On May 12th, Alexis Lepage won the first World Cup medal of his career in Chengdu, China. A resident of Gatineau, Quebec and student at the Université de Laval sprinted to a third-place finish in the final race of a two-day event format.
On Saturday, Lepage finished sixth in the first sprint race to secure a spot in the finals (top-nine qualify). Teammate Matthew Sharpe also qualified for the finals with a sixth-place finish in another heat. “The plan Saturday was to keep it under control, and never push too much on the bike or the run,” said Lepage.
On Sunday, 30 athletes competed in the final race of the weekend – a super-sprint triathlon (500m swim, 10K bike and 2.5K run). “I had a great start on the swim and just followed the good feet,” said Lepage. “We worked really well together on the bike. I felt comfortable, and everything came together on the run. I still had some legs for the run, so I was happy with that one.”
Lepage and Sharpe managed to get onto the bike in a lead group of 11 athletes. On the bike, a crash took three riders (including Sharpe) out of the lead group. Hopping off the bike for a 2.5K sprint, Lepage lunged for the line against Ben Kanute (USA) for the final two positions on the podium. In a photo finish, Kanute took second and Lepage third – 27:55. Australian Matthew Hauser the race in 27:42. “It has been a long winter with a couple of DNF’s in my last two races, so I’m really proud to be on the podium,” said Lepage at the end of his race. Lepage credited his recent move to work with coach Jono Hall at Triathlon Canada’s National Performance Centre in Victoria as a key to improving his ability. “I didn’t expect that today, but I’ve been working so hard, and I have been training quite good. It just feels so great to be on the podium.”
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It was a long process, I’ve been working harder and harder, year after year for moments like this one. So stoked for my 3rd place at Chengdu World Cup. 🥉 Thanks a lot to everyone that was part of that journey. I’m really grateful. 📷 @worldtriathlon #triathlon #triathlonqc_equipeqc #OwnThePodium #94forward #b2ten @triathloncanada and @sportcanada @teamcanada
Despite suffering a set back on the bike, Sharpe followed shortly after the podium finishers in 28:24 (14th).
On the women’s side, Hannah Henry made her World Cup debut at the age of 19. Being the lone Canadian to qualify out of the heats, Henry finished 19th in the finals (32:23).
Laura Lindemann (GER) took the win in 31:18. Renee Tomlin (USA) finished second, and Belgium’s Valerie Barthelemy took third.