France’s Sam Laidlow is leading the talent-packed men’s professional field in the 2022 Ironman World Championship in Kona on Saturday morning, breaking the course biking record to lead race favorite Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway.
Laidlow, a 23-year-old rookie, finished the 112-mile bike course in 4 hours, 4 minutes and 34 seconds. The old record of 4:09:06, set in 2018 by Cam Wurf.
Laidlow was second after the 2.4-mile swim in Kailua Bay, in 40:34. Florian Angert led a pack of 19 triathletes out of the water
Laidlow used his blazing fast bike to build about a 5-minute separation over the rest of the field as the racers began the marathon.
Blummenfelt, who finished the bike in 4:11:16, was the second person to enter the run course, and was quickly caught by fellow Norwegian and training partner Gustav Iden. They were running together in the early part of the 26.2-mile run.
The pair were making up time, trailing by only 3:22 just 11 miles into the run.
Laidlow was not among the athletes considered in contention for the victory at the start of the race. He competed in his first Ironman World Championship in St. George, Utah in 2022.
He was the youngest professional in the field and finished 8th.