Let's be honnest! Who would have bet on Arnaud Guilloux's victory during the 2015 edition of the Triathlon EDF Alpe d'Huez? The domination and the panache of the Breton during the race were a beautiful surprise! In 2016, this nice triathlete will be back to defend his crown with much more pressure! Arnaud friendly answered our questions so that we can get an idea about the first French who has triumphed here.
What is your athlete story and background?
I began swimming when I was a child simply to do an activity related to sports. When I was at school, I joined a Sport Studies programme and at the end of my fourth year, I discovered running. Especially, I practised cross country. Then, I returned to swimming in 2007 with a good souvenir as I became Champion of France N3 (50/100/200 Breaststroke, 200 4N). I stopped practising sports when I went to study to Morlaix during two years. But my roommate was a cyclist and he eventually persuaded me to try cycling. I began to practise this discipline in 2008 and I reached the level Elite (just before Pro in the French Federation system). A muscle strain stopped my progress; a wound which gave me the opportunity to taste my first triathlon without pressure. It was in the Championship of Brittany in Locquirec in 2012, on sprint distance. I finished the 5th and the fourth Breton.
Tell us more about your season 2015 and about your "after Alpe d'Huez" experience.
2015 was my first season on long distance. Thus, I am not only delighted with my results and with my victory in Alpe d'Huez, but also with my title of France first runner-up. The longer the race, the better I feel. But after Alpe d'Huez, I felt that I needed to stop because I was tired. I finally obtained a good 5th place in Royan in September.
In 2016, what are your objectives?
I shall begin on distance Ironman! But at first, I am going to launch my season on 70.3 Aix-en-Provence. Then, it will be Alpe d'Huez, Embrunman and at the end of the season, maybe, Ironman Gales; although a selection for the French team for World championships would particularly please me.
What recognition gave you this famous victory onto the 10th edition?
Because of the popularity of the race and its media coverage, this victory changed everything and it opened many doors for me. Several brands contacted me and nowadays it is my pleasure to count on the support of Mako, Kiwami, Scott (bike + shoes), Compressport, Osymetric and even my employer Airbus.
How did you make the difference that day?
I think that I did a perfect bike split and I managed well at any time. In Ornon and in Alpe d'Huez, I would have been able to give a little more, but I was in my timetable. Honestly, I did not think about a possible win, although Pascal, my coach, believed in it. I made my race without caring too much about others. I did not even know James Cunnama! I stayed calm on the run and I hardly could realize that I was going to win. Often, with my girl, we look at the Sport+ report and I always shiver when I look at the images.
How did you get ready for the Alps in Brittany?
Of course, the ascents cannot be compared, but the relief of the Brittany is far from being flat. I often have good rides in the Mounts of Arrée but my experience in mountains was very limited. I had rolled one weeks in Corsica in 2014 and I had made a long training in Pyrenees (Tourmalet and Hautacam) a few weeks before the race.
First French, but also first triathlete winner with lenticular wheel in the Triathlon EDF Alpe d'Huez. Why this setup option?
I did not hesitate. I ride and race all year long with a lenticular wheel. I am used to it. The first part of the cycle segment up to the Alpe du Grand Serre is very fast and rolling. We reach crazy speeds and the saving of time is considerable. Even the first ascent is very rolling and you climb without any problem. In fact, my only doubt concerned the braking; much less effective in this configuration. But, finally, that works!
Any simple and basic advice for all the participants?
It is necessary to think of feeding constantly throughout the race. Eat well, drink well and do not hesitate to stop on aid stations. It is just fundamental.
Profession: Airbus (défense)
From: Brest (Finistère), lives in: Brest
Team: Rennes Triathlon
Favourite training: On the bike for 3*25min (Half IM pace) + running transition with 1h10 still on Half IM pace; the kind of training that gives you a good final pace average on the counter!
Hated training: running 3*5000!
Nickname: "Le Grand"
Coach: Pascal Redou