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Triathlon News & Notes: Lionel Sanders Leans Into #Vanlife, Brownlee Stress Fracture, A Tragic Death, and More

The news from around the multisport world this week.

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Lionel Sanders teams up with Winnebago

Canadian pro triathlete Lionel Sanders is joining the #vanlife. Thanks to a brand-new partnership with Winnebago, the 34-year–old has access to a Revel, the R.V. brand’s top-of-the-line sprinter-style camper van, which he’ll use as a home base for training and relaxing between competitions, according to the company. “It played a crucial role in those hard, hot brick sessions in preparation for @professionaltriathletesorg US Open in Dallas and the @ironmantri World Champs in Kona!” Sanders posted. He also posted a video on his YouTube channel showcasing his use of the Revel while training in Tucson.

Flora Duffy gets Wild Card invite to 70.3 World Champs

Bermuda’s Flora Duffy is setting her sights on adding another feather to her very-full cap: Ironman 70.3 world champ. The 34-year-old Olympic champ shared that she received a wild card invitation from Ironman and plans to race after years of missed opportunities. “In 2018, I got injured, an injury that somewhat kept me down through Nice 2019,” she posted. “I then did qualify for the 2020 World in New Zealand, but the race was canceled due to Covid. My slot was rolled to 2021 but after the Olympics I was exhausted and did not race. So laid out like this, it has been a journey, this year included. I am really thrilled to get to start finally.”

Kiwi pro triathlete dies in mountain biking accident

Emily McNaughtan, a professional triathlete from New Zealand, died on Sept. 11 as a result of injuries sustained in a mountain bike accident the previous Sunday, Triathlon New Zealand reported. McNaughtan, 28, is being remembered as a “shining light who had just started to stamp her mark as a professional triathlete” after achieving success as a national field hockey player. McNaughtan, who recently posted videos of her riding her mountain bike and shared her love of off-road riding on her Instagram feed, raced her first triathlon in 2018, and just three years later placed third at Ironman New Zealand—her pro debut at the distance. McNaughtan’s funeral is set for next Wednesday, guests are encouraged to ride their bike to the service in her honor.

Dutch Olympian Helle Frederiksen launches training app

From startling lines to start ups, Danish pro triathlete Helle Frederiksen has gamely navigated retirement from racing by launching a training app with her husband, Ben, a former CMO at CeramicSpeed. Kollektiv, an “affordable, all-inclusive triathlon training platform” has raised  about $1.5 million (11m Danish Krone) in a pre-seed round of funding, it was reported this week. Kollektiv reports having secured about $160,000 in revenue since it launched in beta in February, 2020 with users from 55 countries. “What Kollektiv is aiming to do is place the creator of the content at the center of three models that we’ve seen achieve success in the past: training (Peloton and Zwift, for example), learning (Masterclass), and community (Strava),” reported Tech.EU. This isn’t the only new venture Frederiksen, a 2012 Olympian and 2018 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Champ, has pursued in retirement: She also published a memoir in 2021 and had her first child in May. 

Alistair Brownlee sidelined with stress fracture

Just three weeks after topping the podium at Ironman Kalmar in a record-breaking time of 7:38:48, British pro Alistair Brownlee shared that his season is over. “I’ve got a stress fracture in my femur and won’t be racing for the rest of the year,” the 34-year-old posted. Brownlee’s recent race, as well as his win at Ironman Swansea 70.3 in early August, were comebacks of sorts after having to drop out of the Phoenix Sub7 project with a stress response in his hip and missing the Ironman World Championships in May due to illness. “The last few months have been more than a little testing, but I’ll do everything I can to work out what the problem is and be back training soon,” Brownlee shared.

Super League Triathlon grand finale to be part of NEOM Beach Games.

More details are emerging about the Super League Triathlon Grand Finale in NEOM,  a futuristic mega-city being built in Saudi Arabia. The event will be part of the first edition of the NEOM Beach Games, which also includes international competitions involving kite surfing, 3×3 basketball, beach soccer, and mountain biking—all taking place between October and December.  Super League Triathlon’s Grand Finale, which  marks the end of a five-event global Championship Series, is set for Oct. 29.

Podcast Notes

  • ProTriathlon news posted two episodes this week, one projecting about Super League Triathlon Malibu and the other the recording of the PTO press conference in Dallas. Both events take place this weekend.
  • It’s a tale of two races on That Triathlon Life: host Eric Lagerstrom recaps his win at Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz, while co-host Nick offers insight into his DNF at Ironman Wisconsin.
  • IronWomen brings on Australian pro Dimity-Lee Duke, who, after facing a series of COVID-related health issues, is gearing up to race in Kona.
  • TriDot sends some love to back-of-the-packers with an episode featuring training tips for those out there on the course for longer durations, including fueling, gear considerations, mental toughness, avoiding time cut-offs, and more.
  • Pro triathlete Sam Laidlow heads to MX Endurance podcast, where he talks about his big race at the Collins Cup last month, plus his goals for Kona.