• The Tempo
  • Posts
  • Grand Succès at the First Ironman World Championships in Nice

Grand Succès at the First Ironman World Championships in Nice

And why you need to bike train like a triathlete!

Good morning everyone,

It was a great weekend for the sport with the very first Ironman World Championships held outside the U.S. It feels like a new and exciting era has begun.

Also a quick reminder that we launched our Tempo Pro membership last week. We’ve only opened it up for 20 people and we’re almost at capacity. If you want our big discount and want to join the soon-to-be best triathlon community anywhere, consider joining Tempo Pro, we’d love to have you.

In today’s edition:

  • 🌍 A new era begins after a succesful non-Kona Ironman World Championships.

  • 🦵 Why you need to train like a triathlete, not a cyclist.

  • 📻 And the intriguing bike industry trends from Nice.

Thanks for being here.

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

Headshot of Matt Sharpe

Have a triathlete in your life who can't stop swimming, biking, or running? Fire this off to them. Forwarded from a friend? Sign-up for free. 


Grand Succès at the First Ironman World Championships in Nice


What is it: This past weekend Nice, France played host to over 2,200 professional and age-group triathletes as they took on the first-ever Ironman World Championships to be held outside the U.S.

  • Importantly, it was also the first of two gender-separated Ironman World Championships as the men took on the hills of the Côte d'Azur.

  • The women will take center stage on October 14 in Kona.

Course features: Unlike the flat, volcanic-rock-lined course in Kona, the bike course in Nice featured a leg-burning 8,000ft of climbing.

  • This was highlighted during the pro race as many athletes struggled up the 18.5km long Col de L’Ecre, which had an average gradient of 5.5%

  • The run was a flat hit-out along the famous Promenade Des Anglais

What one racer said: One of the great things about this newsletter is having so many of you actively participating in races. One subscriber, who raced in Nice, sent in their thoughts about the new format, with glowing reviews.

“The vibe here is good though, Ironman doing a good job and there are plenty side events. It does feel like a Big Ironman, does it feel like the world champs? I am not so sure, but the nerves are starting so maybe it is.”

“The banquet was full yesterday (I did not go but attended the race brief afterwards). The vibe is relaxed but focused I would say. The people and city have certainly welcomed us and accommodation is a fraction of Kona, just about to book that for next year!!”

“All in, am I pleased I took my slot for here, hell yeah.”

Expert opinion: We asked Ironman Champion coach Lance Watson, who was at the event, to share his insights on the new race.

Challenging structure: Watson identified two key parts of the race that he thought were challenging - the bike leg with an hour of non-stop climbing “separated the field and was an absolute non-drafting experience” and the high-speed switchbacks.

Spectator-friendly: Compared to Kona, he thought the race was more spectator-friendly. Said Watson, “The Promenade Des Anglais is an iconic spot for the run course with much more cheering support than the Queen K.” It also helps that it has the infrastructure to handle such a large influx of tourists.

Watson also noted that he spoke to a few athletes who said it was financially easier to attend Nice, and who would otherwise not have been able to race at Kona.

  • The final verdict? Watson rated it five out of five stars, saying “It's an excellent championship course and experience that I hope athletes strive to qualify for.”

Race recap

On a completely new course and conditions, it was unclear how this race would play out. What was certain was that it would be the final IMWC for the greatest male triathlete ever, Jan Frodeno (GER)

Swim: A small group of 11 athletes distanced themselves from the rest of the field over the 3800m swim. Sam Laidlow (FRA) took the early charge, but about halfway through Frodeno and Braden Currie (NZ) would push to the fore.

  • Pre-race favorites Magnus Ditlev (DEN) and Patrick Lange (GER) kept the gap at just over 90 seconds to the leaders.

  • Another favorite, Joe Skipper (GBR), was over five minutes back out of the water, ending his podium hopes.

Bike: This course was a true test of strength and most athletes did not pass. Laidlow and fellow Frenchman Clément Mignon took an early lead as they crested the challenging Col de L’Ecre with over two minutes ahead of athletes like Magnus Ditlev.

  • Early on, it was clear Frodeno wasn’t having a dream day as he lost significant time to the leaders over the ride.

  • Laidlow would end up going it alone and finish the bike over five minutes ahead of the competition.

  • Ditlev was grinding his way up the hills and closer to the front of the race as the bike progressed.

Run: It was Laidlow’s to lose as the race hit the sizzling tarmac of the Promenade des Anglais.

Patrick Lange (GER) was on an absolute tear, and looked to be the only athlete who could catch Laidlow. But even his insane 2:32:41 marathon wasn’t enough to catch Laidlow.

  • Ditlev would hold on to third after a very respectable run.


 🥇 Sam Laidlow (FRA) |🥈 Patrick Lange (GER) | 🥉 Magnus Ditlev (DEN)

Tempo’s take: After almost a year of doubts, uncertainty, and hype, Ironman was vindicated. From the many reports that came in, Nice was an incredible World Championship host. The course was challenging, the organization was smooth, and the locals were happy to have everyone there.

  • The precedent has now been set, the rubicon crossed, and the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. If Nice can host a seamless and outstanding World Championship event, then why can’t Japan, Brazil, or Saudi Arabia?

The pro race was intriguing and, based on the carnage, a worthy course to crown a champion. We’re already burning for the Women’s race next month in Kona.

Do you think it was the right decision to split up the race?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


🚴 Triathlon specific: Triathlon cycling and traditional cycling… definitely aren’t the same thing! So how can you train for the cycling leg of a triathlon? More steady-state riding will help, and a few more tips are included in this insightful article. [Phazon Triathlon]

⚡ Gelmania: Choosing the right gel for training and racing can be tricky. High-carb, natural, unflavored? There are loads of options, and this primer can help you find the right gel for your needs. [Feed Insider]

🔵 Best in bike: Canyon beating Cervelo, Shimano on top as usual, and the rise of rental bikes? It was a year of change for race venues, and bike trends at the Ironman World Championships. [Triathlete]

☃️ Cold vibes: Do you swim in cooler water? You could be at a higher risk for hypothermia. Check out this episode of the TriDoc Podcast to learn how to keep yourself safe as the open water temps get cooler. [TriDoc Podcast]



The age of Canada’s Bob Knuckey, who was the oldest finisher at this weekend’s Men’s Ironman World Championship in Nice. Take a look at Bob’s incredible journey from Cancer survivor to World Champion. [In The Hills]


👏 Supporting vision: This past weekend saw another successful edition of the Susan Bradley Cox Tri for Sight. The event is held to help raise money for eye research at the University of Kentucky. [WKYT]

🙏 Race tragedy: Another athlete sadly passed away during a triathlon as a competitor at this past weekend’s Ironman Wisconsin died after suffering a medical event during the bike portion. [Kenosha News]

💪 Incredible comeback: Ten years ago Cyril del Pistoia found himself in an extremly difficult battle with Leukemia. But after recovering with the help of a bone marrow transplant, he has been able to build himself back to health and this past weekend competed at the Ironman World Championships. [The Times Hub]

💰 Money moves: Athletic Greens, the $1.2B performance nutrition company has become the official global nutrition supplement of Ironman. It’s a clear signal that there isn’t a slowdown in the commercial value of triathlon. [Endurance.biz]

The most exclusive triathlon community?

That’s probably an overstatement. But here at the Tempo, we’re striving to build the most engaged community of dedicated triathletes. And that starts Tempo Pro, our new membership.

A Tempo Pro membership is the key to unlocking the best deep dives on training, nutrition, recovery — you name it. Our members-only newsletter covers it all, with in-depth breakdowns we believe you won’t find anywhere else.

  • Whether you’re a beginning, advanced or world-class racer, you’ll find value in Tempo Pro.

Soon, we’ll be launching a dedicated online community, video calls with performance, nutrition and other experts, and more… We’ve got big plans, and we want you to be a part of it.

Right now we’re only opening up 20 memberships this month. So far, 12 people have joined, so there’s still room for eight more. Join Tempo Pro today and connect with the best in the sport.


Two reels today!

The first is a crazy finish at Challenge Almere.

The second, a relatable mistake when you spill water on your phone and it accidentally orders a new bike 😆🤷


Here is what readers said about whether the number of triathlon deaths surprises them. You can read our exclusive analysis here.

Reader: After doing Ironman Wales last weekend I was shocked at the level of violence in the swim from other participants. I was forcibly elbowed in the face leaving me with black eyes and mild concussion and in a separate incident had my hat ripped off. Other participants have also commented on the brutality of the swim. I think that Ironman needs to make the swim safer for all and should look at staggered starts over a longer period of time and also reframe the language around these events for example ‘Slaying the Dragon’ only encourages this behavior from some people.

Reader: With the increasing notoriety of triathlon and, moreover, Ironman, people might not be as well prepared as they should the same thing happen (maybe not death) in ultra-endurance runs

Reader: Back in the day, Ironman required that a Half-IM be completed PRIOR TO doing a full. Is this requirement still there? Or are we allowing the so-called weekend warriors to sign up (for the $800+ entry fee) without ensuring the required fitness and health levels of the entrants??!!

Reader: Any experienced triathlete will tell you that 20-25% of participants have no business being out in the water. Every triathlon that I do, I constantly swim around people floating on their backs, treading water or hanging on a lifeguard’s paddle board. Some triathlete has talked these people into doing a triathlon saying it’s easy, anyone can do it etc., but in reality triathlons are dangerous. If you have to float on your back during a triathlon, then you aren’t a good enough swimmer to do one.


What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Thanks for reading to the end. If you enjoy the Tempo, we have three things you can do to help our community grow:

  1. Share the Tempo with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Every person you refer will win prizes (coming soon!)

  2. Forward this email

  3. Follow us on Instagram

Join the conversation

or to participate.