It is a pleasure, an honour and a pride for all our team to welcome one of the legends of the Triathlon on this 11th edition. Monsieur Yves Cordier will enjoy Alpe d'Huez participating in the Short Distance on 29th July. The Ironman France General Manager, Jeanne Collonge's coach (she's on the Long Distance pro startlist) and five times Embrunman winner, shares his thoughts with us. Retired since 2002, he's still a tremendous competitor !
Your passion for the triathlon seems intact! Coach, event director and athlete. You still find the time and need to race. How do you manage your life around the triathlon?
Today, my work concerns Ironman France first and foremost. My second passion is coaching athletes, and the possibility of sharing my experience with them. Finally, the triathlon is also a pleasure and each time I have the opportunity of it, I take a bib number. The sport remains a lifestyle for me, but I know how to put things into perspective and I know which are the priorities.
When did you participate in the Triathlon EDF Alpe d'Huez ? What is your relation with the station?
L'Alpe d'Huez is an atypical destination. It's part of a cycling patrimony in the same way as the Mont Ventoux. I had the opportunity to climb there to accompany some athletes during trainings, but I also participated in the Triathlon Short Distance in 2010. Besides, I have a very good relationship with the organization. I have a lot of affection for the event.
You were such a good climber when you were a pro triathlete. How would you qualify the ascent of Alpe d'Huez? Is it this difficult?
The Alpe d'Huez ascent makes it a different triathlon. But you should not be frightened, even if the climb comes at the end of the cycle circuit. Today, the modernization of the equipment allows everybody to enjoy the ride. I remember that the first time I climbed Alpe d'Huez it was with a gear ratio of 42*24. Of course, it is necessary to love this kind of challenges but Alpe d'Huez is an affordable dream from my point of view.
Are you going to follow a particular preparation for the event? What are your objectives?
No, I am not going to follow a particular programme and I am not going to make any specific preparation. Having said that, I recently ride my bike a lot. I sometimes have the chance to follow Jeanne. And I am going to participate in L'étape du Tour. Swimming and on the bike, it should be OK then! I do not really have any objectives in terms of ranking or chrono. But it is important for me to be strong enough to not suffer the race and to be able to take pleasure in it.
You are Jeanne Collonge's coach (she'll be racing on the Long Distance). Did the training evolve a lot since you retired?
Yes, of course. Times change. From a technical point of view, we already worked with the cardio data, but today we also pay a lot of attention on watts. The material, the nutrition, the global medical follow-up and the mental work are complex factors which we have to optimize with the athletes. On my behalf, I have my own methods and I think that the relationship of trust established between the coach and his athlete is always one of the main vectors of performance. It is important that the athlete can express and share perfectly his sensations with his coach.
It is necessary to adapt the plan to the moment, and I think that there is nothing more dangerous than a copy/paste strategy. The responsibility of a modern coach is vaster nowadays because we have to protect the athletes from many external inputs. The media exposure and the impact of the social networks changed the rules and force us to work more on the mental aspect. Before, maybe we were more independent, more "warriors" in our head and maybe less submitted to this pressure.
What is your main tip for the race ?
For the short distance, the first thing to do is to manage well the temperature of the water, which is always very cold in this race. It is important to get into the water at the right time and to warm up before. As for the ascent of Alpe d'Huez, most part of the participants will climb during one hour more or less: it is long and it's necessary to manage the effort, especially thinking about the final 7km run; pretty difficult.
See you in two weeks !
The Organisation Team.