France can celebrate because Clement Mignon and Marjolaine Pierre, both French and a lovely couple, have just won the World Championship Long Distance at Ibiza. The race covered the extraordinary distance of 3 kilometers of swimming, 116 kilometers of cycling and 29 kilometers of running and produced an exciting battle.
In the men’s race, Mignon was actually nicely in the front all day: the swim was still led by Richard Varga, but when the Slovak ran to T1 after 35:40 minutes, he was followed at 33 seconds by Mignon, who in turn was eighth at that point. On the bike, a small leading group quickly formed with Rico Bogen and Antonio Benito Lopez in addition to Mignon, while a larger chasing group formed minutes behind.
Still, things changed quite a bit during the final kilometers on the bike; Benito Lopez had to let his two co-leaders go and at the same time the chasing group fell apart. Bogen and Mignon came back into T2 at the same time and were then followed by Benito Lopez at 2:38 minutes and, again, fairly close behind them followed men like Varga, Matt Trautman, Tristan Olij and Josh Amberger, among others.
During the run, Bogen initially took the lead and the chasers also got closer. Indeed; Bogen fell away at one point and then it was the strong forward Benito Lopez who had taken over the lead and grabbed a minute lead over Mignon, who was still running second. Only in the very last kilometers did Mignon manage to turn his deficit into a lead and thus win the race: he did so in 5:17:17. Only 32 seconds later, Benito Lopez finished second. At 2:35 minutes behind, Trautman was third.
Women’s race: outstanding Pierre
In the women’s race, only one lady was dominant: Marjolaine Pierre. The young athlete was slightly behind after the swim – half a minute – but found herself in a large leading group during the bike ride. There she encountered such favorites as Sara Svensk, Ruth Astle, Svenja Thoes and Camilla Pedersen, among others. Yet Pierre didn’t see fit to join these women, so she took off solo. With success, because when she was allowed to put her bike away in T2, she had a lead of 3:29 minutes over Astle and 6:31 minutes over Svensk. The fourth woman, Pedersen, was more than 10 minutes behind by then.
While the run was a real battleground – Astle soon dropped out and Pedersen didn’t make the podium either – Pierre was nowhere in danger. She ran exceptionally strong and only saw her lead increase. Ultimately, she won the race in 5:53:35. Svensk finished second +8:35 minutes behind Pierre. Bronze medal was for Gurutze Frades Larralde, who finished +13:13 minutes behind Pierre.