Vincent Luis: “Ten days ago that was almost me done with triathlon”

Two-time world triathlon champion Vincent Luis has admitted that a recent health scare almost led to his retirement from the sport

VALENCIA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 07: Vincent Luis of France leaves his bike in the transition area during the 2020 Valencia ITU Triathlon World Cup Elite Men at Marina Real Valencia on November 7, 2020 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by David Aliaga/MB Media/Getty Images)

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. 

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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.

Vincent Luis runs back to his transition spot having miscounted his laps at the 2022 Leeds WTCS (Credit: Tommy Zaferes/World Triathlon)

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?

Vincent Luis emerges from the swim at the 2022 Yokohama WTCS race (Credit: Tommy Zaferes/World Triathlon)

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?

Laurent Vidal sets off on the run at the 2012 London Olympic Games (Credit: Tim De Waele/Getty Images)

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.”

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Top image: David Aliaga/MB Media/Getty Images