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Ironman France-Nice

  • Welcome to Ironman Nice-France!

    For 29 years Nice has hosted a major triathlon distance race - this will be the seventh time that event will be an Ironman. The site of 10 straight wins by Mark Allen during his heyday (it is ironic that his biggest rival during those days, Yves Cordier, is now the race director here in Nice), Nice has long been known as one of the world's premier race destinations.

    This year will be no different - we're in for a fantastic race. Highlighting the action will be Marcel Zamora's quest for a sixth straight win here in Nice.

    We'll have all the action here on Ironmanlive tomorrow, starting a half hour before the 6:30 AM race start.
  • The men's race:
    Marcel Zamora (SPA), five time winner and race record holder will have to watch out of last year's runner-up, Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) as he aims for a sixth straight win at Ironman France-Nice.

    For more, click here: ironman.com
  • The women's preview:
    In addition to French favorite Alexandra Louison, Heather Gollnick (USA), Kim Loeffler (USA), Sylvia Felt (GER), Britta Martin (GER) and Johanna Daumas (FRA) arrive on the French Riviera as tough contenders for the title at the seventh running of Ironman France
this Sunday.

    Read more: ironman.com
  • Just a day before the big day here in Nice, the pros were on hand for the press conference in the Expo here today. Here's a quick recap of what they had to say and what we can expect for tomorrow's race here at Ironman France-Nice: Read more at: ironman.com

  • Marcel Zamora wins for the fifth time in 2010.
    "The French people are very supportive – this is like my second home. The bike course is great – the terrain is very similar to where I live and train. It’s a good day in my calendar – it’s the first big race of my season. My mind is fresh and I’m really excited to compete."

  • Frederik Van Lierde was second here last year.
    "Last year I only checked out the course here once. Marcel knows the course here so well – he’s won it five times. I think I can do it better this year, so I think I have a chance, which is why I wanted to come back. And the people here are so nice, too."

  • Alexandra Louison was third here last year. She won the race in 2007 and has finished on the podium two other times. Since she lives in Antibes, just 20 km from Nice, she is very familiar with this challenging course.

  • Americans Kim Loeffler and Heather Gollnick at today's press conference.

  • One of the men's favorites for tomorrow's race is Paul Amey, who has a busy month ahead as he will also be racing in Frankfurt at the end of next month.

    “On these type of courses Marcel has proven he’s the one to beat,” Amey said in an interview earlier today. “This is his Kona. He really peaks for this race, whereas Fred and myself have other plans for the year. My main thing for here is to make sure I get enough Kona points.”

    “I’ve been here two weeks and looked over the course and it suits me pretty well. I’m pretty fit – I’m looking forward to having a good day. Hopefully I’ll be with Marcel and Fred off the bike and give them a bit of a run for their money on the marathon.”
  • For Kim Loeffler, Ironman France seems to be a perfect opportunity to get her first Ironman win.

    "An ocean swim - an ocean wetsuit swim - with a mass start, a hilly bike course and a hot run – this race really suits me," she said in an interview earlier today.

    "I think this is an amazing bike course. I’m only about 110 pounds, so I’m not a powerful rider on the flats – at Ironman Texas I struggled a bit on the bike course. I do much better on the long, gradual climbs. In Vermont we have smaller mountains, but there are lots of technical descents."
  • The super-mom, Heather Gollnick.
    After spending much of 2010 dealing with injuries, the mother of three isn't trying to get to Kona this year, so she's not in the hunt for Kona Ranking Points like many others, which is why she's experimenting with her first Ironman race in Europe. Despite the fact that the course couldn't be more different than what she's used to back in Florida, she's excited about the race tomorrow.

    “I’m really strong, so I know I’ll do really well on the uphills," she says. "I’m not a great descender … the little bridge that I did 80 repeats on didn’t really cut it. I’ll be cautious. It’s very different than anything I’ve done, which is part of the reason I wanted to come and do it because it’s such a challenge. I’ve never done anything like it. The terrain is not like anything I’ve ever seen.”
  • Our oldest participant tomorrow will be 72-year-old Pierre Beccamel from France. The oldest woman competing here in Nice is Canada's Cullen Goodyear, who is 63.
  • The youngest competitors tomorrow will be Solanas Yohann, a 20-year-old from France, while Great Britain's Aimee Campbell, who turns 21 at the end of next month, is the youngest woman competing.
  • We'll be back in the morning.

    Our coverage of Ironman France-Nice will begin at 6AM tomorrow morning. See you then!
  • Good morning - we're back!

    It's yet another beautiful day here on the Cote d'Azur - but it is going to be a warm one, for sure. Olivier Marceau, who is going to be helping us out with some race spotting here today, pointed out to me that at 5:30 AM it was already 25 degrees Celsius (77 F). That said, the expected high is only 26 C (79 F), so the conditions could end up being pretty nice.

    They're not calling for much wind today, either - 8 to 16 kph (5 - 10 mph). Right now the water conditions look perfect for the swim, which is set to start in just over 20 minutes.
  • Good luck to Elizabeth Thompson! I saw the Canadian this morning - I hadn't realized she would be competing here today.

    I have written quite a bit about Thompson over the years - here's a column that I posted in 2009:

    The fact that Elizabeth Thompson is alive is in some ways a miracle.

    The fact that she managed to train for Ironman France is nothing short of amazing. The fact that she's off to Kona for the Ford Ironman World Championship? Dare I say “Proof that Anything is Possible?”

    I first met Thompson a few years ago when I was coaching the University of Toronto's Triathlon Club. Our reunion in France a few weeks ago came along with a story that hit me like a brick. A year ago the Canadian was on holiday in Nice. She's an avid triathlete, having finished both a number of Ironman races and event the Ultraman in Hawaii. During that holiday Thompson didn't get a chance to watch the Ironman in Nice. Instead of hanging out and watching some of the world's best triathletes take on one of the most spectacular Ironman courses in the world, Thompson suddenly found herself fighting for her life in a foreign hospital – a couple of days before the event she had a stroke.

    When she finally recovered from the stroke and was on her way back home, one of the doctors who had taken such great care of her in Nice took her aside.

    “You have to do an Ironman again,” he said. “It's your life. You need to make sure you don't let this stop you.”

    “He was treating the person,” Thompson says now, remembering those words, “Not the patient.”

    Thompson took those words to heart. Throughout her recovery, she pushed every boundary given to her. When she was told she could get out of bed, she walked across the room. When she was told she could walk down the hall of the hospital, she did every one she could find.

    A few days before Ironman France she walked back into the hospital here in Nice. She found that doctor and told him she was competing here at Ironman Nice.

    “You better go easy,” he told her.

    Thompson did just that – well, as easy as you can go and still complete one of the toughest Ironman courses there is.

    She finished the race in 15:15. Not her fastest time. Not even close. But for a woman who has been crying all week – tears come pretty quickly when you realize that it wasn't just your pastime you almost lost, it was your life – the race was a true tribute to how tough Elizabeth Thompson is. Then, the next day at the roll down for the qualifying spots for the Ford Ironman World Championship, Thompson's dream comeback continued – she managed to get a coveted spot for Kona.

    Originally from: ironman.com

    Thompson would eventually be featured in the NBC coverage of the Ford Ironman World Championship - hers is a truly amazing story!

    We'll keep track of her progress here today, too.
  • A note from a proud sister-in-law:
    I got this e-mail warning me to keep an eye out for a fast competitor in the 60-64 men's category today.

    "Dr. Arthur Halttunen # 2729 took second in Kona
    last year. He is a 13-time All American at Northwestern University and
    former World Champion in Mexico City. This year in Nice, Arthur is
    going for the win and his wife (my awesome sister Sue) after 25 years
    of supporting Art is running IronGirl. She is the third from the
    oldest competitor so give her some encouragement if you can."

    Thanks for that, Carol Tufts!
  • It is hopping here at the swim start!

    The French race announcer is renowned for getting everyone up and at 'em here in Nice, and he's already going strong this morning. We're 10 minutes away from the start and they have the music blaring.

    This promises to be yet another crazy day!
  • getting ready to go!

  • They're off!

  • The race has begun. The huge mass of swimmers just entered the water off the Plage du Centenaire and are on their way. The swim consists of one long 2.4 km loop, followed by a shorter 1.4 km loop. They get out of the water and run along the beach between the two loops.
  • The pros have an interesting option here - they can spread out anywhere they'd like for the start of the race, so they can either choose to be in the thick of things, or off to the side.
  • Five minutes into the race, Frederik van Lierde is making a statement - he has a 10 m lead on a group of swimmers.
  • Johanna Daumas is leading the women's race right now.
  • Van Lierde's lead is now up to 16 seconds over Paul Amey. Behind Amey there is a group forming. We haven't heard anything about the five-time winner here, Marcel Zamora at this point.
  • Depuis le depart de 6 h 30, 5 minutes seulement se sont ecoulees et Frederik Van Lierde se presente comme un des meneurs il a 10 metres d'avance sur un groupe de nageur
  • We will also have some French updates posted here today, too - as you will have just noticed! Thanks to Albania for helping us with that today.
  • An age group athlete, EDOUARD ENTRAYGUES, has managed to get himself into that first chase group. He's swimming with Amey.
  • 15 minutes into the race Van Lierde's lead is up to 20 seconds. Now there is a group of five chasing him - Amey, Francois Chabaud, women's leader Johanna Daumas, Entraygues (the age grouper) and Marcel Zamora, who is right on the feet of Daumas.
  • Van Lierde mene maintenant de 16 secondes sur Paul Amey. Il y a un groupe qui se forme, nous n'avons pas encore de nouvelles de celui qui a gagne 5 fois ici : Marcel Zamora.
  • Second in the women's race, one minute behind Daumas, is Jeanne Collonge.
  • Edouard Entraygues, a reussi a se placer dans ce premier groupe de tete, il nage avec Amey.
  • The lead is up to 50 m now. Van Lierde looks very relaxed and strong as he slowly pulls away from the group chasing him that includes:

    * FRANCOIS CHABAUD (#5)
    Age grouper Edourad Entraygues
    * PAUL AMEY (#3)
    * MARCEL ZAMORA PEREZ (#1)
    and women's race leader Johanna Daumas.

    The word is that Zamora is struggling to stay with the group.
  • 15 minutes apres le depart de la course Van Lierde mene de 25 secondes, maintenant il y a un groupe de 5 qui le suivent : Amey, Francois Chabaud, la premiere femme Johanna Daumas, Entraygues et Marcel Zamora qui est juste aux pieds de Johanna Daumas
  • Zamora is now about three or four meters behind the chase group. The five-time champion probably doesn't need to be too close to the front after the swim, though - he's typically won this race thanks to a stellar bike ride and run.
  • les premiers sont maintenant a 50 metres . Van Lierde semble tres relaxe et fort tandis qu'il gagne lentement du terrain sur le groupe qui le suit, incluant :
    Francois CHABAUD # 5 ,
    Edouard ENTRAYGUES
    Paul AMEY #3
    Marcel ZAMORA - PEREZ # 1
  • After the first loop of the swim, Van Lierde's lead is up to 50 seconds over the group that includes Chabaud, Entraygues, Amey, Daumas and Zamora, who has managed to get himself back into the group.
  • Zamora est maintenant 3 ou 4 metres derriere le groupe de tete, celui qui a gagne 5 fois n'a probablement pas besoin d'etre proche de la premiere ligne apres la natation, il gagne typiquement grace a une course a pieds et a velo tres rapide
  • Apres la premiere boucle de natation Van Lierde mene presque 55 secondes sur le groupe : CHABAUD - ENTRAYGUES - AMEY - DAUMAS - puis ZAMORA qui reussi a revenir dans le groupe de tete
  • The lead is now up to 55 seconds - Van Lierde continues to lead teh group that includes Chabaud, Entraygues, Amey, Zamora and women's leader Daumas.
  • Behind Daumas in the women's race we have:
    * JEANNE COLLONGE (#38 ) at 2 mins
    * TRISH BLACKWELL (#57) at 2:45
    * LUCIE CROISSANT (#53) at 3:20
    * ALEXANDRA LOUISON (#33) at 4:35
  • Le leader est maintenant a 55 secondes - VAN LIERDE continue de mener sur le groupe CHABAUD - ENTRAYGUES - AMEY - DAUMAS - ZAMORA et la premiere femme DAUMAS
  • deriere Daumas dans la course nous avons :
    * JEANNE COLLONGE (#38 ) at 2 mins
    * TRISH BLACKWELL (#57) at 2:45
    * LUCIE CROISSANT (#53) at 3:20
    * ALEXANDRA LOUISON (#33) at 4:35
  • Van Lierde's lead is now up to 1:10 on the group.
  • Van Lierde est maintenant leader du groupe par 1min 10
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