The Olympic test event: an ‘utmost important firsthand look’ for Team BMC’s triathletes
Aug 18, 2023
The most significant sports event is beginning to draw near. The Olympic Games, scheduled to take place in Paris next year, are on the minds of all world-class triathletes, including those sponsored by BMC. This week, the athletes had gathered in Paris for the Olympic test event. "It's a fantastic opportunity to simulate the most crucial race day of 2024."
The test event holds significant importance, according to BMC-sponsored triathlete Richard Murray. The Dutch athlete highlights the wealth of valuable insights that can be gained for the actual competition in 2024. "Having the chance to experience the courses firsthand is very interesting and very meaningful," Murray comments.
Murray sees this racing week as a preparation phase to learn from. "I'm planning to adopt a similar preparation approach next year for the Olympics as I've done this year for the test event. After yesterday, I know what adjustments I need to make for next year, as well as what strategies I should maintain."
Last Thursday and Friday, the world's top triathletes competed in Paris, indicating that the caliber of participants will mirror that of the Olympics in 2024. "A good result in this race might suggest that the course is well-suited for someone”, says Murray. “However, much can change within a year, particularly because athletes will primarily be concentrating on the Olympics, being the pinnacle event of the season.”
The test event had also doubled as an Olympic qualification event, adding extra pressure for some of the triathletes. However, Swiss and BMC-sponsored sportswoman Julie Derron and her fellow countryman Max Studer had been exempted from this pressure due to the Swiss federation's qualification process.
"For me, it was more of a chance to experience the course," Derron said, "by testing everything in a race scenario and becoming familiar with the surroundings. The cycling course took us through the Champs-Élysées, and testing the equipment on this challenging segment of the race was interesting."
The 40-kilometer bike course had not only traversed the iconic Champs-Élysées, particularly known among cyclists watching the Tour de France, but also passed by landmarks like the Orsay Museum, the 'Petit Palais,' and the 'Grand Palais.' Athletes had done seven loops after swimming in the River Seine.
Back of the mind
The impending Olympic Games are a constant presence in Derron's thoughts. "It's not that I think of the Paris Olympics during every training session, but since qualifying for the Olympics is my primary goal this year, it significantly impacts the races I'm participating in this season." She elaborates: "The Olympic Games play a dual role in my activities this year. On one hand, I aim to accumulate points for the Olympic Ranking, with a goal of being among the top 30 athletes. The second aspect is to meet the national selection criteria, which involves the WTCS races. I specifically target these races and strive to secure a top 8 position to fulfill the national selection criteria. After that, my long-term plan is to be in peak condition for the 2024 Olympic Games."
In the end, despite grappling with injuries during the 2023 season, Derron came across the line in a strong eighth place. Unfortunately, Murray was forced to retire, whereas Brownlee concluded the race in the 51st position. Studer felt strong on the cobbles of Paris and narrowly missed securing a spot in the top 10.
The strongest performance however among the BMC Switzerland sponsored atheltes came from Vasco Vilaca. The Portuguese triathlete started with number 2 and claimed a silver medal in the test event.
Pics: Tabolt Cox