The top-ranked male athlete showed his class on debut over the distance on Sunday at IRONMAN France, while the new women’s champion in Nice put on a terrific cycling and running demonstration for a massive margin of victory.
Nice and the Promenade des Anglais on the Côte d’Azur saw the full-distance debut of Rudy Von Berg on Sunday. While he represents the USA, the country of his birth, Von Berg grew up in the south of France as he explained to us in an extended interview earlier this year.
Having secured a memorable bronze medal at the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, there was never going to be anywhere else but Nice for his IRONMAN debut.
Rudy duly led through the opening swim before being joined later on the bike leg by William Mennesson (FRA), winner last month of IRONMAN 70.3 Mallorca. A previous winner of Embrunman too, Mennesson, like Von Berg, will have been very happy in the hills of the Alpes Maritimes.
Mennesson led off the bike by a minute with everyone else basically in a different post code, with third-placed Matteo Fontana (ITA) was more than 16 minutes adrift.
A fast transition all but eliminated the Mennesson advantage, and for the first 25km the duo were never separated by more than a minute. Von Berg was able to pick it up in the final third of the race and with a 2:48:33 marathon, take the expected debut victory and the one Kona slot on offer.
PRO Women – Thoes in total control
Manon Genet (FRA) was first back to the beach after a 55:24 swim, followed 2:24 later by a quintet of Jeanne Collange (FRA), Svenja Thoes (GER), Gabriella Zelinka (HUN), Federica de Nicola (ITA) and Alexandra Tondeur (BEL).
Genet maintained the lead until around the halfway mark on the bike, when she was joined by Thoes, who had won last month at Challenge Malta. From then on, the race changed shape totally as Thoes pushed on to build a whopping advantage of almost nine minutes over Genet by T2, with De Nicola and Tondeur down by a quarter of an hour.
There would be no change on the run, indeed the Thoes domination extended further. Closing with a 3:01:34 marathon, her winning margin was a huge 23 minutes as Genet faded out of contention, leaving Tondeur (3:03:50 marathon) to take a distant second and Zelinka to round out the podium three minutes later.
In taking the win, Thoes adds to a previous full-distance win at IRONMAN Cozumel in 2018. She will have first option on the one Kona qualifying slot on offer for her efforts – and a winning cheque of $12,000.
IRONMAN France, Nice results 2022
Sunday 26 June 2022 – 3.8km / 180km / 42.2km
1. Rudy Von Berg (USA) – 8:24:262.William Mennesson (FRA) – 8:27:423. Arthur Horseau (FRA) – 8:35:064. Thomas Navarro (FRA) – 8:42:055. Jaroslav Kovacic (SLO) – 8:44:31
1. Svenja Thoes (GER) – 9:18:482. Alexandra Tondeur (BEL) – 9:42:173. Gabriella Zelinka (HUN) – 9:45:154. 5.
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