by Garneau

POST UPDATE :  following the publishing of this post, Lionel Sanders finished 2nd at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on 14 October. His dogged determination and grit speaks to his character and dedication as an athlete and person. We are #proud!

If one word comes to mind when speaking of Lionel Sanders, it is the word, authentic.  In fact, Lionel Sanders is so much himself he turns heads in the triathlon arena.  Having battled drug addiction earlier in life, Sanders isn't cut from the same cloth as most triathletes.  This is evident in every aspect of the competitor's triathlon training, which is completely inside on trainers and treadmills up until race day.  So when we began collaborating with Sanders on his race kit for the IRONMAN World Championships, we knew we were going to have to think outside the box.

Gennix TR1


The overarching aim of the TR1 was to ensure rider positioning, aerodynamics, and confident handling in real-world conditions. The external cabling and front-end is done to favor rider set-up and allow ease of adjustment for as many athletes as possible. The cockpit, for example, can accept any off-the-shelf bar and stem combos to make things easier for the fitter and the rider. Proprietary or custom front-ends look great but don't always offer the flexibility that we know is so important to athletes and bike fitting pros. Considering how important a rider's position is to aerodynamics, it's key that the position can be adapted on the bike.

The TR1 is also designed to be ultra-stable in the front-end in any type of winds as opposed to just being lab or wind-tunnel tested. This is why you can sometimes see athletes able to run a deeper dish front-wheel on a TR1 than on some other bikes despite being in challenging wind conditions. Lionel, Slowtwitch and others have commented on this. It's a bike designed to accommodate athletes' fitting needs and real-world conditions that affect just how much a rider can drill it when the wind is kicking up (key for a place like Kona). Considering that 75% of aerodynamic drag is created by the cyclist’s position, we’ve opted for a fully adjustable cockpit enabling riders to fine-tune their posture, without limitation. Developed in conjunction with fit specialists, we’ve made sure every athlete could get fitted onto our platform comfortably and quickly.


Lionel's bike, kit, and helmet are part of the DreamFactory Trilogy program.  The DreamFactory Trilogy Concept is the most integrated customization service in the bike industry. It allows our customers to personalize and match their bike to helmet to kit. It allows our customers to stand out. It allows our customers creative control in a fashion-forward setting.


Lionel Sanders Triathlon helmet P-09 for Kona 2017

The P-09 is still fast. It's been tested in the wind tunnel, on the track, with Alphamantis and other aerodynamicists, and in many real-world events.

In Kona, the month of October is characterized by high temperatures, rarely dropping below 83°F.  Lionel will wear the P-09 with the front plug removed to both let air in and squirt water through the opening.  In addition, the internal padding is made of Icefil which converts sweat to a refrigerant.  


The P-09 is transition-fast with retractable ears that allow the rider to enlarge the opening while putting the helmet on the head.  On course, fast is better achieved with the use of the integrated visor which flips up for ease at transition.  

Canada: P-09 Cycling Helmet

USA: P-09 Cycling Helmet

Tri Couse Skin


During the swim leg, the Tri Course Skin will be unzipped and rolled down to the waist.  At transition, Lionel will slip into the top portion for increased aerodynamics.  At the sleeves is a fabric called M-2.  This fabric was developed in collaboration with the Canadian Cycling Team and is rightfully the most aerodynamic fabric you can get. A few features on the Tri Course Skin dial it in according to Sanders.  First, the mesh panels create airflow against the skin which is both physically and mentally important to a rider in the lava fields.  Second, the top can be unzipped or zipped down partially and locked into place with a zipper lock. Third, pockets inside the jersey will house the GPS locator or added nutrition if needed.  And fourth, though his 2017 kit is primarily white, Sanders will still benefit from coldblack® which reduces thermal absorption of heat rays on fabric.  


Triathlon shoes reach a new level of performance and comfort with the TRI-400 shoes. The Power Flex strap, a reversed hook and loop fastener closure, is combined with the ultra-light Bao® IP1 system for amazing support without pressure points. The Carbon HM X-Lite outsole with titanium inserts is ultra-light and rigid for better power transfer, and the 4.3 mm carbon platform brings your feet closer to the pedal for even more power. Inside the heel cup, the HRS-400 retention system with a 2 mm membrane holds the heel firmly in place, reducing loss of power and preventing blisters caused by the irritation of an awkward fit. The Icefil insole, mesh upper and patented air channel system provide the ventilation to keep your feet cool and dry.


Full Mesh Singlet

Probably, the key difference between Lionel Sanders and the rest of the pro field at the IRONMAN World Championship is the fact that Lionel will willingly lose seconds at transition.  The reason for this loss of time is to change into an aerated running piece and short. 

We develop A LOT of clothing styles for Lionel. Some are just for him (that nutty-hugger brief that he runs in sometimes or this full mesh singlet) whereas others are adaptations of custom and inline kits that we offer across our line-up to anyone that's equipped in Garneau. Lionel is naturally curious, looking for the smallest advantages and willing to try things, so he's a great partner on this front. Our pattern makers and product managers are able to try many different permutations to get stuff that Lionel feels great wearing and that's been tested for comfort, especially in hot conditions. We get to play with materials and have an athlete that is ready to extensively test and provide his detailed feedback to help us improve. Much of what we do with him makes its way back into the line with rolling updates and changes. 


Tri Power Shorts

Though Lionel almost opted for a running short, he determined that often the looser fit can cause chafing.  So the Tri Power Shorts were selected for the run portion.  The  shorts with a black base are engineered with the protective coldblack® finish that doubles as a sun reflector and UV protector. So black doesn't necessarily mean hot.  The compressive nature of these shorts also allow Sanders the flexibility of adding water sponges should he need further cooling.  


Skechers Go Run 5

Completing the gear lineup for Kona 2017 is a pair of Skechers Go Run 5 shoes.  Sanders will lace up a trusted and true pair that's he's been logging the miles in.  Designed for speed, the Go Run 5 shoes are responsive, supportive and lightning fast.