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2023 Ironman World Championships Nice Preview

Klemen Suligoj gives us a full breakdown of one of the biggest races of the year


Klemen Suligoj takes us through this weekend’s Ironman World Championships in Nice

Two weeks after the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Lahti, Finland, the World Championship season continues in Nice, France, where professional male triathletes will compete for the Ironman World Champion title.

When? The race starts on Sunday, September 10th at 6:50 am local time (6:50 CET, 0:50 EST, 14:30 AEST).

How to watch? The race will be broadcasted live, for free, on Ironman’s Facebook page and on IronmanTri YouTube channel. You can also follow the race by using the Ironman Ticker.

What's the prize money? The total prize purse is 750,000$. The breakdown is as follows:

  1. $125,000

  2. $65,000

  3. $45,000

  4. $25,000

  5. $20,000

  6. $18,000

  7. $15,000

  8. $13,000

  9. $12,000

  10. $11,000

  11. $8,000

  12. $6,000

  13. $5,000

  14. $4,000

  15. $3,000

What’s the course in Nice like?

Swim: The swim course is a single loop with a double out and back swim. Athletes will swim straight from the shore to the first turnaround point, return almost all the way back to the shore, then do it again, albeit in a different part of the sea, parallel to the first half.

Bike: The bike course is made of one 180.2 km (112 mile) loop. It makes its way directly out of town and through the hinterland of Nice. The course features some challenging climbs and technical descents with elevation gain of approximately 2400 m (8000 ft.).

Run: The run course is flat and consists of 4 loops of approximately 10.5 km each.

Who is racing?

The startlist is as follows: Frodeno Jan (DEU), Lange Patrick (DEU), Laidlow Sam (FRA), Skipper Joe (GBR), Chevalier Leon (FRA), Ditlev Magnus (DNK), Mignon Clement (FRA), Currie Braden (NZL), Chevrot Denis (FRA), Von Berg Rudy (USA), Heemeryck Pieter (BEL), Hogenhaug Kristian (DNK), Weiss Bradley (ZAF), Hanson Matt (USA), Petersen Mathias (DNK), Barnaby Gregory (ITA), Leiferman Chris (USA), Wurf Cameron (AUS), Guilloux Arnaud (FRA), Phillips Mike (NZL), Wilkowiecki Robert (POL), Loeschke Franz (DEU), Heldoorn Niek (NLD), Hoffman Jonas (DEU), Arnold Leonard (DEU), McMahon Brent (CAN), Toldi Fernando (BRA), Grue Kristian (NOR), Feigh Adam (USA), Lopes Andre (BRA), Hammerle Maximilian (AUT), Enzenberger Georg (AUT), Chang Tuan Chun (TWN), Colucci Reinaldo (BRA), Marquardt Matthew (USA), Martinussen Oliver (DNK), Hill Benjamin (AUS), Horseau Arthur (FRA), Conte Remi (FRA), Phillips Ben (NZL), Dortmann Nathan (AUS).

Known DNS: Aernouts Bart (BEL), Salvisberg Andrea (CHE), Baekkegard Daniel (DNK), Svenningsson Rasmus (SWE), Weiss Michael (AUT), Neumann Max (AUS),



Jan Frodeno

The World Championship in Nice will be, as far as we know now, Jan Frodeno’s last championship race. I think there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind about how he wants to end his career: another title of an Ironman World Champion would be a dream scenario for the German, despite the race not taking place in Kona.

The 42-year old German is one of the oldest professionals out there and is much older than most of his fiercest rivals. He admitted his body takes a lot longer to warm up and recover these days, but with diligent care, he was able to return to peak shape and win the PTO US Open.

Since racing in Milwaukee, Jan has been preparing meticulously for Nice. The bike course should suit him given his cycling ability, which he undoubtedly honed in the past weeks. Jan’s marathon form is a bit of a question mark, as he didn’t have his best run performance in Ironman Hamburg earlier this year, but we can be sure he did everything he could to elevate his run to the highest possible level. He said in his interview that he feels like he is in great shape and that he is seeing some of the best numbers of his career. By winning, Frodeno would become the oldest athlete winning the Ironman World Championship title, and from what we’ve seen this season, that does not seem too unrealistic.

Patrick Lange

Patrick Lange is another German athlete everyone should keep their eyes on. He showed a great performance this season in Challenge Roth, where he finished second, behind only Magnus Ditlev. He then went to St. Moritz, where he completed a long training block to prepare for the Ironman World Championship. He tested his form in the Allgau Triathlon at the end of August and came off with a win.

The course in Nice is everything Patrick could hope for. He spends a lot of time training with professional cyclists and has mentioned previously how that benefited him. He is strong going uphill and a swift descender, which will make it very hard for the others to keep up with him. Then, as the running begins, the fun part starts for Lange. A two time 2:30h marathoner is the fastest runner in the field and could potentially gain a couple of minutes against the others.

Joe Skipper

Joe’s season didn’t start well as he DNF’d in Ironman Texas and had mediocre performances in World Triathlon Long distance World Championship and Challenge Geraardsbergen. The 5th place in Challenge Roth is less than Joe expected, but it started an upward trend that peaked with him winning Ironman Lake Placid.

After Lake Placid, Skipper travelled to Font Romeu, where he spent over a month preparing for the World Championship. He teamed up with Jackson Laundry, Mark Dubrick, Matt Hanson and other athletes preparing for the demands of the course in Nice. He is another on the list of athletes that should excel on the bike course and is well capable of running a fast

marathon. He’ll be hoping not to lose too much time on the swim though, as that is his weak spot and could cost him precious minutes versus his rivals.

Sam Laidlow

It’s been a year to forget for Sam Laidlow who’ll be hoping to salvage the 2023 season with a great result in Nice. Between injuries, sickness and moving house, Sam managed to win in Challenge London, but that is not the highlight an athlete the calibre of Sam Laidlow wishes for.

Nobody knows where exactly Sam is with his form and how much fitness he lost because of his illness in Singapore. He has a fair share of experience racing on hilly courses so the race profile should suit him. He’s also one of the best swimmers around, which could allow him to break away early. But we know how much trouble he’s had on the run in the past, so that’s something he should be extra vigilant for. If Laidlow manages to execute a perfect race, we could see him repeat his Kona success; if not, it will be a long day for him.

Magnus Ditlev

In normal circumstances, Magnus would be mentioned as one of the biggest, if not the biggest favourite to win the race. But many athletes and triathlon experts agree that the World Championship course is not one that would suit Magnus too well. He, however, does not agree with that. He said that he studied the course a lot during his 3 week stay in Nice prior to the race and thinks that it’s one for powerful athletes like himself. While he undoubtedly has the power needed for the best bike split, there’s also a question whether his bike handling skills are on the same levels as his rivals’.

If you pair this with his swimming abilities, which still don’t enable him to swim in the front pack and come out of the water in front of the race, we can see Magnus falling behind early and having trouble catching up to the front of the race. This could cause him to overbike and thrash his legs, making him suffer on the run. But even if Magnus does execute the bike well and comes out of T2 in contention, his running still isn’t good enough for him to put the hammer down and run his way to the victory.


Clement Mignon

Clement Mignon might be one of the most overlooked athletes before the World Championship in Nice. Current World Triathlon long distance World Champion, two time winner of Alpe d’Huez triathlon and 9th in last year’s Kona is far from being a triathlon rookie, despite his young age.

Clement is an excellent triathlete, who especially excels on the bike and on the run. He has been living in Nice for 3 years now, he knows the course very well and took advantage of it in June, when he won Ironman France on a course almost identical to the one in Nice. He raced in the PTO US and Canadian Open, Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Championships, but lacked that extra power that would put him in contention for top spots. Now, a course that suits him and a home field advantage could be the factors that lift him to World Championship success.

Cameron Wurf

Cam Wurf is a former Olympic rower, who then became a professional cyclist, switched to triathlon and is now somehow combining both. Not only is he cycling for one of the best teams in the world, INEOS Grenadiers, in the toughest cycling races on the planet, he’s one of the best triathletes as well. He finished 5th in Ironman South Africa, grabbed his Nice ticket with a 2nd place in Ironman Austria, then raced Ironman France just a week later and finished 4th.

He raced Ironman France because he was on his way from Austria to Andorra and decided to stop in Nice ” to have a few days at the beach & break up the trip”. He had all the gear with him, so he thought “why not?” and treated the race as a “ fully catered race course recon for the World Championships”. With the course successfully reconned and with his cycling ability, many see Wurf as one of the favourites for the win. This is one of only a few triathlon races Cam specifically prepared for, which also plays into his favour. He’s not the best runner in the field, but given how hard the bike course is, that might not be as much of a weakness as in other races.

Braden Currie

Ranked 50th in the World, 37-year old New Zealander seems to be flying under the radar despite showing some great performances in the last couple of years. He won Ironman Cairns in June with a fantastic time of 7:50. He also finished 3rd in last year’s Ironman World Championship in St. George.

Braden has spent a lot of time doing mountain biking, adventure racing and XTERRA, which means he’ll be relishing the technical descents and climbs. He has been preparing specifically for the demands of the event in Nice, first in St. Moritz and then in Nice, where he rode the bike course numerous times. Expect Braden to play a role in this race and don’t be surprised if you see him finish up in front.

Leon Chevalier

Leon is one of many French athletes hoping for success on home soil. He firmly established himself in the triathlon world by finishing 6th and 7th in last year’s World Championships in St. George and Kona. He also successfully competed in some of the world's hardest triathlons, having won the Embrunman and Alpe d’Huez triathlon.

After last year’s results in the World Championships, Leon said he was surprised by his performances, as he didn’t have the best preparation leading up to races as some of the other athletes. He is much more focused on Nice and said that the course should suit him. Given his abilities and home field advantage, I consider Leon to be one of the favourites for the podium places.

Rudy von Berg

Having grown up near Cannes on the French Riviera, Rudy Von Berg excels in the twisty, technical terrain that lies ahead of the athletes in Nice. Rudy won the Ironman 70.3 Nice race in 2018 by almost six minutes and ran his way to 3rd place on the Promenade des Anglais, where he had spent much of his youth, in the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice. But his success on French soil doesn’t end there, as he also won Ironman France in 2022.

Rudy saw his 2023 season derailed when a car driver turned into him during a training ride on the World Championship course in early June. He suffered a fractured clavicle and broken finger and missed 3 weeks of swimming, 18 days of running and 10 days of cycling. He posted an update in mid July saying the recovery has been going well and that all his focus has shifted to racing in Nice in 7 weeks.

He admitted injury has taken quite a lot of fitness from him, but he has been feeling race ready for the last 2-3 weeks. It does however seem that he doesn’t fancy his chances too much. He said his base goal is top 10 and that he could get into top 5 with a perfect race. We know Rudy is a fantastic athlete who is more than capable of achieving a great result. Knowing the course like the back of his hand and having the ability to navigate it quickly and efficiently puts him on the list of favourites for top spots. If he is in peak shape, of course.

Denis Chevrot
Denis rarely gets mentioned in the lead up to Ironman World Championship in Nice, but I think he could be one to watch out for in his home race.

The 35-year old Frenchman recently surprised many with his 4th place finish in the PTO Asian Open, but this is not his first noticeable result. He won Ironman Hamburg this year, beating athletes like Heemeryck, Hogenhaug and Frodeno, to name just a few. He had the fastest run split of the day with a blistering 2:31. He previously won Ironman Frankfurt and Ironman Austria and finished 14th in last year’s Kona. He is known for his fast running as he ran 5 sub 2:40h marathons in his last 6 full distance races (2021-2023), Kona being an exception. He is not a bad cyclist either and with home field advantage, he shouldn’t be written off or forgotten.


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