Lionel’s Heart, Gina Lifts Off And Henri’s Back: 5 Things We Learned From Arena Games Triathlon Montreal

Arena Games Triathlon Montreal 2023 Mens Fiinal

The record breaking Arena Games Triathlon powered by Zwift Montreal delivered some of the most memorable moments in the format’s history.

A big crowd came to cheer on their heroes at the Parc Olympique as Arena Games touched down in Canada for the first time, and with one star ticket that everybody was talking about.

And while Lionel Sanders was again the centre of the triathlon world, there were some stellar performances and major talking points as the 2023 World Championship Series got going.

We take a look at the five things we learned from the weekend’s action:

Lionel Has A Big Heart (But Not Heart Rate)

Lionel Sanders was surrounded by a throng of cameras and media as one of the most talked about appearances in triathlon history finally happened.

The long course specialist was stepping truly into the unknown with Arena Games Triathlon, and plenty of people were writing him off.

Arena Games Triathlon Montreal 2023 Mens Fiinal

Without doubt his swim was exposed as expected, but with a lot of pundits questioning whether he could even make the Finals, to finish just 38 seconds off first place was remarkable.

The roar of the crowd when he entered the Arena, smashing the all-time record with a 5:05 and at a heart rate that was crazily low for the output was a sight to behold. And his pain face…that may never be beaten.

Lift Off For Gina

Gina Sereno is a truly incredible athlete. Balancing racing at the elite level of the sport while also holding down a full time job in jet propulsion at NASA is beyond comprehension for most people.

But Gina is nothing if not dedicated, as well as wildly talented, and she is really coming of age as an athlete as she proved in Montreal.

Arena Games Triathlon Montreal 2023, Womens Final

She knew this was a decent chance for her, and she grabbed it with both hands. In truth, once she had shaken off Sophie Linn, she was able to almost cruise to the win, just to underline her dominance.

Chase Chase

What a story. Chase McQueen and Gina Sereno are partners, and to both get the win and be able to watch and cheer for each other is a moment they can only dream of one day experiencing again, such is its incredible rarity.

For Chase it is another step in his burgeoning career. He really made significant strides at the 2022 Championship Series, moving from an up and comer to somebody showing signs of seriously competing.

Arena Games Triathlon Montreal 2023 Mens Fiinal

The next move for him was to start to prove that he can grow into a winner at the very highest level.

He did exactly that in Montreal with a masterful performance in which he stayed consistently quick and ensured he didn’t fade to outlast everyone and take the victory.

He will head to London as a red hot favourite to take the World Championship Series title.

Henri’s Back

It was an emotional weekend for Henri Schoeman.

The South African broke down in tears the day before the race as he recounted a terrible couple of years of injury and struggle.

Arena Games Triathlon Montreal 2023 Mens Fiinal

This was his first proper race back and fit, and a real test of whether he still had in his locker the tools that won him an Olympic bronze medal in 2016.

Heartache turned to joy as Schoeman produced a strong all-round display to finish second and prove he is a force to be reckoned with once more.

With a low ranking due to his lack of action, there were much needed points and he has secured starts in the WTCS race in Abu Dhabi as well as in Switzerland and London in Arena Games Triathlon.

He is back.

Local Heroes Steal The Limelight

Montreal was a new destination for Arena Games Triathlon and another great chance to offer a new country the full experience.

Hundreds of fans flocked to the Parc Olympique and generated a tremendous atmosphere. While Lionel got some sponge tingling roars, there were also a host of Canadians, and many from Quebec, in the field.

They, of course, were treated like rockstars, and given the opportunity to perform on this incredible platform.

It was a memorable day and the start of a special relationship between Montreal and Super League Triathlon.

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