Fastest in France — again
Frederik Van Lierde’s fifth victory at Ironman France vaulted him to the top of the race’s all-time win list.
"Getting older just means getting more experienced,” the 39-year-old Belgian told his coach after crossing the finish line on Sunday.
Experience, it seems, goes a very long way. Freddie showed off his veteran savvy from the very start in Nice, with a 50:54 swim and 4:43:42 ride on his Cervelo P5 — the third- and fourth-fastest of the day, respectively — that put him in prime position to chase down the leader by attacking the marathon.
And attack it he did. With about 22 kms remaining, Freddie surged into the lead and never looked back. “The first half of my marathon, in 1:19, felt great, and at that moment I knew I could hold a fast pace until the finish.”
In the end, Freddie’s 2:44:45 marathon was more than 10 minutes faster than fellow Cervélo athlete and runner-up Antony Costes, while his 8:25:22 overall time ensured he would add to his 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2017 titles. “That race was almost perfect,” he added, as if there was still some room for improvement. If there is, his Ironman rivals have their work cut out for them.
“I cannot describe how happy I am with this victory,” he added. “Seeing my name five times on that victory list is just a dream come true.”
Now that he’s tied with Marcel Zamora for the most Ironman France victories, at least part of his 2019 season is already set: “I need to come back next year.”
Frederik Van Lierde: Older, wiser, and just as fast as ever.