Cody Beals now has three Ironman wins in three attempts with his victory today at Ironman Mont Tremblant. During a winless season in part due to an Achilles injury, there were plenty of doubts about his form heading into this weekend. He had previously qualified for the 2019 Ironman World Championship at Ironman Chattanooga last fall, so he didn’t need a win today to get to Kona. That hardly slowed the 29-year-old from Guelph, Ont. down, though – he passed Lionel Sanders with approximately 7 km to go to repeat as the men’s Ironman Mont Tremblant champion.
Canadian Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches had a 2:20 lead out of the water thanks to a super-fast 48:16 swim, with Beals leading the chase pack and exiting the water in 50:36. Sanders entered transition in tenth place thanks to a 51:48 swim split, 3:32 back of Desroches. Immediately on the bike Sanders got to work and began to chip away at his time deficit and it didn’t take long before Sanders and Beals broke away from the main bike chase pack in pursuit of Desroches and the overall race lead.
At about 55 km into the race, Sanders took the lead with Beals right behind him. The pair then distanced themselves from chasers Desroches, Andrew Yoder, and Nathan Killam. Sanders and Beals remained together until about 30 km to go when Sanders decided to push the pace, dropping Beals before transition. Sanders set a new bike course record (4:15:12), breaking Beals’ record from last year (4:24:28). The pair then started the run with Sanders starting the run over a four-minutes up on Beals and about 14 minutes ahead of third place Desroches.
Through the run halfway point, Sanders still held a four-minute lead on Beals. Then, with about 12 km to go, Beals started to gain time and took the lead with about 7 km to go. Sanders looked to be staying within himself to secure second place, which would still get him a Kona spot. Beals’ 2:42:28 run split got him to the line in 7:58:34 to set a new course record.
“I’m even more surprised than last year, to go under eight hours,” Beals said at the finish line. “I’m utterly shocked! I gave up so many times, Lionel’s race was so courageous, what a comeback! I had no idea I was going to win until the last 10 km.”
Sanders finished 7:05 behind Beals and punched his ticket to Kona.
“I’m so grateful to be back here racing, and a huge congrats to Cody,” he said. “I think Canadian triathlon is in a good place right now.”
Vancouver’s Killam rounded out the all-Canadian podium 30:42 behind Beals to finish in 8:29:15.
Sarah True lead the women pros out of the water with a 50:11 swim split, six seconds ahead of Meredith Kessler, and 1:12 ahead of Carrie Lester. On the bike Lester quickly jumped into the lead and pulled away from both True and Kessler. By the halfway point of the bike, Lester was over six-minutes up on True and 14 ahead of Kessler. As the women passed 162 km on the bike, Lester was a whopping 14 minutes up on True and 20 minutes clear of Jodie Robertson, as Kessler faded further back.
After an incredible 4:48:20 bike split, Lester began the run with a significant lead over True. Since Lester had already qualified for Kona earlier in the season, True only needed second to secure her Kona spot. The 15-minute lead for Lester held for nearly the entire run segment as she finished in 8:48:26 to shatter the old course record set by Mary Beth Ellis in 2013 (9:07). True was able to book her Kona ticket with time of 9:04:21, over 16 minutes behind Lester. This was True’s third attempt at a 2019 Kona spot this year, and now she finally has it. Robertson took third place with a 9:16:16 finish.