Ironman France was recently relocated to Nice, where Mark Allen once dominated a course that was roughly equivalent to the usual Ironman distances in difficulty but not in the metric sense of 2.4, 112 & 26.2. Nice is very much like Santa Barbara, from both an athletic viewpoint and the local geography. A cold ocean, mountains and flat running paths along the shore must be what compelled Christina Lund to venture to Nice and test the Ironman waters. Nice is known for the difficult, hazardous bike course that confronts the athlete that selects this race for a fun day, so Christinas' ubber biker background provided the edge required to do well here. Results follow along with a pre-race Ironmanlive excerpt that provides more Ironman France insight Also, for those that like to plan ahead, Jon Martin, aka 'Aero Jonny', will be organizing a racing adventure to Iroman France in 2009. VB
PLC SWIM BIKE RUN TOTAL
LUND Christina USA F40 19 1:19:14 6:47:01 4:49:44 13:17:54 Santa Barbara
Top 10 Men
1. Marcel Zamora Perez (ESP) 8:34:04
2. Hervé Faure (FRA) 8:41:55
3. Patrick Bringer (FRA) 8:45:15
4. José Jeuland (FRA) 8:53:34
5. Rutger Beke (BEL) 8:55:11
6. Mike Aigroz (SUI) 8:56:43
7. Jozsef Major (HUN) 8:57:45
8. Damien Landon (FRA) 9:10:56 *
9. Jef Van Roosbroek (BEL) 9:12:34 *
10. Xavier Le Floch (FRA) at 9:12:49
Top 5 women
1. Martina Dogana (ITA) 9:35:29
2. Katja Schumacher (GER) 10:00:59
3. Alexandra Louison (FRA) 10:03:46
4. Alexandra Schwalbe (GER) 10:16:17
5. Michaela Schneck (GER) 10:23:31 *
Article excerpted from Ironmanlive.com
With a bike course that is roughly split into one third climbing, one third descending and one third getting back to the transition zone on the Promenade des Anglais it's not a race for the timid. And that's before a run in the afternoon Mediterranean sun which has been known to melt the ice creams while they are still in the freezer.
It is a race that attracts athletes who have been here before and who have mastered the course and the pro line-up for Sunday's race demonstrates that. Marcel Zamora Perez, winner here for the last two years and the obvious favorite, faces a serious challenge from Hervé Faure who is ranked second on the basis of his win here in 2005 and second place in 2006, he also won the first Ironman France in its original location at Gérardmer - and that was a seriously tough race.
And that's not the only challenge he faces as Rutger Beke, winner at Arizona last year and a man with multiple top five performances at Hawaii and a third place at Lake Placid certainly has the wherewithal to depose the current Champion as he showed when he won at the Monaco 70.3, a race which Marcel Zamora Perez also won last year.
Jozsef Major cannot be discounted either, he's already won this year in Arizona and has a fourth place here under his belt from 2004 together with a third place in Switzerland last year. And neither Xavier Le Floch, the 2007 Ironman Malaysia winner who will be looking to go better than last year when he dropped out on the run, be ruled out of getting onto the podium, a results which would delight the home crowd.
The women's field is slightly less well endowed with three clear contenders. Alexandra Louison, who is also a very accomplished duathlete, won here last year and set a course record in the process. Like Marcel Zamora Perez, she too has wins at the sister 70.3 Monaco event to here credit showing that the hills hold no fear for her.
Her two primary challengers are Katja Schumacher, who has wins at Roth, Florida, Frankfurt and Wisconsin to her credit, and Katya Meyers who had a fourth place with the fastest bike split over the Nice course in 2006 in her resumé. Multiple winner on flat courses versus fastest biker on a hilly course - now that one is going to be very interesting to watch!
And there's interest outside the conventional pro athlete ranks too as a pair of ex-pro bikers add to their Ironman experience. Laurent Jalabert wanted to race his first Ironman here on home soil last year but the dates didn't work out so he went to Switzerland instead and ended up with a Hawaii slot in the process. He carved up the field in Switzerland and he's looking to do the same on roads that were, basically, his training ground in the old days. Kai Hundertmarck, the ex-T-mobile rider who turned in a 9:19:38 in Hawaii last year, is the other man to keep track of on the bike course to see if the old magic is still there.