Concept of the Iron Tour.
As in all the tours with stages, triathlètes join together in teams from 3 to 6, with a leader – and join triathlons each day – with various courses and distances: swimming in a lake, a river, at sea and sometimes in a swimming pool! Bicycle on flat or undulating courses – or in mountains! Race on foot, on bitumen or road, flat course or undulating!
Triathlons on ½ sprint (375m swimming + 10km bicycle + 2,5km run) or Olympic distance (1,5km swimming + 40km bicycle + 10km run) with a departure on line, against the clock – individual or by teams – or a test on ¼ sprint with a relay! Varied but intense efforts – which dictate that the triathlètes give their all.
The competition times are close for each series – with often less than 5 seconds between the 5 first places. The recovery from one stage to another is a lot to manage… The level of difficulties which brings out the best in the triathlète is what makes the Iron Tour unique. Always won by a champion or a vice-champion of the world, Simon Lessing, Olivier Marceau, Paul Amey, Reto Hug, Sylvain Dodet, Javier Gomez – Iron Tour is a competition of a very high level and always very spectacular.
A window for Triathlon in the 3rd millennium.
The objective of Iron Tour was to create a media friendly event presenting the triathlon in its version of the year 2000. The program of Iron Tour proposes triathlons of short distance (distance chosen for the Olympics) or of sprint distance (shorter than the official distances of triathlon). The rules of the International Federation of Triathlon (ITU) govern the Iron Tour; for example, the rule authorizing the drafting in the bicycle exists always on the Iron Tour – it is from now on in force on all the great international races and in particular with the Olympic Games. The Iron Tour integrates the dimension of spectacle – while preserving the sporting values. Also it has become an event of reference.
The Team Spirit.
The registration in the Iron Tour is done only by teams. That makes it possible to add the concept of race strategy which did not exist hitherto – the triathlon remained a solitary effort, a combat against the stop watch which had less ‘involvement’ for the public. Here the fellow-members help their leader to gain the test, which results in a more enthralling race strategy and more recognition for the team-members – from being nearer to the general public.
Access to (and for) the Media.
The concept of Iron Tour, the choice of its courses and its participants made it possible for the various media to be interested in the triathlon – and especially with television – to broadcast the entirety of the races on air. (The finals in 1996, 1997, 2004 were on France 3 National).
A Sporting Spectacle.
The arrival and the starting sites, and the system of course loops around the village, make it possible for the public to permanently attend the whole of the spectacle – as if offered on a stage.
The event is organized so that international triathlètes, the organization, journalists, guests and the public are in permanent contact (sites of lodging and restoration, community runs, triathlète’s massage at the village, VIP areas etc).
Iron Tour – or the Meeting Point of the Actors of the World of Triathlon.
The Iron Tour has become the event ‘impossible to avoid’ in the world of triathlon – and allows “the triathlon family” one week of living together. As proof – the presence of several tens of the best world triathlètes, federal authorities, sponsors involved in triathlon, the media… the dialogue could thus contribute to the development of triathlon in several fields.