Sam Laidlow Captures First IRONMAN World Title on Home Soil

Monday 11 September 2023

History was made on Côte de Azur today, as the first-ever VinFast IRONMAN World Championship to take place in Europe unfolded in Nice, France. It was Sam Laidlow, racing for France, who enjoyed a dominant victory on home soil. Laidlow used a 47:50 swim, a race-best 4:31:28 bike, and a strong 2:41:46 run to improve on his runner-up performance in Kona last year to become the youngest winner of the IRONMAN World Championship in the events 40+ year history.
 
The professional men set out on the two-lap, non-wetsuit swim held in the azure blue water of the Mediterranean Sea with calm conditions. It wasn't long before the field split up into two packs. Braden Currie (NZL) lead the first group, but Sam Laidlow (FRA) got to the front at the first turn and put the pressure on. The leading pack consisted of 10 athletes, German Jan Frodeno soon showed his motivation to not get left behind and chased Laidlow and Gregory Barnaby (ITA) swimming side by side with Currie.
 
The chase group was about 10 to 15 meters behind, with Pieter Heemeryck (BEL), Cameron Wurf (AUS) and Kristian Hogenhaug (DNK) in the front. After the 3.8 km swim, the first out of the water was Matthew Marquard (USA) in 47:46 who closed the gap from behind. He left the water shoulder to shoulder with Currie and Frodeno in second position.
 
Marquardt had a quick transition and was first onto the bike course, followed by Niek Heldoorn (NLD) who quickly took over the lead. On the flat, opening kilometers of the bike course, Laidlow powered to the front, looking strong when chasing Heldoorn on the first climb. Braden Currie (NLZ), Jan Frodeno (DEU), Marquardt and Rudy von Berg (USA)—a half-local who grew up in Cannes and is very familiar with the tough bike course—put the chase on. At 12 km, Clement Mignon (FRA) made an aggressive move to the front and took over the lead. As this course is said to be his training ground, he was in a confident position. But on a course with so many variables, strategy was at play: One move was made by Laidlow as he rode by Mignon. The two locals had some exchanges in the lead on the most challenging part of the course.
 
The two French athletes built their gap to the chase group and at 27 km there was already a one-minute deficit. Currie, Weiss, Barnaby, von Berg and Frodeno tried to keep up, but the gap only got bigger at this very early stage in the race. von Berg also showed that the local knowledge was very powerful, nevertheless, Weiss came up only shortly after him.
 
After finishing the steepest climbs Mignon led the race, but both he and Laidlow seemed to be very aggressive. The gap between them and Ditlev, von Berg and Weiss was now over two minutes.
 
Laidlow, who is said to be a strong technical rider, pushed hard and showed his strengths, eventually outpacing Mignon, who fell back more and more. von Berg, Ditlev and Wurf in the chase pack saw the gap grow constantly with five minutes at 130 km.
 
Laidlow put on an impressive performance on the challenging bike course, with a remarkable 4:31:28 bike split. His chasers came into transition with a huge gap: Rudy von Berg at 5:16 down, Magnus Ditlev at 5:53, Cameron Wurf at 7:17, and Léon Chevalier at 11:05.
 
At the beginning of the marathon, the head and tail winds on the four-loop course along the Promenade des Anglais were very demanding, and the temperatures were heating up as did the race itself. Laidlow started the run strong with a head start of more than five minutes. He demonstrated a fluid style, despite overcoming recent injuries and COVID just three weeks ago.
 
At 3.5 km, Ditlev ran past von Berg and stayed in second position, but von Berg began to fall back kilometer by kilometer. There was big focus on former world champion, Patrick Lange (DEU) who started the run with an almost 13-minute deficit. While Laidlow ran very smoothly, Lange started to increase his pace. At 15 km he'd run into fourth position, but still with a 10-minute gap to Laidlow. He flew by von Berg at 28 km and it became clear that he would take over Ditlev’s position as well. At 34 km, the race got a new second position when Lange caught Ditlev.
 
Laidlow stayed focused and no one was able to catch him. The 24-year-old athlete soared across the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship finish line in 8:06:22.
 
Lange finished second at 8:10:17 with an incredible run split of 2:32:41 the fastest ever in the IRONMAN World Championship. Magnus Ditlev completed the podium in 8:41:07 with von Berg taking fourth and Léon Chevalier, earning fifth.
 
Laidlow said that he had dreamed of this moment his whole life: “I am so grateful. It was a long season. Sometimes it’s just the least you expect. Today I just had great legs. There has never been a French World Champion and I hope that I will be just one of many.”

SWIM/ /BIKE/ /RUN/ /FINISH
1. Sam Laidlow FRA    00:47:50    04:31:28    02:41:46    08:06:22
2. Patrick Lange DEU    00:49:01       04:43:24    02:32:41    08:10:17
3. Magnus Ditlev DNK    00:49:14    04:35:52    02:41:07    08:11:43
4. Rudy von Berg USA    00:47:50    04:37:23    02:42:44    08:12:57
5. Léon Chevalier FRA     00:51:11    04:39:30    02:39:26    08:15:07

IRONMAN Triathlon (Photo: Bartlomiej Zborowski/Activ'Images)


Coming Triathlon Events View all

Stone Brixia Man

Lago d'Iseo / Passo Paradiso, Italy

Website Google Map YouTube

UK Ultimate

Whitchurch, United Kingdom

Website Google Map YouTube

Ch'TriMan

Gravelines, France

Website Google Map YouTube

Laponia Triathlon

Gällivare, Sweden

Website Google Map

Swedeman Xtreme

Östernoren, Sweden

Website Google Map YouTube

Odyssey

St Neots, United Kingdom

Website Google Map YouTube

Challenge Roth

Roth, Germany

Website Google Map YouTube

Altriman

les Angles, Pyrenees, France

Website Google Map YouTube

Kaike triathlon

Yonago, Tottori, Japan

Website Google Map

Ironbourne

Eastbourne, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

Ironman Switzerland

Thun, Switzerland

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Vitoria Gasteiz

Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain

Website Google Map

Ironman Lake Placid

Lake Placid, United States

Website Google Map

Ironman Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Kalmar Sweden

Kalmar, Sweden

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Frankfurt

Frankfurt, Germany

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Tallinn

Tallinn, Estonia

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Canada

Penticton, Canada

Website Google Map

Ironman Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin, United States

Website Google Map

Alpha Win Hudson Valley

Kingston, NY, United States

Website Google Map YouTube

Tinman

Tupper Lake, NY, United States

Website Google Map

CHALLENGE Vansbro

Vansbro, Sweden

Website Google Map

Garmin Iron Tri Skierniewice

Skierniewice, Poland

Website Google Map YouTube

Challenge Cagnes Sur Mer

Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

Website Google Map YouTube

Cardiff Triathlon

Cardiff Wales, United Kingdom

Website Google Map YouTube

Tri Tour El Pont de Suert

El Pont de Suert, Spain

Website Google Map YouTube

Sagelands Half

Osoyoos, BC, United States

Website Google Map

La Tour Geneve

Geneve, Switzerland

Website Google Map YouTube

La Tour Geneve

Geneva, Switzerland

Website Google Map YouTube

70.3 Lahti

Lahti, Finland

Website Google Map YouTube

70.3 Les Sables D Olonne

Les Sables d’Olonne, France

Website Google Map

70.3 Luxembourg

Remich, Luxembourg

Website Google Map YouTube

70.3 Pennsylvania Happy Valley

Penn State University, United States

Website Google Map

70.3 Bolton

Bolton, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

70.3 Ecuador

Manta, Ecuador

Website Google Map

70.3 Jonkoping

Jönköping, Sweden

Website Google Map YouTube

70.3 Muskoka

Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

Website Google Map

70.3 Muncie

Muncie, Indiana, United States

Website Google Map

70.3 Swansea

Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

Triathlon News & Media Blogs View all

IRONMAN Announce New 70.3 Rockford Illinois USA

IRONMAN Announce New 70.3 Rockford Illinois USA

Monday 24 Jun 2024 [Triathlon News]

IRONMAN, the global leader in long-distance triathlon, announced today that it will host its first event in the State of Illinois with the IRONMAN® 70.3® Rockford-Illinois triathlon in 2025, 2026 and 2027. The triathlon is scheduled to debut on Sunday, June 22, 2025, with a swim, bike and run course that will take athletes through Rockford and the countryside north of the city. Located in northern Illinois, Rockford offers a unique blend of outdoor recreation, culture and history that make it more

Sanders & Findlay Lead Canadian Sweep At 70.3 Mont Tremblant

Sanders & Findlay Lead Canadian Sweep At 70.3 Mont Tremblant

Sunday 23 Jun 2024 [Triathlon News]

On a rainy day in Canada’s Laurentian Mountains, the European-style ski village of Mont-Tremblant played host to the IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant triathlon and the ninth stop of the IRONMAN Pro Series™. The race saw a Canadian sweep of the top spot of the podium with Lionel Sanders (CAN) and Paula Findlay (CAN) claiming titles and both earning 2,500 IRONMAN Pro Series points and USD $7,500 in prize money. Sanders and Findlay each earned their second IRONMAN Pro Series victories of the year. more

Derron & Bitados Triumph At CHALLENGE Kaiserwinkl Walchsee

Derron & Bitados Triumph At CHALLENGE Kaiserwinkl Walchsee

Sunday 23 Jun 2024 [Triathlon News]

It was a maiden win for Panagiotis Bitados (GRE) today at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee as he crossed the line in first place in 3:41:42 after a blistering 1:09:24 run. Julie Derron (SUI) took her second win of the year in 4:03:38 with the next race on her schedule, the Olympics in Paris. Despite the low cloud obscuring the mountains, there was no wind and swim conditions were perfect. The women set off first, 10 minutes ahead of the pro men and it was local athlete, more

IRONMAN Pro Series 70.3 Mont Tremblant Start List

IRONMAN Pro Series 70.3 Mont Tremblant Start List

Friday 21 Jun 2024 [Triathlon News]

Top professional triathletes from around the globe will make their way to the Canadian province of Québec to compete at the IRONMAN® 70.3® Mont-Tremblant triathlon when the IRONMAN Pro Series™ returns to North America on Saturday, June 23. The 2024 IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant triathlon will offer professionals a maximum of 2,500 points towards IRONMAN Pro Series standings, a $50,000 event total pro prize purse, more

CHALLENGE Kaiserwinkl Walchsee Pro Preview

CHALLENGE Kaiserwinkl Walchsee Pro Preview

Friday 21 Jun 2024 [Triathlon News]

This Sunday, Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee will take place in the Austrian Alps. Exciting racing is promised in men's and women's races, featuring a deep field of 20 professional women and 44 professional men athletes. This year's Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee boasts a strong German presence in the professional men's field. more

Facebook


YouTube


Sign up for FREE NEWSLETTER:

We will never share your email address or spam you.