Home > Racing

Sixth seemed like a win for Lionel Sanders at the Arena Games Powered by Zwift Montreal

Chase McQueen and Gina Sereno take the win at season opener in Montreal

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

It’s not often the crowd goes absolutely crazy for the guy who came sixth, but that’s what happened today at the Olympic Centre pool in Montreal, the home of the Olympic Games swimming competition in 1976, as Lionel Sanders thrilled the crowd with a sixth-place finish at the race.

It was a fairy-tale ending for Americans Chase McQueen and Gina Sereno. The couple started the 2023 season with a bang on Saturday, each finishing at the top of the podium at the Arena Games Triathlon Series.

“I’m speechless,” said McQueen after finishing the race a mere two seconds ahead of second-place Henri Schoeman of South Africa. For Schoeman, it was a comeback after a difficult last season.

“I’m just so happy to be back on the podium,” he said.

Third place went to Jack Stanton-Stock of Great Britain.

Henri Schoeman, Chase McQueen and Jack Stanton-Scott on the podium at the Arena Games Montreal. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

All credited the enthusiasm of the crowd for their performance in the gruelling three-stage final, which saw athletes swim 200 metres, bike four km on the Zwift platform then run one km, on Zwift, then take a five-minute break before doing it all over again in reverse order.

“The atmosphere here was amazing,” said Schoeman, who said every burst of applause from the fans drove up his watts on the bike legs.

Lionel Sanders exits the water at the Arena Games Montreal. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

The crowd, however, saved their biggest cheers for the clear favourite, Lionel Sanders, who powered his way into the final with a record-smashing bike performance in the heats. The long-distance star took sixth.

Sereno in control

Gina Sereno.

Sereno beat Australia’s Sophie Linn by more than 30 seconds at the Arena Games Triathlon Series Montreal powered by Zwift.

“I’m so stoked,” said Sereno, 27, looking composed and scarcely tired after a race that saw her come out of the water in the middle of the pack, but nearly catch up with her clear rival, Linn, by the end of the first 4 km bike leg. Within 400 metres of the 1 km run, Serena caught Linn, ending Stage One with a nine-second lead. She never looked back.

Dominika Jamnicky, Gina Sereno and Sophie Linn on the podium at the Arena Games Montreal. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

In third place was Canadian Dominika Jamnicky, who expressed shock at her podium finish after just barely making it into the final after the morning heats.

“I’m over the moon,” she said.