By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
The courses for next year’s Paris Olympic Games triathlons have been revealed with the individual races to include a unique, early race stairway to medal heaven.
As anticipated, iconic landmarks including the River Seine, the Champs-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower feature as centrepieces and backdrops to the three separate courses for the individual men’s (July 30), women’s (July 31), mixed relay (August 5) and para races (September 1-2).
A climb of 32 steps to reach T1 after the 1500m swim in the Seine, an Olympic Games first, is a notable feature of the individual races.
All the technically demanding courses, including the floating starting pontoon beneath the start/finish the Pont Alexandre III bridge and a 1000-seat finish chute grandstand, will be trialled during the traditional Olympic test event this August 17-20.
“The course of the triathlon and Para triathlon events in Paris is just everything that we have been dreaming of for years for the family of triathlon.” said World Triathlon President Marisol Casado.
“The heartbeat of the city will echo in the rhythm of the race, as athletes will swim, bike and run right in the heart of the City of Lights. I can only imagine how wonderful it will be to see the best triathletes and para triathletes of the world sprint through the bustling streets, weaving past such historic landmarks and cheered on by a roaring crowd.
“To crown the Olympic and Paralympic champions in one of the most beautiful landscapes of the world will be just amazing. I am sure that the triathlon and Para triathlon races in Paris 2024 will leave an indelible mark on both the athletes and the city itself.”
The successors to Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) and Flora Duffy (BER) as Olympic champions will be found from 8am Paris time when 55 athletes take to the floating pontoon at the base of the Pont Alexander III for the men’s and women’s races on July 30 and July 31 respectively.
After the 1500m swim in the Seine, the triathletes will traverse 32 steps to reach the transition zone on Pont Alexandre III.
The 40km bike course thereafter incorporates seven loops of a 5.715km circuit which passes Le Grand Palais and Le Petit Palais along the Avenue Winston Churchill, before reaching the Champs-Elysées and Avenue Montaigne, crossing the Seine over Pont des Invalides and onto Quai d’Orsay. The course travels onwards to Boulevard Saint-Germain before returning to the banks of the Seine via Rue du Bac and Quai Anatole France and Quai d’Orsay.
The 10km (4 laps of 2.5km) run through the heart of Paris finishes on Pont Alexandre III in front of 1,000 spectators.
Around 18 teams of four triathletes (two women and two men per nation) will compete in the mixed relay on August 5 (also 8am Paris time) in the hope of emulating Great Britain, the champions at Tokyo 2020.
Each athlete will complete a 300m swimming loop in the Seine between Pont Alexandre III and Pont des Invalides, 5.8km of biking (two laps of 2.9km) via Pont Alexandre III, the Champs-Elysées and Avenue Montaigne, Rue François 1er, Place du Canada, Pont des Invalides and Quai d’Orsay. To finish, the athletes will complete their race with a 1.8km run (two 900m laps) between Pont Alexandre III and Pont des Invalides, with some of the most beautiful monuments in Paris as a backdrop.
The Para triathlon events, with a few exceptions, will use the same course as their able-bodies peers at the Paralympic Games triathlon events on September 1-2 where 120 athletes will battle for 11 titles.
Athletes in the PTS2 to PTS5 categories (physical or neurological disability using regular or time trial bikes) will be the first to compete on September 1, followed by athletes in the PTWC (lower limb disability or spinal cord injury requiring the use of a handcycle for the biking part and a sports wheelchair) and PTVI (visual disability) categories on 2nd of September.
They will set off from the floating pontoon at the base of Pont Alexandre III for a 750m swimming loop to Pont des Invalides before returning to the Ports des Invalides and the first transition zone (swim/bike). Then the athletes will take on a 1500m bike course, accessing Quai d’Orsay via a ramp just upstream from Pont de l’Alma before returning to Pont Alexandre III and completing five loops of 3.7km to complete the 20km bike course.
This loop will go along Avenue Winston Churchill, passing in front of Le Grand Palais and Le Petit Palais, Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Avenue Montaigne and Rue François 1er before crossing over the Seine at the Pont des Invalides. They will then reach the second transition zone (bike/run) on Pont Alexandre III, and head back to Port du Gros Caillou before returning via Quai d’Orsay.
The course will also take in Le Cours de la Reine, Pont de la Concorde and Quai d’Orsay, before making two loops and a 180-degree turn on the Boulevard Saint-Germain for a dramatic finish on Pont Alexandre III, completing a 5km race.