Iden’s fellow Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt, who rode the new CADEX Tri frameset, finished second, while Aaron Royle, who races for Giant Australia, finished third in the middle-distance event.
Featuring a first place offering of $100,000 each for both the men’s and women’s events, the inaugural PTO Canadian Open featured a stacked men’s field including seven of the top-10 finishers from the recent Ironman World Championships in St. George, Utah—an event that Blummenfelt won in May.
Royle started off strong, joining a lead pack in the 2km swim, just behind early leader Henri Schoeman of South Africa. Iden and Blummenfelt finished the swim at Hawrelak Park not far off pace, just 1:16 behind the leader heading out of the first transition.
From there, Iden and Blummenfelt, training partners who both ride with CADEX Aero WheelSystems, went to work on the 80km bike leg. They made up ground, catching and passing several early frontrunners in pursuit of leaders Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain and Sam Laidlow of France.
By the time they hit the run, Iden and Blummenfelt were together in a seven-man group that was 1:07 behind the lead duo. Coming out of the second transition, the two Norwegians immediately began closing in on the leaders. Running side by side, they passed Brownlee and closed to within 16 seconds of Laidlow. Shortly after that, however, disaster seemed to strike as Blummenfelt came to a halt with an apparent leg injury or cramp.
Iden surged ahead, and by the midway point of the 18km run he had a lead of 1:30 over Blummenfelt. But the Olympic champion was able to recover, setting up a dramatic duel over the final kilometers.
“I was cramping up and I was happy to be able to come back again in the race and fight for the win, at least in the end and be back on the podium,” Blummenfelt explained to tri247.com.
Blummenfelt was flying in the closing kilometers, closing in on his training partner, getting within 30 seconds. “At one point there, I thought I had to pull out, and then to come back and get second and $70,000 isn’t too bad,” Blummenfelt said.
Digging deep, Iden was ultimately able to hold off Blummenfelt and take the win. He powered to the finish line with a winning margin of 27 seconds. Blummenfelt took the second step of the podium and Royle finished third to complete the sweep for CADEX.