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Lionel Sanders successfully defends Ironman 70.3 Oceanside title

Sanders clocks 3:50:04 at North American Ironman season opener

Photo courtesy of Erin MacDonald
Photo courtesy of Erin MacDonald

Lionel Sanders claimed his third consecutive Ironman 70.3 victory of 2017 among the stacked field at Oceanside this morning, delivering his best swim to date and taking control of the bike leg for a comfortable lead over half the 90-km course and the entire run. His main contender, world champion Jan Frodeno, lost valuable time on the bike due to a punctured tire, so the showdown everyone was hoping for was put to an end early into the bike.

Sanders came out of the water in the chase pack, with a small deficit behind the lead group that included Frodeno and Andy Potts. His 25:20 swim was his fastest ever and set him up for a good position heading out of T1. Early into the bike, Sanders began building his lead and overtook the front men to clock at 2:05:42 bike split, the only one of the day under 2:10. His 1:14:06 run split brought him in to a comfortable victory of 3:50:04. USA’s Chris Leiferman took second and Switzerland’s Ronnie Schildknecht claimed third. Trevor Wurtele took sixth as the only other Canadian man to finish in the top 10.

On the women’s side, Holly Lawrence claimed the win with Ellie Salthouse taking second and Heather Wurtele, the defending champ, coming in third, after being overtaken by Salthouse on the run. Canada’s Malindi Elmore took ninth.

Follow along with the live finishing results here.

We’ll have a full recap including quotes and a race gallery up on the website soon.