Frederik Van Lierde was in a class of his own for much of the race, leading the men out of the water (47:22), alongside Anthony Pannier (47:22) and Axel Zeebroek (47:24). Paul Amey was fourth out of the wet stuff (48:46).
Van Lierde, who had been hoping to take on Armstrong out on the tough bike course, was simply too good on two wheels. Admittedly, for the first third of the bike he was shadowed by Zeebroek and Pannier, but while he was cruising the others were pushing. Zeebroek was the first to crack, and at the halfway point Van Lierde made the move that broke Pannier. Between 90 and 100km Van Lierde managed to open up a 2:20 gap over the Frenchman, and by 118km that gap had opened out to 6:54. It was, in short, a masterclass.
Needless to say, Van Lerde’s 4:35:42 was not only the race best, but broke the course record by some six minutes. He was almost ten minutes ahead coming out of T2, and never looked troubled on the run.
Behind him, though, things were getting interesting. Paul Amey’s 5:47:48 bike left him too big a mountain to climb to catch Van Lierde, but he was moving smoothly through the field. By the midway point of the marathon he had run from fourth to second, and closed the gap to Van Lierde to a little over 20 minutes.
Nobody was about to catch him at that pace. Just as nobody would catch Van Lierde today. A 2:53:18 marathon sealed Van Lerde’s win – and the course record – in 8:21:50. Amey was second (8:42:48) with Francois Chabaud third (8:45:53).
The Women’s Race
It was a solid pro field that entered the water in Nice, and one of the favourites for the win who exited it first. Gina Crawford (52:10) led Anne Basso (55:18) and Tine Deckers (57:18) into transition, and throughout the early stages of the bike.
But Deckers was hungry. While Crawford managed to keep her at bay for the first half of the bike, the gap grew smaller and smaller until Deckers finally took the lead around 118km. Crawford hung tough, staying with the Belgian for as long as she could, before dropping off her wheel in the second third of the bike. But Deckers kept on pushing, and eventually Crawford cracked. A 5:10:03 bike split gave her more than five minutes on Crawford, although Crawford was the quicker runner.
Not today. Deckers immediately started pushing on the run. A 43:12 over the first of the four-loop course had her on track for a sub-3 marathon – and gave her more than seven minutes on Crawford. Behind the pair Kristin Moller was making a move throughout he field, but she was too far back to catch either of the front two. In the end, Deckers’ 3:02:31 marathon saw her cross the line in 9:16:05, more than ten minutes ahead of Crawford (9:26:25), with Moller third (9:37:07).
Top 5 Men
1. Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 8:21:51
2. Paul Amey (GBR) 8:42:48
3. Francois Chabaud (FRA) 8:45:23
4. Bruno Clerbout (BEL) 8:46:54
5. Sergio Marques (POR) 8:48:55
Top 5 Women
1. Tine Deckers (BEL) 9:16:05
2. Gina Crawford (NZL) 9:26:25
3. Kristin Moller (GER) 9:37:07
4. Tamara Kozulina (UKR) 9:47:34
5. Martina Dogana (ITA) 9:55:09
FILED UNDER: News / Race Results TAGS: About / Bruno-Clerbout / France / Francois-Chabaud / Frederik-Van-Lierde / Gina-Crawford / Ironman / Kristin-Moller / Martina-Dogana / Nice / Paul-Amey / report / Results / Sergio-Marques / Tamara-Kozulina / Tine-Deckers