The Challenge Family keeps on growing! The series organisers have announced that they will introduce long course racing to France next year with the debut of Challenge Vichy on 21 August 2011.
The race will be staged over a 3.8K swim/180K cycle/42.2K run in the Auvergne region in central France, based at the Centre Omnisport Pierre Coulon along the Lac d’Allier. It will replace the half-distance Challenge France staged at Niederbronn-les-Bains’ to respond to athlete demand for a long-distance Challenge race in France.’
“We are really pleased to offer a long-distance option for athletes in France,” said Challenge Family CEO Felix Walchshöfer. “Challenge France in Niederbronn-les-Bains was a great event for us, and we are grateful to the team for organising it for us in recent years.”
The race in Vichy will be organised by former professional triathlete Gael Mainard, who retired from the sport in 2006 after finishing 2nd and 3rd in the French national championship and with top finishes in many international long-course triathlons.
“We are very excited to join the Challenge family of races and to be able to offer athletes a chance to race in the beautiful Vichy region,” Mainard said.
“With Vichy and the Omnisport center known for its excellent training facilities, we know the needs of athletes will be catered to here. But we also know people will enjoy the scenic course and the beauty of our region, so we hope they set aside a few days for a holiday!”
The swim will be staged in the Lac d’Allier, a 2.5K-long lake that will allow spectators to follow their athletes throughout the course.
The two-lap bike course is largely flat, with a few small climbs in the Allier and Puy-de-Dôme departments, with sights that include France’s only volcanoes (the Volcans d’Auvergne) and the Randan forest. The flat four-lap run course will go through the parks of Vichy and along the Allier River.
The finish line, transition area, pasta party, expo and swim race will based at the lake, allowing for a central location for all major athlete activities. And when the racing is finished, athletes can recover by visiting the various mineral springs in the region or savouring some of the region’s most famous cheeses, including cantal, bleu d’auvergne and saint-nectaire.
Registration will open today with the field size limited to 2000. Entry fees will be €300 for individuals and €400 for relay teams.