Lucy Charles-Barclay announces SHOCK decision to defend her IRONMAN World Championship title in Nice

Lucy Charles-Barclay has announced a major change to her 2024 calendar as she prepares to defend her IRONMAN World Championship title in Nice.

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Lucy Charles-Barclay will kickstart her IRONMAN World Championship campaign next weekend, as the PTO World #3 prepares to validate her slot at IRONMAN France on June 16.

The British star, who won the sport’s biggest long-course prize at the fifth time of asking in Kona last October, had originally committed to the T100 Triathlon World Tour in 2024, and was set to forego the opportunity to defend her title in Nice.

However, announcing the reversal on the brand new IRONMAN Insider podcast, Lucy explained she now feels in a position to defend her title on the Cote d’Azur on September 22.


“There’s no better way”

As the reigning champion, Charles-Barclay only has to finish an IRONMAN event to “validate” her spot at the world championship. To do so in Nice, she said, was a ‘no-brainer’.

VinFast IRONMAN World Championship 2023 - Lucy Charles-Barclay bike aero
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN

“I have decided to race IRONMAN France, which is in a couple of weeks, so I thought I’d come and suss the course before. I’ve been very warmly welcomed to the area. There’s no better way of recceing the World Championship than doing the whole course pretty much in a race simulation.

“To be able to come here, do IRONMAN France and be able to validate for both the IRONMAN World Championship, and the [IRONMAN] 70.3 World Championship in one race, it seemed like an absolute no-brainer.”


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Kona 2025 had been initial LCB plan

For many, it came as a shock when Lucy revealed at the start of the season that she wouldn’t be heading to Nice. Committing to the T100 Tour, she said that “for me defending my title is racing in Kona in 2025.”

Lucy Charles-Barclay IRONMAN World Championship Kona 2023 Tape
Lucy Charles-Barclay finally tasted Kona glory in October 2023 [Photo credit – Getty Images for IRONMAN].

However, a welcome change of heart sees the former IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion feeling “like I am in a position that I can come back and defend that title [in Nice]” as she shared that she is already enjoying the atmosphere in the South of France.

“I already am so happy that I’ve come out here, I’ve been really enjoying the riding and just getting used to the course. I think it was something that initially scared me a little bit, but I’ve always felt like sometimes in life you’ve got to do the things that scare you and that will challenge you and help you to grow not just as an athlete, but as a person.

“I wasn’t sure how well my body would come back to racing after that level of injury so I had to be very cautious, and then I guess my season has got off to a really good start, and that has given me the scope to able to go and race a full [distance] IRONMAN and see how the body goes over that distance, and I guess just remembering that’s what got me into the sport.”


70.3 Worlds the perfect wedding anniversary?

Another topic touched on in the podcast was the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship set for Taupo in December.

Lucy Charles-Barclay Gustav Iden 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champions Lucy Charles-Barclay and Gustav Iden.

Asked if a possible trip to New Zealand could be on the cards, LCB was non-committal, revealing that whilst she would love to go, it clashes with her wedding anniversary.

“It’s actually on my wedding anniversary, so I’ll have to check with Reece, but we’ll just see how the season goes. I’ve never been to New Zealand either so it’s somewhere that I would love to go and visit and race.”

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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