It was an all-Canadian women’s podium and almost a sweep for the men at today’s ITU S3 Winter World Cup as Claude Godbout and Maxime Leboef took the overall titles.
Godbout gets her win
Quebec’s very own Claude Godbout, a former member of Canada’s national Nordic ski team, finished third here a year ago, just seconds short of the win after she skated an extra lap. She made no mistakes today, finishing the opening 5 km snowshoe in third behind Ironman star Annie Gervais and Ariane Carrier. Gervais managed to open up more time during the 11 km skate (no doubt helped by her aero helmet) but was unable to hold off the fast skiing Godbout to the line – she finally relinquished the lead about halfway through the 9.5 km ski.
“I wasn’t as ready as last year,” Godbout said after her race, “But I managed my race pretty well, which is why I was able to push really hard on the skiing. As soon as I caught her halfway through the second lap of the skiing I knew it would be OK. I pushed, but I got the win, which was my goal, so I kind of cruised the last lap.”
Montreal-based Gervais, who is well known in Canada’s summer-triathlon ranks thanks to her Ironman and half-Ironman exploits, was thrilled with her runner-up finish. Rounding out the podium was Carrier, who held off Finland’s Jenni Mattila, who had the second fastest ski leg of the day after Godbout.
If the women’s race went to the best managed performance, the men’s race went to the most all-around athletes. Gatineau’s Maxime Leboeuf, a former member of Canada’s national biathlon team who has become one of the world’s premier snowshoe competitors, proved that the new S3 winter triathlon format is growing up and starting to attract athletes who can excel in all three disciplines.
Leboeuf and France’s Bruno Frudenreich pulled away from the rest of the field during the snowshoe leg. Leboeuf had hoped to skate with his training partner Olivier Babineau, but was shocked when his buddy went flying by early on during the skate, so they never managed to work together. Eventually Babineau slowed down and Leboeuf found himself clear once again as he started the final ski leg.
Even though he would eventually win by over a minute, Leboeuf was pushed right until the end of the race.
“The ski was quite difficult,” he said at the finish line once he’d caught his breath. “My strategy was to go out really hard because my strength is snowshoeing, so if you don’t put in a gap there, there’s not much room left. When you start that way, super fast, and you try to maintain it to the end, it’s probably the most painful way to do it.”
As an example of just how serious athletes are getting about the sport, Leboeuf credited some of his win to the time he put into perfecting his transitions for this year’s race.
“The transitions were, in my opinion, were perfect,” he said. “I had the whole set up with my boots and lots of practice, so it was quite fast. One of my strong parts was the transition – it’s free time. Over the last few years its been one of the things I’ve neglected a little bit, but this year I felt I needed all the time I could get.”
All the preparation and his strength in all three disciplines meant that the fastest skiers in the field, Quebec’s Marc-Andre Bedard and Slovakia’s Dusan Simocko (the winner of this race two years ago), a pair of Olympian biathletes, weren’t able to work their way to the podium today. Babineau followed up the day’s fastest skate with a solid ski and the silver medal, while Freudenreich rounded out the podium. Bedard would ski his way to fourth, while American Ryan Kelly finished fifth.
Earlier in the day the age group athletes took to the snow and ice for the S3 world cup. Overall winners from the morning’s racing were Lac Beauport’s Yves St-Louis and Sherbrooke’s Clemence Trudel. (See top-10 overall results below).
Women’s Elite Results
Men’s Elite Results
Overall Age Group Men’s results
1. Yves St-Louis, Lac Beauport 1:20:53
2. Alexandre Boulé, Chicoutimi 1:24:26
3. Keven Tremblay, Québec 1:26:20
4. Patrick Levasseur, Lévis 1:27:15
5. Govinda St-Pierre, Québec 1:28:10
6. Jules Rancourt, St-Ferréol-les-Neiges 1:28:28
7. Robert Leblanc, Lakefield 1:30:59
8. Yannick De Ladurantaye, Québec 1:31:14
9. Philippe Marchand, Rivière-du-Loup 1:31:16
10. Eric Tremblay, Québec 1:31:26
Overall Age Group Women’s results
1. Clémence Trudel, Sherbrooke 1:40:42
2. Isabelle Dumais, Lac Beauport 1:41:46
3. Véronique Cormier, Québec 1:45:22
4. Dominique Matteau, St-Bruno 1:46:05
5. Line Fournier, Amqui 1:50:58
6. Marie-Pier Lagasse, Québec 1:53:28
7. Geneviève Dutil, Bromont 1:53:43
8. Mireille Dubé, Chambly 1:53:52
9. Geneviève Trudel, Lévis 1:55:14
10. Manon Paradis, Ste-Marie 1:59:04