Norway’s Casper Stornes stormed to victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Nice 2021 on Sunday, while the ageless Nicola Spirig won the women’s race.
Stornes started a clear favourite here with many of the world’s best middle-distance athletes already holed up in St. George, Utah and preparing for their biggest race of 2021. He delivered a terrific performance to win unchallenged.
It was the first IRONMAN 70.3 title for the athlete most closely associated with the World Triathlon Championship Series, but is highly unlikely to be his last.
Spirig meanwhile shows zero signs of slowing at the age of 39, and she was peerless in a classy display to which her rivals had no answer on the Cote d’Azur. As with Stornes, she delivered perfectly on her pre-race favourite status.
PRO Men – Stornes storms home
The 24-year-old Stornes had failed on his bid for IRONMAN glory in Frankfurt last month (something which clearly bristles, he said during an interview on Sunday’s broadcast “I think I would have won but for the nutrition, so the other guys should be happy I lost it”).
He would make no mistake here as he led for most of the morning with a terrific performance to claim top spot on the podium.
Casper exited the water just 10 seconds behind Switzerland’s Sven Oliver Thalmann, and he would quickly take over at front once onto two wheels.
Stornes was flying now and he built a lead of more than four minutes from Frenchman William Mennesson (fourth last weekend at IRONMAN Switzerland) by the time he got off his bike in T2. Just as with training partner Gustav Iden at the World Championship race on this course in 2019, Casper chosen to use his road bike on the challenging terrain of the Col de Vence.
If the Norwegian had been impressive on the bike, he was even more stellar once he had his feet back on the ground for the run. He produced a blistering 1:06:03 to close the show in some style.
Frenchman Dylan Magnien came through on the run to claim second spot almost six minutes behind Stornes, while Britain’s Adam Bowden passed Mennesson in the closing stages to take a fine third thanks to a cracking 1:06:17 run. A great return to the podium for the Brit, after racing in two full distance IRONMAN events earlier this year.
PRO Women – Spirig is super
Spirig was first out of the water in 27:08, which gave her a 22-second lead over Britain’s India Lee. Bad news for the rest of the field with the bike to come next.
Nicola predictably then poured on the power on two wheels, producing a 2:44:38 split to build a lead of just under three minutes to Germany’s Lena Berlinger. As she did in Gran Canaria and Walchsee, it was a road bike too for the London 2012 gold medallist.
The run was a similar story as Spirig padded her lead further to come home more than three minutes in front of Berlinger in second.
Lee meanwhile claimed the final podium spot for Britain, stating post race that after a difficult bike, she “felt like a million dollars” on the run. While her efforts won’t be rewarded to quite that level, hopefully a $4,250 cheque for third place will be very welcome – especially after the frustration of being part of the group that took a wrong turn two weeks ago at The Championship in Samorin.
(After moving to fifth place at the end of the bike leg, it appears that Great Britain’s Ruth Astle didn’t go out onto the run, but we will update in due course if we have further information, as there are a couple of glitches in the live results).
IRONMAN 70.3 Nice 2021 Results
Sunday September 12, 2021
- Casper Stornes (NOR) 4:00:25
- Dylan Magnien (FRA) 4:07:29
- Adam Bowden (GBR) 4:07:48
- William Mennesson (FRA) 4:08:21
- Theo Debard (FRA) 4:09:30
- Nicola Spirig (SUI) 4:36:54
- Lena Berlinger (GER) 4:40:20
- India Lee (GBR) 4:41:17
- Jeanne Collange (FRA) 4:45:43
- Laura Jensen (GER) 4:45:54