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Ironman Vichy 2016 – Analyzing Results

Race Conditions

Similar to last year, IM Vichy was a quick race, especially on the bike. A slow, non-wetsuit swim (more on that in the women’s results) was followed by a very fast bike and a quick run, leading to an overall adjustment of 14:48 and a new course rating of 15:41.

All course records were broken this year: Winners Harry Wiltshire and Catherine Faux posted new overall course records. Ivan Risti and Celine Schärer set new swim course records, Andreas Niedrig and Catherine Faux set new bike course records, and Chris Brader and Lauren Capone set new run course records.

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to expected Prize Money
1 Harry Wiltshire GBR 00:50:24 04:31:33 02:51:04 08:17:14 -21:53 US$ 5000
2 Tim Brydenbach BEL 00:50:25 04:31:22 02:51:41 08:18:34 -06:43 US$ 2750
3 Ivan Risti ITA 00:50:18 04:31:20 02:53:46 08:19:58 -27:38 US$ 1750
4 Trevor Delsaut FRA 00:57:15 04:30:31 02:48:49 08:21:51 -13:12 US$ 1250
5 Christian Brader GER 00:58:22 04:33:20 02:45:37 08:22:43 -17:25 US$ 1000
6 Marc Duelsen GER 00:57:36 04:27:11 02:55:44 08:25:20 02:32 US$ 750
7 Hannes Cool BEL 00:57:44 04:33:05 02:50:55 08:27:54 -28:44  
8 Samuel Huerzeler SUI 00:56:11 04:34:28 02:54:51 08:32:09 -22:54  
9 Tohara Kaito JPN 00:57:44 04:34:26 02:53:59 08:33:17 -18:00  
10 John Manuel Galindo Rooney ESP 00:54:31 04:45:53 03:06:15 08:53:31 -42:11  
11 Mike Schifferle SUI 01:02:37 04:30:33 03:14:46 08:56:27 08:21  
12 Christophe Bastie FRA 00:58:27 04:35:29 03:20:53 09:01:07 18:35  
13 Lucky Berlage BEL 01:05:29 04:36:23 03:10:14 09:01:30 06:38  
14 Andreas Niedrig GER 00:50:32 04:22:29 03:42:49 09:02:37 13:02  
15 Olivier Esser BEL 00:58:32 04:44:20 03:14:21 09:03:47 n/a  
16 Enric Gussinyer ESP 00:54:30 04:41:39 03:27:06 09:11:03 -06:26  
17 Eneko Elosegui ESP 01:03:09 04:41:35 03:22:33 09:13:50 -08:32  
18 Rafael Espinar Puig ESP 01:17:04 05:14:55 03:05:42 09:45:56 25:06  
19 Jens Frommhold GER 01:03:37 04:35:42 04:32:55 10:18:12 1:38:42  
  Kevin Rundstadler FRA 00:52:09 04:36:29   DNF    
  Nicolas Hemet FRA 00:58:21 04:33:21   DNF    
  Rod De Kanel FRA 00:54:27 04:48:13   DNF    
  Frederic Garcia FRA 00:58:29 04:44:18   DNF    
  Lluis Vila aguilar ESP 00:59:55 04:49:08   DNF    

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to expected Prize Money
1 Catherine Faux GBR 01:00:23 04:54:23 03:13:01 09:13:40 n/a US$ 5000
2 Celine Schaerer SUI 00:55:12 04:59:51 03:16:52 09:17:21 -01:03 US$ 2750
3 Kelly Fillnow USA 01:09:12 05:02:54 03:09:45 09:27:56 -19:07 US$ 1750
4 Lauren Capone USA 01:00:28 05:24:07 03:01:19 09:34:06 n/a US$ 1250
5 Keiko Tanaka JPN 00:55:56 05:11:09 03:22:48 09:35:46 -08:33 US$ 1000
6 Brooke Brown CAN 01:06:02 05:05:14 03:20:14 09:38:34 02:33 US$ 750
7 Nicole Woysch GER 01:09:16 05:02:21 03:27:48 09:46:50 -15:46  
8 Sabrina Monmarteau FRA 01:00:32 05:22:03 03:22:20 09:53:16 n/a  
9 Lina-Kristin Schink GER 01:20:26 04:55:44 03:32:10 09:54:13 03:22  
  Angela Kuehnlein GER 01:09:09 05:20:19   DNF    

Not shown in the results is Diana Riesler who was DQ’d after the swim in very dubious circumstances. In line with the Ironman rules (that were re-affirmed in an email before the race) she wore a swim skin over her race suit, that was deemed reason for disqualification by the French officials who were using the French rules for non-wetsuit swim (only one layer of clothes). 

Update on DQ’s During the Swim

In addition to Diana, there were at least four more other Pros who were disqualified (Xavier Torrades, Ludovic Le Guellec, Pierre-Yves Facomprez, and Urs Mueller), though the results don’t show at what point they were qualified and for what infraction. There were also reports of a number of age group athletes who were disqualified for “illegal equipment” during the swim. Here is my best understanding of what happened. (Please note that I have not been on-site, the following is based on a number of Tweets, Emails and posts about the race.)

At the Pro meeting it was announced that the swim would be non-wetsuit because of the water temperature. There was a discussion about what was allowed to be worn in addition to a swimskin. Ironman rules state that a race kit can be worn underneath as long as the race kit (and swimskin) do not extend beyond the elbow or the knee. Contrary to that French rules (that take precedence as Vichy is a French race) require a “one layer only” rule. I haven’t seen the exact wording of the rule but it means that no speed suit would be allowed to be worn over a race kit. In the discussion during the race meeting that was softened/clarified so that underwear would be allowed to be worn under the swimskin. (Apparently that means shorts and also a sports bra for women.) Diana has written that based on this information she would not have worn a speed suit but would have just competed in her race suit.

After the Pro meeting an email was sent out to the Pros. This email included the following “Ruling Update”:

… A textile race kit may be worn underneath swimwear, provided, however, that the textile race kit must not extend past the shoulder and must not extend past the knees.

DianaSwimOutfitBased on this email, Diana decided to use the swimskin after all, see her outfit on the right. 

While this would be perfectly legal in most Ironman races, she was disqualified immediately after the swim. She was completely frustrated as she tried to follow the rules as best as she could with the information provided – as did a number of other athletes. She reports that a number of other athletes that also wore their race suit under the swimskin were not disqualified.

I think that Diana was under the impression that the “one layer rule” had been lifted, but another sentence in the email sent to the Pros could be interpreted that it was still in place:

.. You are permitted to wear your race uniform under your swimskin during the swim portion, provided it is rolled down and is not covering your shoulders and upper arms and nothing is covering your legs below the knee.

This sentence isn’t completely clear – if it is rolled down how can it over the shoulders? Others I have shown this sentence interpreted it in a similar way to the old IM rule: If you have a race kit that covers your upper arms, then it needs to be rolled down for the swim. But based on what happened in the race, I think that this sentence was to highlight that you couldn’t fully “wear” your race kit under the swimskin.

To me, this whole episode highlights the following key points:

  1. While Ironman has made a lot of progress in “unifying” rules for their races, there are still some areas where more work is needed.
  2. While it is always the athlete’s responsibility to know the rules and come to the race with the appropriate clothing, the local rule differences need to be clearly explained in the Pro meeting. Anything unclear should be resolved by the end of the Pro meeting. (Race morning is the worst time to clear these up.)
  3. The application of the rules needs to be uniform, especially in areas where local rules are different.

Any lack of clarity in rules or communication usually has to be shouldered by the athletes – as shown in Vichy where a number of athletes received a DQ without really knowing why. 

2 thoughts on “Ironman Vichy 2016 – Analyzing Results”

  1. Obviously Ironman does not know their own rules. The rule book clearly says:
    When the use of wetsuits is prohibited (see Section 4.03), clothing covering any part of
    the arms below the elbows and clothing covering any of the leg below the knee is deemed illegal and is not permitted during the swim segment of the Race but may be worn after completion of the swim segment; (DSQ)

    (a) Swimwear must be 100% textile material, which is defined as materials consisting of
    natural and/orsynthetic, individual and non‐consolidated yarns used to constitute a fabric
    by weaving, knitting and/or braiding (this generally refers to suits made only from nylon
    or lycra that do not have any rubberized material such as polyurethane or neoprene);
    (b) Swimwear may contain a zipper;
    (c) Sleeves that extend from shoulder to elbow may be worn;  
    (d) Wetsuit (neoprene) shorts/bottoms are prohibited (DSQ);
    (e) Swimwear must not cover the neck, must not extend past the elbow, and must not extend past the knees; (DSQ) and
    (f) A textile race kit may be worn underneath swimwear, provided, however, that the textile race kit must not extend past the elbow and must not extend past the knees. (DSQ)

    Why do they sent out an e-mail, which states differently and is also different from the local rules?
    The local rules are on the website and usually overrules the global ones.

  2. Pingback: Disqualifié à Vichy… mais pour qui le carton rouge ? Partie 2/2 | Les aventures de PYF

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