In likely one of the most anticipated showdowns of 2018, Lionel Sanders got the battle he wanted with two-time Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside this morning but failed to catch the German, ultimately finishing second to the two-time world champ. Frodo led from start to finish with a race-best bike split, bettering Sanders by 22 seconds and a blistering 1:10 half marathon to open his 2018 season with a win and prove he’s still the best in a world class field.

Last year, Sanders had been vocal about his disappointment when Frodeno had to pull out of the Oceanside race early with bike issues as the Canadian loves a good battle with the best of the best. The German star was simply on another level today with an overall finishing time of 3:45, coming in over two minutes ahead of a charging Sanders. Though Sanders had a good swim, coming out of the water seventh in the men’s field, it wasn’t enough to catch Frodo on the bike or hang on for the run.

The 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Champion, Tim Reed, took third behind Frodeno and Sanders in the men’s field — not a surprise as the Australian was pegged as a podium favourite heading into the race today and is consistently one of the best swimmers and runners in the field.

On the women’s side, it was another German winner in riding star Anne Haug who has been demolishing every 70/3 race she enters with exceptional run splits. Defending champion Holly Lawrence took second.

Full results here. Check back for comments from the winners and Sanders later this weekend.

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