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Bayliss & Marsh Win Inaugural Challenge Vichy

baylissvichy11.jpgOn a hot day Stephen Bayliss and Amy Marsh win the inaugural 2011 Challenge Vichy iron distance triathlon in Vichy, France. As the saying goes "If at first you don't succeed, Try, try again" an see what happens... The effort proved positive for the both Bayliss and Marsh who had disappointing race results just a week ago.

Bayliss had raced in Copenhagen last week at the iron distance Challenge Copenhagen triathlon. He was hoping for good day but only managed a 6th place finish, 8th after a penalty was handed out. During the week he decides to travel to Vichy, France and try again, this time bringing his secret weapon, little Charlie, his two-week year old son to the race along with his wife Bella. Bayliss had something to prove after a great ride in Copenhagen. When the starting gun went off, Bayliss took off and took control of the swim and bike and then held his own on the run while trying to stay out in front and survive in the heat. It proved to be a positive and festive day for the IronCouple and new son as Bayliss holds off Teemu Lemmettylä for the victory.

"I haven't ever done 2 Ironmans 1 week apart so it will be interesting to see how it goes." said Bayliss on his blog.

2011 Challenge Vichy Results:
Vichy, France

Pro Men Results Time
Pro Women Results Time
Stephen Bayliss 08:45:29
Amy Marsh 09:44:56
Teemu Lemmettylä 08:49:42
Juliette Benedicto 10:01:59
Jamie Whyte 08:52:21
Jean Louis Bernaud 10:15:56
Alberto Roviera 09:21:36
Fiona Ford 10:42:22
Raoul Lavaut 09:27:57
Aline Choretier 10:56:09

marshvichy11.jpgMarsh had her own disappointing comeback to deal with before the race. She had finished dead last in the women's pro field in Wiesbaden at the 70.3 race last week. A week later she's in Vichy, testing out the waters and doing another iron distance race. Marsh of TeamTBB nabbed the top spot of the podium in very challenging conditions. As usual, Amy's swim crushed the competition, she dominated the bike, and then finished with a great run to crush the women's field. She adds another iron distance title to her career.

Challenge Family Re-cap:
Stephen Bayliss (GBR) and Amy Marsh (USA) took out the inaugural Challenge Vichy this weekend and in doing so conquered one of the toughest races in Challenge history. Temperatures in the French spa town rose to 43C with high humidity and athletes faced strong head winds on the bike.

Bayliss took victory just one week after placing eighth in Challenge Copenhagen. He exited the swim just four seconds behind Raoul Shaw (FRA) in 50:21 and a quick transition saw him head out on to the hot and windy bike course in the lead a position he maintained after 180km with a split of 4:36:28. Meanwhile further back in the field, Challenge Wanaka champion Jamie Whyte (NZL) and Teemu Lemmettylä (FIN) were making up for disappointing swim times. Whyte exited the water in 13th while Lemmettylä was in 19th. By the end of the cycle, they had moved up to 5th and 6th respectively.
By the 10km mark on the run, Bayliss had dropped to third with Whyte and Lemmettylä hanging onto their positions in 5th and 6th with Damien Favre-Felix (FRA) taking the lead. The halfway point saw another change in position following the withdrawal for Favre-Felix. Fellow countryman, Benjamin Pernet moved up into pole position with Bayliss in second and Whyte in third. With 10km to go, Bayliss had secured his lead at the head of the field, a position he held onto, crossing the finish line in 8:45:29. Lemmettylä ran into second with the fastest run split of the day, 3:06:33 while Whyte finished in third.

The women's race saw Amy Marsh lead from the swim, exiting the water in 55:23 a clear three minutes ahead of Juliette Benedicto (FRA). By the end of the bike, she had extended her lead to just over 10 minutes and continued to build her lead over Benedicto throughout the run, finishing in 9:44:56. Benedicto maintained her second position throughout the race to finish in 10:01:59 while Jana Candrova (CZE) took third in 10:12:14.

Challenge Family CEO, Felix Walchshöfer, said he was very happy to have the Challenge Family represented in France with such an outstanding full distance race.

"The team at Challenge Vichy did a spectacular job with a first time event. It was great to see Team TBB do so well and also it was good to see so many passionate triathlon supporters out on course. The athletes did well, especially considering the extreme heat. The course was stunning and Vichy is a wonderful region to visit - we can be sure to see Challenge Vichy grow into one of France's must-do races," he said.
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