Lausanne Course Info


Detailed notes from our visit to check out the courses for Sprint and Olympic Age Group races.


As a coaching team we put this information together for our athletes last month to help them with race preparation and have had lots of people ask for it and wanting to know more, especially about the bike course and the climbs you will have to do. 

So we thought it easier to put it all in one place, so please see below for details of the course and race tips for the swim, bike and run sections.  We rode and ran the course several times and swam in the lake and have training peaks data for the course if you need extra levels of detail (for more information please contact us

I am sure you agree that putting on your countries tri suit and representing them at a major championships is something very special and if this time is your first time then we hope you enjoy it even more and soak up the whole experience.  I can still remember my first time back in 2008 and just being amazed at how many different countries I was racing against and how much fun it all was. Scary yes, you have worked so hard to get to this position but definitely fun racing with people you don’t get to race every week and in a place that you are unlikely to race in again, certainly not on a world championship course.  Enjoy it.

So to Lausanne, the town and harbour area where the race is located is a fantastic place for a event like triathlon.  With the swim location being close to the run route it will be easy for supporters to move around and with the bike course being laps and coming past the swim and run locations again means lots of support on the course.  It’s a World Championships so all about the atmosphere, right! It will be a superb event but worth knowing a little about it to give you that extra edge.


A simple course in terms of it only has two main turns and they are both left hand turns (see video).  The swim starts in the water so if you have not practised some open water starts it would be a good time to do so!  You can see from the map that you swim straight out so will only have the furthest buoy to site (there might be smaller buoys as guides although the athlete guide has said turn buoys only!).  This first section to the first buoy will be around 300 metres, then you will take the first left turn so expect a bottle neck here as athletes fight for position.   

The back straight of the swim will be around 150 metres and again like the first section you don’t have much to sight on except the buoy you will be turning at.  It is a relatively short section though and I would expect it to be fairly busy still after the bottle neck from the first buoy.  The danger here is drifting out into the lake or getting on the wrong feet so make sure you check your sighting.  Once you make that final left turn you are then heading back towards the beach and sighting becomes a lot easier. 

Swimming back in (around 300 metres) you will have a large tree to sight which you can see as soon as you turn at the last buoy.  This tree is right underneath where you will be exiting the water and the final 50 or so metres of the swim is by a lake wall so you are guided into the exit very easily.  It will be tight with athletes, so pick a good line in, ensure your sighting and swim all the way up to the beach, it only starts to get shallow in the final few metres before exiting so don’t expect a long run in. On the race morning if its clear and the sun is out then you are likely if off early to have the sun in your eyes on the way back in so although sighting should be easier if the sun is out it will make it a bit more tricky – make sure you have the correct goggles to deal with the light conditions. Always worth taking two pairs but make sure you have practises with both beforehand.  

Once out the water you have a 30-40 second run to transition (or the start of transition) which includes a small ramp straight from the beach – there is enough time once over this ramp to then get your wetsuit down to your waist as you run.  i would get off the sand and up the ramp (5 or so metres) before messing with the suit.

Please contact us if you would like more videos of the swim course, run from swim exit to transition and the transition area – Message us here. 


The Olympic swim course is not as simple as the Sprint course but follows the same start with a longer back straight and a few extra turns.  So you can see from the map that you swim straight out (around 300-400 metres) so will only have the furthest buoy to site (there might be smaller buoys as guides although the athlete guide has said turn buoys only!).  Be prepared for a bottle neck at this first buoy  (see video).

The back straight of the swim will be around 500-700 metres and again like the first section you don’t have much to sight on except the buoy you will be turning at.  It’s on this section that swimming off course could occur, make sure you sight to avoid heading out into the lake or sighting the wrong buoy int he distance (two will be close together).  If following feet along this longer section of the course make sure you are confident you are on track!  

After the back straight you are on your way back, a left hand turn and then another one shortly afterwards means two turns and potentially more bottle neck areas so if you can get some clear space leading into these buoys try and do so.  Once you have made that second turn its a longer swim of around 250 metres until the final turn and the only right turn which leads you into the swim exit. These final parts again as you can see from the map run parallel to the lake wall so this will give you a point of reference to help guide you on this last section and the final turn.

The start is a deep water start so you should practise these before this week but its also well worth going to watch the Sprint race the day before to see how they set off, the lines the athletes take and where anyone gets an advantage or loses out from easy to fix errors.  The exits also worth watching are onto the beach so ensure you swim all the way up to the beach, it only starts to get shallow in the final few metres before exiting. 

Its worth reading the Sprint course notes as well on coming out the water and what to sight, the transition from the swim and the position of the sun. With the Olympic course having a longer back straight, if breathing to the left you might also have the sun in your eyes.

Please contact us if you would like more videos of the swim course, run from swim exit to transition and the transition area – Message us here. 


You start the bike course with 2-3 minutes of flat road hugging the lake before starting the first climb up Avenue D’Ouchy.  You will need the little chain ring or a big cassette at the back to get up this depending on how strong you are but expect a 2.30-3 minute climb as once you come to the top of it you turn right and it carries on climbing for another 100 metres so be prepared for that.  It’s then downhill and quick (but not too technical) to the first turnaround point (video’s of this available on request). You then go back on yourself so climbing what you have just descended (Avenue De Denantou) which will be around 3 minutes of climbing at about 5% incline until you come to a roundabout which represents the top and then from here carry straight on along the flatter and faster roads of Avenue De L’elysee/Avenue De Cour.  You then turn left down the steppest part of the course (Avenue Des Bains) – this is approx. a 30 second downhill with a right hand turn at the bottom.  it is fast but everyone will need to start breaking half way down to slow for the corner so nothing to worry about but worth definitely worth a look pre race. Once your turn right here you have around 2 minutes flat and fast on new tarmac along the Avenue De Rhodanie before turning left and into the park (Vallee De La Juenesse). Before you know it your are going up under the main roads (see video with underpasses) and towards your turn around point   The video shows this – its only a short climb around 1 minute (it is a narrow path though so overtaking on the way up will be harder) before coming back once you turn around (a few sweeping bends but is fairly open and wider – approx 30 seconds).  You then retrace your steps all the way back (all flat) towards transition to start your second lap.

Here is a breakdown of the Sprint course.  Approx timings:
2:30 minutes flat fast out of transition
2:30 minutes uphill 6%
2:00 minutes downhill 
Dead turn turnaround (at end of run course)
3:00 minutes uphill 5%
1:30 minutes flat
30 seconds downhill steep part 
2:30 minutes flat
1:00 minute uphill 3% to turnaround point
0:30 seconds downhill 
3:00 minutes flat back to transition =10km
Approx 19 minutes per lap – repeat twice as two laps of 10km.

Please contact us if you would like more videos of the bike course – we can then send you these along with our Training Peaks analysis of the course profile. Message us here. 


The bike Olympic course follows the same course as the Sprint so please read the above description until you get to the park labelled on your map as the Vallee De La Jeunesse – the sprint course turns around in this park, whereas the Olympic course continues on up to the main road at the top..  This continuation is up hill (watch the video) and is the longest climb on the course.
After this section you then turn right onto the main highway (this continues to climb but not as steep) before hitting the turnaround point and then heading West along the main highway (Avenue De Provence) to the furthest turnaround point on the map which is on the Route Cantonale).  This whole highway is undulating but rolling speed gets you half way up most of the uphills.  Please note at the furthest turnaround point you descend into it (approx 6.5% gradient) so will need to think your speed as you approach this turn point and then gear selection to then start to climb back up what you have just descended. (video’s of this available on request).
Once on the way back you repeat what you have just done before turning off into the park of the Route De Vidy which then leads you back to the transition area to complete the lap or finish the course.  There are a few turns along this route but nothing to worry about and it is all flat.

Here is a breakdown of the Olympic course.  Approx timings:
2:30 minutes flat fast out of transition
2:30 minutes uphill 6%
2:00 minutes downhill 
Dead turn turnaround (at end of run course)
3:00 minutes uphill 5%
1:30 minutes flat
30 seconds downhill steep part 
2:30 minutes flat
6:00 minutes uphill (4 minutes 4% through the park, 2 minutes at 3% on main road to turnaround point on highway) turnaround now
3:00 minutes descent
6:00 minutes undulating to turn point last 30 seconds downhill into turn point (6.5% gradient)
1:30 minutes climbing after turn point (6.5% gradient)
5:00 minutes undulating
5:00 minutes flat back to transition =20km
Approx 41 minutes per lap – repeat twice as two laps of 20km.

Please contact us if you would like more videos of the bike course – we can then send you these along with our Training Peaks analysis of the course profile. Message us here.   


The Sprint is one lap of the course so 5 km whereas the Olympic is two laps and therefore 10 km.  If you look at your map you can see where the finish is for the sprint and how the Olympic distance athletes turn off to start their second lap.  I have looked at this area and it will be fairly clear and a great place to finish right next to the harbour and water feature and literally seconds from the front line hotels, cafes and restaurants.  

The start of the run takes you out of transition and along the same route you biked out on.  You will be on the path running parallel to the road (very slightly off camber) but mainly protected by trees so shaded. This section is around 1 km before you come off the bike course and then it opens up and if sunny you will feel the sun on you now.  You then have around 400m flat next to the lake before you head into the first park and the first climb.  

This first climb takes you into the park of the Olympic museum (see video).  You have around 100 metres straight up hill (this feels steep around 13%) and will take approximately 35-60 seconds – its tough but as soon as you are over it you start to descend straight away with 300 metres downhill, this is not straight and as you will see int he video twists back a few times on itself so will slow you slightly but allows for recovery. This will take around 60-90 seconds to come down – open up the stride and let the decline take you! Coming out the park you pass the museum water feature before turning left and continuing straight for around 300 metres on the flat until you enter into the next park and the next two climbs.

In summary this first park is:
100 metres uphill around 13%
300 metres downhill around 4%
You will be in the first park around 1.30 – 2.30 minutes.

Honestly this is one of the nicest run courses I have seen.  Yes you have to do a few climbs but you get to run though two breathtaking small parks, one littered with Olympic themed sculptures and when you are at some of the highest points on the run can look over to your right and take in some great views of the lake you have just swam and see all the way over to the ski resorts of France and Switzerland.  You might not appreciate it at the time while you look at your watch for pace and are focusing on breathing but you will remember it and can always walk it the next day and know where you are going!


Like the first park as soon as you turn into the second park you start to climb.  This climb is a little more twistier and slightly longer at 150 metres but is only 7% compare to 13%! It will take around 60-90 seconds to run up it.  You then get some rest bite and have 150 metres of down hill before it flattens out for 100 metres and then climbs back up 100 metres at approx 7% to bring you back to where you started the first downhill part.  If you look on your map you will see that you run in what looks like a triangle – see this as the first part is downhill, the second part flat and the third part uphill. You now have done 500 metres it the park and have another 300 metres to go but the climbing is all done!  It’s now a flat 100 metres along the top ridge of the park before turning right dropping down for 200 metres to come out of the park at the far end of the run course (see video). 

Once out of the park, again if you look at your map you can see that it then does a ‘dog leg’ as in goes 200 metres one way then comes back on itself 200 metres before you cross over the road and then start the run along the lake wall all the way back to the finish/second lap.  This 200 metres ‘dog leg’ if you are close to a competitor is a really good place to judge exactly how far in-front or behind you are or of course a good place to give a teammate a smile.

The last 2.1 km is along the wall of the lake so you get to follow the lake and then the mini headland which leads you to the end of the lap – this is all pancake flat with the lake to one side of you and trees to the other side so is mostly shaded.  It’s a good surface and wide enough to overtake, so if your thinking about a ‘finishing kick’ anywhere along this path is great – just don’t go too early!  The last 100 metres or so is a straight line leading into the finish chute so get ready for a finish line photo as you cross the line!

In summary this second park is:
150 metres uphill around 7%, 150 metres downhill around -4%, 100 metres flat, 100 metres uphill around 7%, 100 metres flat, 200 metres downhill around -5%. You will be in the second park around 5 – 7 minutes.

A breakdown of the run course in full is: 
5 km lap as: 1.4 km flat, 400 metres in first park, 300 metres flat, 800 metres in second park, 2.1 km flat

Please contact us if you would like more videos of the run course – we can then send you these along with our Training Peaks graphs and analysis of the run course park profiles. Message us here.   


Over the last 10 years of running training camps and helping athletes from medal winners to first timers get ready for such major age group events like Lausanne I think that this event will be one of the best in terms of organisation, race atmosphere and athlete experience – you get to ride past the Olympic rings at their HQ and run through the Olympic park – not many races can give you that, so soak it all up!
Whether you are going for the win, to place as high as you can or just to experience what wearing your countries tri suit is all about, remember to enjoy it – its why we all do the sport. 

That last 2 km of the run is flat and fast as you come back along the lake towards the finish, you can literally see where you have to run to cross the line – take a second to look at the lake and the others around you and appreciate what you have achieved and are doing.  You are not only a few kilometres from finishing a race, you are finishing a world championship race and you are representing your country.  You will have trained hard for this and all the hours spent in the pool, on the bike and running will have been worth it as you approach that finish line and once over it can celebrate that you are not only a triathlete (don’t take that for granted by the way) but part of this great age group community and the triathlon community as a whole and will have lots of bragging rights and stories to tell your colleagues once back at work. 

Have a fantastic time – both Brent and myself as head coaches of Challenge Tri Camp will be out in Lausanne supporting our athletes racing and cheering you all on.  Please come and say hi if you see us. 


Take yourself to the next level…ever thought about a training camp or working with a coach? 

Fancy joining us for on a training camp? We cater for all abilities with lots of age group athletes joining us every year who come to train and learn with us.  With 10 year’s experience of running camps you could not be in better hands to help you improve across all three sports plus much more and all in the same top four star sports hotel the professionals use every spring.  Yes Maria Mola, Non Stanford, Katie Zaferes, Vincent Lois etc all swim in the same pool as us, eat on the table next to us and share the same hotel washing facilities – they do seem to be in there a lot!! Come and join us in this triathlon paradise. 

Ever thought about having a coach to help you prepare for your big event or to give you support and guidance as well as a bespoke training program that will help you improve and get the results you want…if so or wanted to chat about coaching options with us please complete the questionnaire below or contact us.

Our Coaching team is headed up by Brent and Nick who are the owners of Challenge Tri Camp and work with our athletes on a full-time basis. Challenge Tri Camp Coaching Products and Services have been created to support the coaching and training philosophy provided for our athletes.

Joint Head Coach
Challenge Tri Camp

I began my sporting career as a runner before moving into triathlon, and haven’t looked back since. I have competed in races of all distances all over the world including multiple Ironmen and 70.3s I also hold age group titles and have raced at both ITU World and ETU European level. I have previously coached and delivered training camps for Team GB Age Group triathletes working towards team selection as well as athletes looking to achieve more varied goals, such as becoming a first time Ironman finisher. I have a natural empathy with Age Group athletes who are trying to balance the demands of our sport with a hectic work lifestyle and with limited amounts of time to train. Getting results is a key Challenge Tri Camp coaching principle so I work very closely with my athletes to prepare for the race. As a qualified coach, and a British Triathlon Team Manager, as well as a Certified Training Peaks Coach, I draw on lessons learnt and my experiences over two decades in running, multi-sports, cycling and swimming to help guide my athletes to achieving personal Swim, Bike, Run and Triathlon goals. I am a strong believer in communication with my athletes, so I do not limit contact. I look forward to working with you.

Joint Head Coach 
Challenge Tri Camp

After winning my second age group World Championship Gold medal in 2013 I knew I wanted to finish my racing days on a high and focus on coaching. I knew it was time as I was more interested in helping others than my own sessions towards the end of my training days and I have not looked back since. I get more from coaching and seeing others achieving their goals than I did when racing! I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some great people from complete beginners to professionals. I have helped guide people to their first events as well as recently in 2016 coaching two athletes to Age Group World Champion status. As well as coaching on Challenge Tri Camps triathlon training camps, I offer coaching on a one to one basis and online working closely with my athletes to make sure they have a bespoke programme. All of my bespoke coaching programmes are designed to the Challenge Tri Camp principles of coaching. These programmes although I plan them are a joint effort between me and the athlete and my job is to ensure it works for them, is realistic but also achievable and fun.

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