) 4:20:50