Photo: World Triathlon

By Kent Gray/
It seems those in the rowdy French crowd weren’t the only ones wowed by the intimate venue and quick fire format at the inaugural Indoor Triathlon World Cup in Lievin.

“This is a venue I won’t forget,” men’s champion Vetle Bergsvik Thorn said after racing early Sunday NZT which featured heats, semifinals, and finals encompassing 150m of pool swimming and a 3km bike and 1km run around the surrounding indoor track.

“…I think it might have been the craziest crowd at a race I have ever been to. It’s amazing here.”

Silver medallist Vincent Luis concurred after the unforgettable action at Arena Stade Couvert.

“It’s crazy, everyone that’s raced here will have really good memories,” said the two-time former world champion and Tokyo Olympic Games bronze medallist.

“The final felt like I was during the Olympic stadium. It was really great. The people in the north of France, they welcome you warmly and I am happy to be back here.

Thorn Triumphs After Heats Setback
Norwegian Thorn emerged victorious after a thrilling final sprint, overcoming a dramatic first heat where he accidentally biked an extra lap. “It was a long day for me, tough from the get-go,” Thorn admitted.
“I did an extra lap on the bike in the first heat and really had to push the run to get through to the Semis, couldn’t really go much worse than it did to keep that fourth place in the end. Semis was a bit easier, where I could be with the front guys from the get-go. We were five guys together and I knew to be safe I had to put a little bit of effort for the sprint, all the way to the finish.
“Onto the Final, you’re tired after two really hard races. Nobody knows what they have to come with to the Finals, just to be at the front and pushing and going for the win at the end, it feels amazing. What a venue to do it at, I think it might have been the craziest crowd at a race I have ever been to. It’s amazing here,” he said.

Luis Makes Podium Return
French favourite Vincent Luis, returning from injury, secured silver.
“It’s been a while [since his last World Cup podium], it was also a while since the last Continental Cup so 2nd was really good last week.
“This week I feel a bit more like myself, I was really in contention until literally the last couple of metres, I am happy with the result. It’s been a really long time since I worked a World Cup, I think it was 2019 in Banjoles. That was a long time without racing or a podium but I am happy to be back,” Luis said.  
“It will definitely be the last time I will race here, that was a good way to say farewell to the crowd. Thanks again to the club and to the team at Lievin for organising this event.”

Stornes Secures Bronze in Emotional Finish
Casper Stornes (NOR) completed the podium with a strategic last-minute push, earning his first World Cup medal in two years. “It feels amazing. It’s been a rollercoaster these last few years. I am really over the moon to come here and get third place. It’s a bit mixed feelings as I don’t really know if I will get to the Olympics. I was saving myself on the bike and on the last bit of the run [In the Semi-Finals]. I was just hoping the other guys were a bit more tired than me so I could get that advantage, for a longer type of endurance guy but I am glad I could take a podium here,” he said.

Heats Shake Up the Competition
The new format, featuring heats, semis, and finals, kept athletes on their toes. Notably, Hugo Milner (GBR), known for his strong run, was a surprise omission from the semi-finals.

Fast-Paced Finals Keep Athletes on Edge
The final race was a battle of strategy and endurance. Thorn and Mitch Kolkman led out of the swim before a daring move by Leo Fernandez (FRA) on the bike kept things exciting. Ultimately, Thorn’s relentless pace proved too much, securing him the gold medal.

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