By Merryn Sherwood on 15/11/11 at 3:07 am
The French team finished their season on a high by almost producing a clean podium sweep in the 2011 Agadir ITU Triathlon African Cup this week.
After winning three out of the last four World Cup titles, the French team took to Morocco to finish their season. A total of seven out of the 18 triathletes on the start lists were French, including Laurent Vidal, Tony Moulai, Vincent Luis, Aurelien Raphael, Jessica Harrison, Carole Peon and Emmie Charayron. Aside from Vidal, who will compete in the Auckland World Cup, it was their final race of the 2011 season.
In the men’s race, Moulai, Luis and Vidal run proved too strong and they crossed the finish line hand in hand.
Moulai said it had been a win for not just him, but the French team.
“We were a bit lost in swimming, and Italians were ahead,” he said. “On the bike, the race course was hard, it was speedy and it was complicated to blow up the pack. We preferred to wait for running away and we stayed at three to the end. This victory is proof of the good cohesion of the French team. We worked so well together; we wanted to do a race that looks like us.”
While he didn’t quite make the podium, Morocco’s own Medhi Essadiq recieved a celebrity reception from his home crowd and returned it with an excellent fourth place, just over a minute down on the French trio who filled the podium. He said he was overwhelmed with the support.
“I am relieved to have finished my race; it was hard on the end,” he said. “The bike course was very difficult and I struggled to run. I had cramps; I trained a lot for this race at home. The public reaction is quite exceptional; it was really motivating for me.”
Essadiq will also compete in Auckland this week, as part of the final Team ITU squad for 2011.
In the women’s race, Peon and Harrison also crossed together, 5 minutes and 30 seconds ahead of Germany’s Rebecca Robisch - who was the only non-French athlete to make the podium in Agadir.
Peon said while both her and Harrison had sore legs, they managed to stick together on the bike and she led out in the windy spots on the run, and was thrilled to finish the year with another podium. “We are happy with our race,’ she said.
Find more details about this event - 2011 Agadir ITU Triathlon African Cup