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Challenge Vieux Boucau 2023 preview as Alistair Brownlee faces stellar field

Imogen Simmonds and Alistair Brownlee lead the charge at Challenge Vieux Boucau

Staff Reporter
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Redefining triathlon

This is a preview of the inaugural race – click here to read about dramatic wins for Mathis Margirier and Caroline Pohle.

Challenge Vieux Boucau will mark the end of a Challenge Family triathlon triple header this weekend, and we have stellar pro fields including Alistair Brownlee, Dorian Coninx and Imogen Simmonds among others.

We have already had terrific action provided by back-to-back middle distance races won by Youri Keulen and the aforementioned Simmonds at Challenge Barcelona and Challenge Mallorca.

Lining up in France this weekend, Simmonds returns for her third race in as many weeks, as does double Olympic Champion Brownlee – who picked up back-to-back podiums in Barcelona and Mallorca after his return from ankle surgery.

We have all the information you need on start times and how to track your favourite athletes. Additionally, in our preview of the men and women’s fields, you can find out who to keep an eye out for on race day.

Start times and how to follow live

This weekend’s racing will take place on Saturday October 21. Racing will begin at 10:00 local time. This corresponds to 09:00 in the UK, 04:00 on the East Coast of the United States and 01:00 PST.

For live tracking updates to find out how your favourite athletes are doing on race day, you can click on this link

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Elite Men – Can Brownlee take the top spot? 

Leading the way on home soil in Vieux Boucau is Frenchman Mathis Margirier, who finished second last weekend in Mallorca. He will be chasing his fifth Challenge Family podium of the year, following successes in Gran Canaria, Samorin, Salou and Mallorca. Ranked PTO World #7, the rising star is one of the favourites.

Mathis Margirier wins The Championship 2023 photo credit Challenge Family
[Photo credit: Challenge Family]

Fourth at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in August, Margirier will get the chance to line up against two of the men who kept him off the podium in Finland, as German duo Frederic Funk and Rico Bogen start. Bogen, who didn’t finish in Mallorca last weekend, will be aiming to complete his first race since becoming world champion.

Elsewhere on the start list, Brownlee, who finished second in Barcelona and third in Mallorca, faces stiff competition in France in the fight for another podium.

Dorian Coninx - World Triathlon Championship Finals Pontevedra 2023
Photo Credit: Wagner Araujo / World Triathlon

Finally, Bogen will not be the only world champion in the field, as newly-crowned WTCS World Champion Coninx races over the middle distance for the first time this season. With the swim speed to make the front pack, strong bike skills and a brilliant run, it will be interesting to see how the Olympian holds up.

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Elite Women – Can anyone stop Simmonds?

Having won those back-to-back races in Barcelona and Mallorca, Swiss star Simmonds will be the heavy favourite to take a third successive win in France this weekend, as the PTO World #10 competes for her seventh podium of the season.

Challenge Barcelona 2023 - Photo Credit: Jose Luis Hourcade
Imogen Simmonds extended her winning margin to almost three minutes

Having won by almost three minutes in both Spanish events, Simmonds has yet to be pushed to the line this month and despite some strong competition in Vieux Boucau, is the heavy favourite to be the runaway victor yet again on Saturday.

Home favourite Emilie Morier took a big scalp at the start of the season when she beat Australian Ashleigh Gentle at the Peniscola Infititri, but was way down in 30th place at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in August. Germany’s Caroline Pohle, third in Barcelona, is another podium contender but neither athlete should threaten Simmonds.

From the UK, Lizzie Rayner is among a handful of names who could compete for the podium, as the 26-year-old, who beat Morier last month at IRONMAN 70.3 Knokke-Heist where she finished second, chases a third podium of the season.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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