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The 5 "Monuments" of the Ironman Triathlon

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In cycling there are five great classics that due to their history are considered "The 5 Monuments of Cycling", but triathlon also has its "5 Ironman monuments":

In cycling there are five great classics that due to their history are considered “The 5 Cycling Monuments”, Some tests where his victory justifies a sports career in many cases, these classics are: Milan-San Remo, Return to Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege y Turn of Lombardy.

All of them have in common their high mileage (more than 250km), hardness (walls, slopes, cobblestones, etc ...) and above all history, all are centenarians with more than 100 editions, the Liege-Bastogne-Liege "The dean" born in 1892 and the Tour of Flanders the "youngest" whose first edition was in 1913 and has the peculiarity of being one of the only sports competitions in Europe that withstood World War II without suspending any edition. Finally it should also be noted that the Paris-Roubaix (“The queen of the classics”) is the one that has been celebrated the most times with 115 editions.

Triathlon is a much younger sport than cycling and the first edition of the Hawaii Ironman (1) dates from 1978, but also has its "5 Ironman monuments": Ironman New Zealand, Ironman Lanzarote, Challenge Roth, Nice Ironman y Embrunman(2)


Ironman New Zealand

El New Zealand Ironman It was held on March 5 and was the 33th edition. It is the least known test as it is located very far from the large centers of residence of the largest number of triathletes: Europe and America, but it is the oldest in the Southern HemisphereIts first edition dates from 1985, although it was not until 1988 when it began to be an Ironman distance triathlon. From 1985 to 1998 it was played in the New Zealand capital, Auckland, but since 1999 it has been played in the interior of the north island, in Taupo.

Swimming is very clean, one lap and with a first buoy located at 1775m. Swim parallel to the shoreline of Lake Taupo. Later cycling is 2 laps of 90km and ends with the marathon, divided into three laps next to Lake Taupo.

The main legends of this test are in men Cameron Brown who has achieved the victory 13 times and has managed 19 consecutive podiums. While in women highlights Joana Lawn who has won 7 times and has been on 11 podium occasions.



Ironman Lanzarote

El La Santa Ironman Club of Lanzarote was born thanks to the Danish Kenneth Gasque, “The father” of Ironman Lanzarote and one of the most important people in world triathlon. Kenneth Gasque was the first Danish citizen to run at the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii in 1985, and in 1992 he managed to bring the Ironman to the island of Lanzarote, being currently the oldest franchise in Europe. In 2017 it celebrates its 26th edition and will be held on Saturday, May 20.

Swimming consists of 2 laps from 1900 on the beach of Puerto del Carmen, later cycling is one lap, 180km around the island, where we can highlight the Timanfaya Natural Park, the Club la Santa, the viewpoint of Haría and the Mirador del Rio. Finally, the triathletes run 42,2km of the marathon, which runs through the airport area, Arrecife and the promenade of Puerto del Carmen.

On the main winners, it stands out above all and all the figure of Paula Newby-Fraser (8 times Ironman World Champion in Hawaii) the only one that has won three editions in “La isla”. Lanzarote also has among its winners Peter Reid (3 times world champion in Kona) y Faris Al Sultan (also world champion).

As a curiosity in 2017 came the first “defeat” of Jan Frodeno in an ironman distance triathlon, the American Jesse Thomas He took the victory and the German "alone" could be second. in 2002 Maribel Blanco He achieved the first victory for a Spanish triathlete in a "monument" and would repeat the triumph a year later. Later in 2004 and 2005 Virginia Berasategui also won the Ironman Lanzarote



Challenge Roth

Roth has the honor of being the first ironman distance triathlon in which he dropped 8 hoursit was german Lothar Leder with a time of 7:57:02 in 1996. Of the 69 times it has been dropped from 8 hours in an ironman distance triathlon, 25 have been in Roth, while in women 38 times the 9 hour barrier has been broken in Roth. This year it will be held on July 9.

Swimming takes place one lap, 3800m in the Canal de Main Donau. Later cycling consists of 2 90km laps on a very fast circuit, where spectators crowd the streets to cheer on the triathletes. The climb to Obermässing stands out, a steep slope full of fans who do not stop encouraging all athletes. The marathon consists of 2 laps of 21,2 km and runs largely through the city center of Roth.

The Roth Challenge stands out for being the fastest test of all the “monuments” and also the fastest of all ironman distance triathlons. Although the circuits are not "officially" homologated, Roth holds the world "records", both in the male and female categories. In 2016 Jan Frodeno stopped the clock at 7:35:39 while in women Chrissie Wellington made a mark of 8:18:13.

Among its winners, in addition to Frodeno and Wellington stand out Lothar Leder with 5 wins, Nicole Leder and Chis McCormack with four, while Wllington, Jurgen Zäck and Paula Newby-Fraser they have taken the vitoria in 3 occasions.


Nice Ironman

Nice is the oldest of all monumentsAlthough we can divide its history into two parts. The first edition was in 1982 and until 2004 it was held under C distance, that is to say 4000m of swimming, 120 of cycling and 30km of running on foot, during these years its name was "Triathlon International de Nice". In the 80s and 90s Nice was the most important triathlon in Europe, and only surpassed by Kona worldwide. Possibly the Monument with the highest level of winners.

In 2005 it became part of the Ironman circuit and changed its typical ironman distance distances: 3,8 + 180 + 42,2. During the last years it has been held in the month of June, but in this 2017 the competition will be on July 23, so presumably swimming in the Mediterranean Sea will be without wetsuit. Later the triathletes face a broken cycling circuit with almost 2000m of unevenness, ascending several levels and highlighting the Col d ´Ecre. Finally, the marathon will presumably take place with high temperatures around 30-35 ºC and high humidity.

As we have previously mentioned Nice has an honor roll that could be fighting "from you to you" with Kona. Within the first period from 1982 to 2004, the great dominator was Mark Allen with 10 wins, but we must also highlight the victories of Luc Van Lierde (first European to win at Kona), Simon Lessing (4-time ITU world champion) or Rob Barel (4-time European short-distance champion). There are editions with truly luxurious podiums, such as the one from 1993 (Allen, Lessing, Barel) or 1995 (Lessing, Van Lierde and Reid).

Among the women, the four victories of Paula Newby-Frazer or the doubles of Ines Ested, Isabelle Mouthon-Michellys or Linda Buchanan. The last winner in 2004 was triple world champion Mirinda Carfrae. As regards the Ironman period, the Spanish Marcel Zamora He is the great dominator with 5 consecutive wins. While in women Tine Deckers has 3 wins.




Finally we want to close our list of "the 5 ironman monuments" with the Embrunman, proof that it has been held in the French city of Embrun on August 15 of each year since 1985. It is the only one that does not belong to either of the two major franchises (Ironman or Challenge), in addition to being the one that presents some harder routes for its unevenness in cycling and running. It is the only one where it has never been lower than 9 hours in men or 10 hours in women.

Swimming is done in the dark, since it starts at 6 in the morning while it is still night, the 3800m run through the Plan d´Eau lake in cold waters. Later the triathletes face the tough cycling sector, 188km with 5000 meters of positive elevation gain, where above all the climb to the mythical Col D´Izoard crowned at more than 2300m altitude stands out. Finally, the triathletes perform a tough marathon with more than 600m of difference in altitude.

As in the Ironman of Nice, Marcel Zamora is the triathlete with the most wins, five in total and shares that "reign" with the French Yves Cordier, who also had five wins between 1987 and 1999. The next triathlete with the most wins is Félix Rubio Martínez, with four wins. His 2001 triumph marked the first victory for a Spanish triathlete in a "monument". In women, the three victories of Bella Bayliss stand out, the only triple winner of the Embrunman. Finally we must highlight the triumph of Scott Molina in 1991, who has the honor of being the only winner of Kona who has also won at Embrunman.


(1) The Ironman of Hawaii we have not considered a monument because it is the world championship, just as cycling has its world.

(2) At the time of classifying these 5 competitions as “Monuments” we have based ourselves on data such as the number of editions, participants, their history, routes and winners of the winners.


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