30/6/2019: With an impressive second-place finish in today’s Ironman France, Tine came thisclose to a record-setting sixth victory in Nice. Despite a shortened course, the race was incredibly tough. In the end, Carrie Lester (8:05:20) took the win. With a final time of 8:09:18, Tine crossed the finish line just four minutes after the Australian. Manon Genet (France; 8:14:01) completed the podium.

 

Tine had traveled to Nice with the goal of becoming the first to win Ironman France six times. Even before the start, the heat put a wrinkle in those plans. Due to the dangerously high temperature and the air pollution in Nice, the race was shortened to a 152-kilometer bike leg (instead of 180) and a 30-kilometer run (instead of a full marathon). The 3.8 km swim remained unchanged. A bummer for Tine, because the swim happens to be her lesser discipline. Today though, her swimming was strong. She came out of the water in fourth position, 4:30 from behind Lester. In the bike leg, Tine quickly moved up to the second position. Until halfway through the bike leg, Lester was able to extend her lead to seven minutes.  But in the second half, Tine worked her back steadily. That meant she could start the quarter marathon just three minutes behind Lester. In the stifling heat, Tine ran an excellent 30k. However, Lester was the stronger runner today. While she ran her way to the title, Tine maintained a controlled pace to safeguard her second-place finish.

 

No sixth Ironman France victory. Still, Tine was not disappointed: “Carrie Lester is a world-class triathlete who finishes in the top-10 in Hawaii. And today she was just better. But I raced strong and made her work for it. I showed that I still belong on that podium at the age of 41. Also, it just feels so good to be able to go for the top spots again after my fall on the bike made for a frustrating spring.” Tine was not dissatisfied after the race, just very weary. “I have trained a lot here the last few months, but I had forgotten how tough this race is. And of course the heat played a huge role. The decision to shorten the race was absolutely justified. When you descend from the mountains at the end of the bike leg, the heat just slaps you in the face. It makes you so miserable even before you start running. My feet were on fire and the air pollution affected my airways.” Still, the race left Tine with a few encouraging conclusions going into the Embrunman, her next big goal in August: “My swimming was good in Geraardsbergen and I brought that form with me to Nice. And my running is strong too. I do feel there is room for improvement on the bike though. Today was not bad, but I also wasn’t my best yet. I certainly want to bring that in the Embrunman.”