Iden Tops Blummenfelt at PTO Canadian Open

Olympic champs Alistair Brownlee and Kristian Blummenfelt were pushing the pace in the PTO Canadian Open run as expected when illness and injury threw matters awry.

After arriving at T2 with rival Sam Laidlow with a minute lead on their chasers, Alistair Brownlee clutched his abdominal area. stumbled, walked and took some time to recover before proceeding to engage in a humble finish. Moments later, superstar Kristian Blummenfelt clutched his quad and sat in the grass looking deathly ill. Soon thereafter, surprisingly competitive Laidlow also grabbed his quad, leaving the spotlight to Blummenfelt’s Norwegian countryman with a solo lead.

Blummenfelt fell a minute behind then made a seemingly miraculous recovery and took off after his countryman. Quickly, Blummenfelt whittled his 90 second deficit from 1:07 to 51 seconds to 36 seconds to 27 seconds when time ran out.

So, a much-anticipated mano a mano duel between the Norwegians for a $100,000 prize was cut 27 seconds short of a miracle recovery.

Iden, the World 70.3 World Champion, cruised to his $100,000 payday, while Blummenfelt scooped up the $70,000 reward for the runner-up slot.

The chaos let longshot Australian Aaron Royle into third place where he could cash the $50,000 prize.

Race Details


The beginning: Six men broke clear on the swim, led by Henri Schoeman of South Africa, soon joined by Aaron Royle of Australia, Alistair Brownlee, Sam Laidlow of France, Ben Kanute of the U.S., and Kyle Smith of New Zealand.

The chasers were led by Olympic, World Triathlon and IRONMAN World Champion Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), who was 1:16 back on the pace-setting Commonwealth Games gold medalist. The Blummenfelt group included Miki Taagholt (DEN), Frederic Funk (GER) and Gustav Iden (NOR).

There were two dozen athletes within two minutes of the leader after the swim but as expected, Lionel Sanders of Canada was 34th, 3:48 down. Sebastian Kienle joined Sanders, but the duo were four minutes behind Brownlee and Laidlow.

Due to a lack of training, Brownlee soon fell afoul on the run. Laidlow started the second lap of four with a 16 seconds lead. Soon Blummenfelt and Iden were racing to the front, but the Olympic champion came a cropper with combination cramp and quad injury.

While not a perfect duel between the two great Norwegians, the drama was plentiful and well worth the rich paydays.

PTO Canadian Open
Edmonton. Alberta, Canada
July 24, 2022
S 2 k / B 80k / R 18k

Men

1. Gustav Iden (NOR) 3:10:48 - $100,000
2. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 3:11:15 - $70,000
3. Aaron Royle (AUS) 3:14:26 - $50,000
4. Sam Laidlow (FRA) 3:14:47 - $40,000
5. Fred Funk (GER) 3:14:56 - $35,000
6. Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) 3:15:23 - $30,000
7. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:15:49 - $25,000
8. Max Neumann (AUS) 3:16:39 - $20,000
9. Kyle Smith (NZL) 3:17:02 - $18,000
10. Miki Taagholt (DEN) 3:17:14 - $16,000.