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Podium for Bartlett at 70.3 Pays d'Aix
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Tuesday 3rd May 2016

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Nikki Bartlett makes the podium in France

An interesting start to the day in France saw the cancellation of the swim due to strong winds and low temperatures

Having recently won the Scottish Duathlon Championships, Nikki Bartlett secured her first (professional) this past weekend at IRONMAN 70. 3 Pays d'Aix.

It's not her first top-three overall finish - you remember that she finished second overall, as an Age-Group athlete, at 70.3 Wimbleball a couple of years ago - following which she won the ETU European Championship (25-29), before racing as a Pro. This is certainly her best result to date however. Another Brit, Kimberley Morrison, winner recently in Buenos Aires was also satisfied with her day, finishing fourth.

David McNamee matched the fourth place of Morrison in his first race of the season, as he prepares for IRONMAN Lanzarote in a few weeks time.

Craig Twigg finished as 32nd Pro, but had a day to forget - having been blow off of his bike into a ditch and then had a puncture! Caroline Livesey, 10th (4:17:53) was also very disappointed with her performance after several M-Dot podium finishes in 2015, though family pride was salvaged this time by husband Mark who made another Age-Group podium.

GB Age-Group podiums:

F45-49 - Joanne Gorrod (1st)
F60-64 - Jackie Hardman (1st)
F60-64 - Hilary Walker (2nd)
F60-64 - Liz Elliot (3rd)
M40-44 - Mark Livesey (3rd)

Report below is courtesy of Volker Boch /

Belgium's Tine Deckers and Bertrand Billard from France made the best out of challenging weather conditions at IRONMAN 70. 3 Pays d'Aix.

Deckers and Billard stormed like the wind at the sixth edition of the season-opener in the famous French city Aix en Provence. The swim had to be cancelled early in the morning due to very strong winds and very low temperatures.

Austrian Christian Birngruber started the race with a powerful performance on the bike. He led the way on the first 60 kilometers ahead of Germany's Maurice Clavel and Billard. While the gap was always small between the leader and Billard in third place, the French winner of 2014, hammered away on the final third of the bike course. Billard started the run with an advantage of 2:20 ahead of Clavel and Marcus Herbst (GER). Clavel did his best to make up ground, but he was not able to get closer to Billard by less than 80 seconds. Birngruber worked very hard to cross the finish line in third place ahead of the two storming runners David McNamee (GBR) and Gwenael Ouilleres (FRA).

Deckers took the lead in women's race early on the bike, and the 37-year old never gave it away. After 30 kilometers the Belgian was already 2:24 ahead of British Nikki Bartlett, Kimberley Morrison (GBR) was more than four minutes behind at this point in the race. Through 60 kilometers Deckers was about four minutes in front. When she reached T2, the lead had increased up to more than six minutes. It was Germany's Julia Gajer who made up most of the time on the run, she came from fourth place to the runner-up position—but Deckers seemed to be untouchable in Aix this time after being runner-up herself back in 2014.

Ironman 70.3 Pays d'Aix, France - Sunday 1st May 2016
90km / 21.1km (swim cancelled)

Pos Men Women
1st Bertrand Billard (FRA) 3:30:32 Tine Deckers (BEL) 3:56:18
2nd Maurice Clavel (GER) 3:32:21 Julia Gajer (GER) 4:02:29
3rd Christian Birngruber (AUT) 3:34:21 Nikki Bartlett (GBR) 4:04:07
4th David McNamee (GBR) 3:34:22 Kimberley Morrison (GBR) 4:07:36
5th Gwenael Ouilleres (FRA) 3:34:25 Astris Stienen (GER) 4:08:48

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