Pre-race hype for this year’s Cannes International Triathlon centred around the return to racing of Kona 2014 champ Sebastian Kienle (GER), but it was Italy’s Giulio Molinari who romped home first, while Britain’s Leanda Cave took gold in the women’s race.
The race is quickly building a reputation as one of the most beautiful races on the calendar thanks to its location on the French Riviera, but offers a tough bike that demands strong climbing abilities and descending nous. The long-distance edition involves a 2km swim, 80km bike and 16k run.
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Lining up in the men’s race alongside Kienle and Molinari were Beijing 2008 gold medallist Jan Frodeno, Kona 2005 champ Faris Al Sultan, Romain Guillaume (FRA), Manuel Kueng (SUI) and Bjorn Andersson (SWE).
Frenchman Frederick Belaubre led the men out of the water and once on the bike formed a lead group with Frodeno and Andersson, while Kienle trailed by several minutes. Molinari attacked hard on the bike and arrived in T2 with a 5min lead.
Once on the run Molinari managed to keep Frodeno at bay despite some hard work by the latter, and the Italian crossed the line in 3:46:33 for victory.
Cave’s rivals in the women’s race included defending champ Charlotte Morel (FRA), Denmark’s Michelle Vesterby and Vanessa Raw (GBR). Cave had a slender lead coming out of the 2km two-loop swim and proceeded to build a margin of around 5mins on the tough bike course.
The 2002 Kona champion didn’t let go of her hard-won lead on the run and crossed the line in 4:18:42, with Belgium’s Alexandra Tondeur around 4mins behind. Britain’s former ITU ace Vanessa Raw overtook defending champ Morel on the run for third place.