With all the races on the programme of the 15th edition sold out, we already know the name of the team winner of the INVERSE Team Contest! For the first time in 4 years of competition, it is a foreign club that wins by gathering a maximum of participants in our races. Congratulations to our Belgian friends of the Charleroi Triathlon Club, a historical club of the Wallonian sports panorama, and a group of enthusiasts who deserve a small introduction! Laurent Liétard, a member of the club for 12 years and a specialist in the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon (2 participations) tells us more about the group, 43 of whom will be taking on the legend from 26 to 31 July.

 

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What is the history of the Charleroi Triathlon Club ?

Created in April 1996 by two friends, Olivier M. and François D., the Avenir Triathlon Club Charleroi, ATCC, has never stopped growing, and today has about a hundred members with an average age of 38 years (year 2020). During all these years, we achieved many results: team and individual titles in the different challenges of the National League, numerous podiums in age categories and among the youth and many participations in international competitions. To date, the ATCC is the club in French-speaking Belgium with the largest number of finishers on the Ironman circuit, with qualifications for the World Championships on the full (Hawai) or half-distance circuit (US, South Africa, Nice, Australia). In its 25 years of existence, the ATCC has also organised 16 triathlons, including a Belgian championship and its famous Relais Mouillés (4-hour swimming endurance), which will be held for the 7th time in 2021.

Besides these results, what are the values that characterise the club?

One of our greatest prides is without doubt the creation of the youth academy, which has enabled the emergence of some fine talent. A real school of life, this academy instils in our youngsters the values of our sport, which are very useful in these times of pandemic: resilience, courage, discipline but always in the joy and good mood that distinguish us.

From the beginning, the club has also promoted triathlon to a growing, sporty and competitive female public. In 2021, eight women will participate in the legendary Alpe d’Huez Triathlon.

How was the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon project born within the club?

The Alpe d’Huez project is in fact the “club objective”. Each year, we choose a destination and a competition accessible to the greatest number of people in order to share a moment of effort and conviviality.  Our criteria: the quality of the organisation, the possibilities of accommodation for large groups, the activities outside the triathlon to allow families to accompany us and the proximity. It is worth noting that some people even take the opportunity to extend their holiday by a week. Our favourite destinations are Alpe d’Huez, Nice, Gérardmer, Vichy, Barcelona, Wales and Embrun.

A real school of life, our Triathlon academy instils in our youngsters the values of our sport, which are very useful in these times of pandemic: resilience, courage, discipline but always in the joy and good mood that distinguish us.

Why did you choose Alpe d'Huez?

What could be more mythical than the Alpe d’Huez climb? Whether it’s for holidays like in 2020, to take part in the Marmotte (3x) or the XL Triathlon (2x), it’s always an unforgettable moment with family, friends or alone in front of the mountain.  Finally, the organisation of the triathlon is well known and well established. This reassures athletes of all levels and especially beginners about the progress of the event.

You were already supposed to be present in 2020. How did you manage the cancellation of the 2020 edition?

Despite the cancellation of the event in 2020, we still went there to climb all the mythical passes (Galibier, Lautaret, Télégraphe, Croix de fer, Sarenne, Villard Notre Dame) and spend a week of sporting holidays. In 2021, we will remain focused on the duathlon from Tuesday onwards as we are registered for all the events.

How are you going to prepare for the race and its climbs from Belgium?

As far as preparation is concerned, the clichés of Jacques Brel’s “Flat Country” are out the window.  Our Charleroi’s region has developed around the Sambre Valley and extends as far as the Meuse Valley and the Eau d’Heure dams.  No road is flat, and there are many hills that are like the Alpe d’Huez bends.  The road to the dams even offers us the so-called “Petit Poggio” climb used by the Pro riders during the Tour of Belgium.

For running, we are not outdone! Also, I invite you to discover the slag heaps and its GR412, a “mountainous” heritage of which the City of Charleroi and the Carolos are very proud. 

More generally, the club has certified coaches for all three sports, with supervised training on Mondays and Wednesdays for swimming, Fridays for running and Sundays for cycling.  Since the lockdown, we also meet up on Zwift every Thursday.

If we were to define the Avenir Triathlon Club Charleroi in one word?

« Family »!

INVERSE Team Contest 2021

The 43 ATCC participants will each receive a personalized Inverse sweatshirt at a ceremony on Wednesday 28th. In addition, thanks to the Barcelona-based brand, partner of the event and specialised in the customization of sportswear, a giant jersey in the colours of the ATCC will be hung in one of the 21 bends of the legendary climb.