France’s Leon Chevalier and Chile’s Barbara Riveros won their long-course ‘L’ races at the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon in dominant fashion on Thursday.
Chevalier took the men’s honours by almost 18 minutes on one of France’s most iconic peaks, while Riveros was more than eight minutes ahead of her nearest rival.
However, American Sam Long, who had been among the pre-race favourites, pulled out after the bike leg.
Cruise control for Chevalier
Chevalier was around two minutes adrift of the leaders as he exited the swim, clocking 44:55 to eventual runner-up and compatriot Simon Viain’s 42:53.
But he took control on the bike leg, registering 3:52:49, with no other rider breaking the four-hour barrier.
Alpe d’Huez is one of the Tour de France’s most celebrated climbs and this year saw INEOS Grenadier Tom Pidcock claim a spectacular victory on its punishing slopes.
A closing run of 1:15:18 brought Chevalier home in 5:41:13, with Viain recording 5:59:11 and Spain’s Albert Moreno Molins third in 6:01:37.
Mountain to climb for Long
Long recorded splits of 43:58 and 4:05:33 before pulling out, massively undone by his bike set up as he explained afterwards on social media: “A DNF for me today but also history was made: I think the first time ever up Alpe d’Huez with a 54-33 as my easiest gear.
“I was very worried about this 1x set up for the last few weeks and did everything I could to get a different gearing and lose weight. Alas it fell short.
“That destroyed my legs and then a 5 minute penalty from transition 1 destroyed my mind (I was told after the bike).
“All in all, though, quite a positive experience and a great race day! This race kicks ass! Congrats Leon Chevalier for the W and to all the finishers today!”
Asked why he wasn’t able to change the gearing, he added: “I tried. Trust me. Covid supply issues are a real problem. Or course could say should have installed it before I left the States… but I wasn’t planning on doing this race.”
Riveros clocked 30:11 for the shorter women’s swim and a strong bike leg of 4:33:00 gave her a big advantage.
She finished with a 1:28:24 run for a total time of 6:35:00.
Germany’s Svenja Toes was second in 6:43:39 after splits of 33:27, 4:40:50 and 1:25:46, while France’s Alexandra Tondeur finished third in 6:55:08.