Geneva celebrates the return of sporting events in style and becomes the new Swiss capital of triathlon
La Tour Geneva Triathlon 2021 in brief:
- La Tour Geneva Triathlon becomes the biggest triathlon in Switzerland with more than 3,500 registered participants
- The whole of Geneva vibrates to the rhythm of the triathlon as the city welcomes its return
- The new location and the new courses on the left bank delighted the hearts, arms and legs of the participants
- Tom Hug snatched the victory from Thomas Huwiler, ambassador of the event and winner of the last edition, on the Half Distance
- More than CHF 10,000 in donations collected for the UNHCR
The 31st edition of the La Tour Geneva Triathlon saw its participation record explode this weekend, 18-19 September, to become the largest triathlon in Switzerland.
The event made a glorious return after the 2020 edition was cancelled, with 3,523 registrants creating an electric atmosphere. From the youngest to the oldest, from novices to experts, with or without disabilities, there was a challenge for everyone across the 7 race formats offered. With more demand for places that spaces available, La Tour Geneva Triathlon, which has grown year-on-year, had to close several races before the event.
The new Eaux-Vives beach, the epicentre of the event, has become an instant success amongst participants. “It’s much bigger and gives us more space. For swimming it’s great to have a real sandy beach and the location is really nice,” commented the members of the Lazy Boys Track Club team. Indeed, the new location made it possible to accommodate a larger number of participants while respecting the sanitary measures in force.
In an idyllic setting, the triathletes swam in open water in Lake Geneva, cycled on closed roads before finishing with a run in front of the famous Jet d’eau. The Australian exit in both the Half and Standard/Olympic formats, provided a fabulous spectacle for the fans.
A TRIUMPHANT edition
In this majestic environment and with the sun shining, the races started on Saturday morning under the encouragement of the administrative councillor of the City of Geneva in charge of the Department of Security and Sports, Marie Barbey-Chappuis. “I admire the triathletes involved in this weekend’s events, which are the culmination of many hours of training for all of them. The City of Geneva is very happy to support this event which brings together a large public in a magnificent setting and which contributes to the influence of our city well beyond the cantonal borders.”
The day started with one of the most popular formats, the Standard/Olympic, which saw Frenchman Ludovic Roussel set the Geneva ground alight in 1h57’51. The best woman, Tina In-Albun from Basel, won the event in 2h18’18.
In the afternoon, the best, young Swiss talents, aged 14-15, participated in the final of the Swiss Triathlon Youth League circuit. This fifth and last round was brilliantly won by the Swiss Bastian Widmer and the German Jara Banka.
And to end the day on Saturday in beauty, the Olympic medallist Jérémy Desplanches honoured the event with his presence by taking part in the Relay Short. He started the swim with a bang and then passed the baton to his teammates, who have been friends for many years. His team ‘Like old times’ finished in 4th place taking the chocolate medal. “The main thing was to have fun. It’s great to see such a sporty Geneva with so many people involved,” commented Desplanches. The two victories in the individual Short were won by Hugo Arrachart and Alana Bortoli from France.
Tom versus Thomas
On Sunday morning at dawn, many participants set off on the queen distance, the Half. Tom Hug from Geneva managed to dethrone the godfather of the event and defending champion Thomas Huwiler, by taking the first place in 3h22’14. After a very close race between the two colleagues from the Geneva triathlon club, Tom managed to keep his first place from the swim to the finish line. The new champion said: “I really enjoyed the race. It was my first Half format. Despite the weather, there was a lot of encouragement, they were great. I thank the organisation, the public and Geneva. I am very happy.”
The former title holder looked back on his race experience: “It was a very nice race, great organisation. It was great to be able to change sides and discover this new body of water and these new courses. On a personal level, I am disappointed because I had the objective of winning. I knew it was going to be difficult against Tom who is very talented and who was doing his first half. In the run I tried to come back but I suffered at the end. I think I had a good race and I put all my soul into it, but it wasn’t enough. I think it’s wonderful to see talents like Tom emerging here in Geneva.”
In the women’s race, Sarah Thoeni from Switzerland took victory over Lydia Steinbach in 4h38’23.
During the Half, the younger triathletes also had their moment of glory with two aquathlons organised and a dedicated changing park to be ‘like the grown-ups’.
The event concluded with the Discovery format, an opportunity to test oneself in the discipline. The Swiss Luna Sommerfeld and Vincent Steiger stood out by taking first place.
Reunion and solidarity
The need to get together and support each other was also felt throughout the weekend. In particular, the volunteers were thrilled to be able to be part of the unique atmosphere of a sporting event: “Thank you for everything! The welcome, the volunteers, everything was great. It’s great to be so well looked after,” commented volunteer Gaëlle Menoud with enthusiasm.
A spirit of camaraderie and solidarity reigned throughout the weekend. This generosity was illustrated by the collection of more than 10,000 CHF in donations for the UNHCR, the event charity partner, in favour of refugees.
The big Triathlon family
This year, the Hôpital de La Tour is once again delighted to support the event: “This year, in addition to the tent dedicated to physiotherapy, we have a medical-sports area in the heart of the village to be closer to the participants. The aim is to share the expertise of the sports medicine department of the Hôpital de La Tour through advice and discussions. We are proud to be the Title Partner of the event, once again, and congratulate all the triathletes for their race,” said Dr Boris Gojanovic, sport doctor at the Hôpital de La Tour.
Representing the organisers, Eric Monnot, President of the Geneva Triathlon Association, declared: “We are delighted to have been able to give back to Geneva its triathlon and to have made the city vibrate around this beautiful celebration of triple effort. As a bonus this year, a return to the roots, on the left bank, which moves me and gives the event a new lease of life.”
Benjamin Chandelier, Director of the event, concluded the event with words of thanks to all those who made it possible: “It is with joy and pride that we close this 31st edition, which has broken new participation records. I would like to congratulate all the participants of the weekend for their exploits. It is thanks to you that the event is now the biggest triathlon in Switzerland. On behalf of the organising committee, I would also like to thank our Title Partner L’Hôpital de La Tour and all our partners who support us. A big thank you to the competent authorities and administrations of the City and Canton of Geneva for their support and for allowing us to organise the event in such good conditions. And finally, a huge thank you to all our volunteers for their precious help and without whom the event could not take place.”