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Triathlon star claims first big win despite being stung TWICE by a JELLYFISH during race in France

Sven Thalmann overcomes the adversity of being bitten twice on his neck in the sea swim to take the men's title at Challenge Cagnes-sur-Mer.

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Switzerland’s Sven Thalmann claimed an astonishing and record-breaking first pro triathlon victory in France on Saturday – despite twice being stung on his neck by a jellyfish in the swim!

The 24-year-old, whose previous highest finish had been fourth at IRONMAN 70.3 Switzerland earlier this month, led from the start at Challenge Cagnes-sur-Mer in the south of France, but it wasn’t just his rivals he had to battle.

For not long after an early start at Hippodrome beach, Thalmann revealed he was stung twice by a jellyfish – but he overcame that adversity to exit the sea first and never looked back.

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Course record is shattered

The 85km bike course, which included the famous Col de Vence, saw Thalmann’s luck change when France’s Simon Viain – who had moved into the lead – suffered a mechanical and Thalmann took advantage.

He was first into T2 and then established a 42-second lead over Viain early on the run before powering across the finish line in 3:58:53 to shatter the course record by more than 10 minutes.

Sven Thalmann wins Challenge Cagnes sur Mer 2024 photo credit José Luis Hourcade
[Photo credit: José Luis Hourcade]

Jordi Montraveta Moya came through for second, just under a minute behind, with Viain taking third.

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‘Somehow I managed to keep going’

Talking through his trials and tribulations afterwards, Thalmann said: “I got bitten two times by a jellyfish,” pointing to his neck where the scars were clearly still visible.

“But somehow I managed to keep going and it didn’t really affect me.

“Also the bike was really tough and I was suffering quite a lot on the uphill. But after Simon had a mechanical, I was forced to go out on my own and I managed to keep the lead.

“I was fading on the run, but somehow, it was also enjoyable.

“It’s my first podium and first win – that’s more than I could have wished for so I am quite happy now.”

The women’s race also saw a course record, with France’s Aurélia Boulanger making it three wins out of three in 2024 after previous successes at Challenge Cesenatico and Challenge Salou.

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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