Triathlon and para-triathlon: things are looking good for 2024!

Thursday, 24 august 2023

The triathlon and para-triathlon Test Event in the heart of Paris, a dress rehearsal for Paris 2024, was an eagerly awaited fixture. The athletes supported by Groupe BPCE left the competition delighted and galvanized for the coming months.

An incredible atmosphere

The triathlon and para-triathlon test events were held from August 17 to 20, a dress rehearsal for the Olympic & Paralympic Games Paris 2024. Although the waters of the Seine are now flowing smoothly again, there’s every reason to believe that these triathlon disciplines will be some of the key highlights of Paris 2024. The sight of these athletes massing on Pont Alexandre III and racing through Paris via the Invalides and the Grand Palais… generated an abundance of exceptional images and stirred strong emotions. The event also enabled the French triathlon and para-triathlon team competing in the grandiose setting of Paris to show off their enormous potential, with the promise of even better things to come in 2024!

Many of the athletes supported by Groupe BPCE enjoyed a brilliant Test Event or gave highly promising performances. For example, Léo Bergère, supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Côte d’Azur, finished 4th in an extremely closely fought final that ended with a sprint for the podium. The reigning world champion also gave an outstanding performance in the relay race, in which France, unfortunately, came just short of winning a medal. Léo is consequently right on target as he prepares for Paris 2024, determined to focus particularly on his swimming and running. This test event enabled him to swim in real-life conditions and gauge his progress. 

Although it was possible to hold the men’s and women’s triathlon events in their entirety, subsequent analyses of the Seine water forced the organizers to cancel the swimming event for the para-triathlon. The competition consequently became a duathlon, a decision that severely penalized Jules Ribstein, a triple world champion supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Grand Est Europe, who only managed to come in 4th in the PTS2 category. Despite the cancellation of this part of the event, all the competitors were delighted with the outstanding atmosphere along the cycling and running routes and the chorus of cheers urging them on as they passed… all the more reason to look forward to next year! 

A demanding route

In the PTVI category, Anouck Curzillat, supported by Caisse d’Epargne Rhône Alpes, finished 2nd in her race. “It’s a fine result,” she told the L’Equipe TV sports channel, “but we’re going to work hard and do even better.” And she spoke of the experience gained in this event. “It was important to get our bearings to enable us to perform well and boost our confidence for the competition next year…” said the athlete accompanied by her guide Julie Marano. 

Héloïse Courvoisier, supported by BRED Banque Populaire, finished 6th in the same race: “Considering that I live in Paris, running here really means something to me…” she said. Competing in the PTS5 category, Gwladys Lemoussu, supported by Banque Populaire Grand Ouest and bronze medalist in Rio, came in 5th place in the Paris event. “I gave it my all,” she explained at the finish. “It was simply magnificent. At every passage, I could hear people shouting my name, it sent shivers down my spine… We’re a year away from Paris 2024, but I’ve still got some progress to make… This will make the party even better!”

Michael Herter, supported by Banque Populaire Alsace Lorraine Champagne and competing in the PTS3 category, similarly came in 5th place. In the PTVI category, Thibaut Rigaudeau, supported by the Banque Populaire Foundation, unfortunately had a couple of mechanical problems which left him unable to defend his chances (6th). Mona Francis, supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Bretagne Pays de Loire, also came 6th in the PTWC category.

Whatever the vagaries of the race, it enabled each athlete and para-athlete to get a feel for the route – which they were unanimous in calling demanding – and to enjoy a foretaste of this immense future sporting event. They all went back to their training even more eager and fired up to do well. Now they can put actual sights and sounds to what awaits them…