Under a radiant July sun the first race got underway this morning with the Super Sprint participants plunging into the water at 10am. After a 250m swim in the 21 Celsius degrees Lac Léman, a 6.7km bike loop ensued and was then followed by a 2.5km run along the shores of the lake.
As hoped for by the organisers, the Super Sprint proved to be the perfect distance for people to do their first triathlon as well as for those who have less time to train: “I did the Short distance two years ago but chose the Super Sprint this year as I had minimal time to train,” said Antoine Fouillet, “It was the perfect way to join in with the festivities this weekend, there’s a great atmosphere and I’m really excited to see the triathlon back up and running in Geneva,” he added.
In the same boat as many other athletes today, French mother of three Sandrine Dall’aglio was taking part in her first ever triathlon: “As it was my first race, my main aim was just to finish,” she said whilst smiling after the finish line, “for me it was great to have a race distance like the Super Sprint as I don’t train regularly, but after this first experience I can definitely see myself signing up for the Short distance next year,” she added.
Next on the start line were the junior racers, aged 6 to 13 with the race distances adapted to each age group. In the same vein as the adults, the young triathletes took the race in their stride and backed up their swim with a bike and run to cross the finish line.
Young Swiss triathlete Adriano Rosamilia, aged 10, came out on top in the Ecoliers 10-11 category and spoke to us after the finish: “This wasn’t my first triathlon but this is one that I particularly enjoyed, the setting is nice and I’m happy to have won.”
A victim of its own success, the Short distance event was sold out well ahead of race day and promised a true spectacle this afternoon. The 700 participants ran into the lake whilst surrounded by a wall of sound created by the spectators lined three or four deep along the Bains des Paquis and shores of the lake. The three waves of athletes covered the 500m-swim course before setting foot back on land to ride three loops of the bike course (total of 20km) and run two loops (total of 5km) of the run course.
Feared by many but loved by all, the climb up the Chemin de l’Impératrice was sure to test many and marked its impression on 2016 World Para-Triathlon Champion Manon Genest: “I enjoyed the swim course, and the bike course as well, I really felt the lactic in my legs on that third ascent up Imperatrice though,” she said, “I’m quite pleased with my result overall, it’s quite a demanding course for a para-triathlete. It was a great learning experience and I think it can only be beneficial for the rest of my season. If I’m free next year I will come back for sure!” she added with a smile on her face.
In golden form all day long, local Swiss triathlete Thomas Huwiler won both the Super Sprint and Short distance overall. Tomorrow he aims to complete the treble and take home the title for the Standard Distance as well.
To close out a spectacular day of racing 50 teams of two athletes took part in the Run&Bike event, alternating running and cycling throughout the 13km course. Swiss athletes Christophe Bontaz and Sébastien Deneef from Grangettes Running Team won the closely fought race: “We’re used to doing Run&Bike events, and this one was quite novel with the two ascents up the Chemin de l’Impératice,” they declared after the finish.
Tomorrow 600 triathletes will take part in the Standard Distance event, starting at 10am for the 1.5km Swim, 40km Bike and 10km run.