Crashing into a metal barrier at the end of transition having miscounted your bike laps is never a great look on live TV beamed to millions. Even less so when you’d been comfortably leading the race up until that point alongside your teammate (Leo Bergere), who goes on to take silver.
But, as French superstar Vincent Luis joked to us post-race at the 2022 Leeds WTCS, “I just wanted to spice it up a little bit”, it’s refreshing to hear he sees the funny side of the spectacle.
In a race that saw Olympic heroes Jonny Brownlee and Alex Yee crash out on the bike, 32-year-old Luis did well to finish 10th, even with a 10sec penalty for his error. But for the Super League superhero, just being at the race was celebration enough.
What happened to Vincent Luis in Yokohama?
One kilometre into the swim at the Yokohama WTCS race last month, Luis’ heart rate started to increase and he began to feel out of breath. Fighting on through the bike, he then decided to pull out mid-run.
“I feel better than in Yokohama,” Luis told 220 post-race in Leeds. “I had some heart issues and had to go in surgery last Wednesday so I wasn’t sure about racing but I got the green light.
“Ten days ago that was almost me done with triathlon, and now I’m back at full fitness. Whatever happened, the mistake I made [crashing into the barrier], I’m just really happy to toe the line and finish. I feel good, the body’s working at full gas.”
What happened to French triathlete Laurent Vidal?
News of Luis’ health scare will no doubt remind those who have followed the sport for a number of years of his compatriot Laurent Vidal, who sadly passed away in his sleep from a heart condition in 2015, aged just 31.
The young triathlete who finished fifth at the London 2012 Olympics had recently retired from racing having suffered a heart attack the previous year, and was focusing on a burgeoning coaching career.
What next for Vincent Luis?
Luis, luckily, is in the all clear (he will undergo further tests later in the year) and his Leeds performance has fired him up for the remainder of the season.
“I think a podium is just around the corner. I now really want to podium again in the overall standings, I think I can do it. I might also send a text to [German Ironman legend] Normann Stadler to see if he wants me in the Team Europe for Collins Cup.”
Top image: David Aliaga/MB Media/Getty Images