Lionel Sanders headlines a loaded group of Canadian pros set to race at the second annual Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells-La Quinta on the weekend.

Photo: Kevin Mackinnon.

Sanders, who won the inaugural race last year, will look to make it two-for-two as he continues his tear through the final few months of the season.

After a disappointing 22nd-place finish at the Ironman World Championship in October, the 31-year-old bounced back with a decisive win at 70.3 Los Cabos, and, after this race, he’ll head over to Challenge Daytona to close out a busy 2019. He also had a win at 70.3 Augusta in September.

Sanders’ main challenger will be Australian Joe Gambles, who was second last year. Gambles has three podium finishes at 70.3 races this year, including a win at the Eagleman 70.3 in June.

Another Canadian who has had a busy year is Taylor Reid of Guelph, Ont., who is coming off a win at the half-distance Barrelman triathlon in September. He’s also had three other podium finishes at 70.3 races in 2019.

Other Canadian men entered include Frank Sorbara, Marek Bialkowski, Loren Nelson, and Mikael Nathan.

The women’s race is headlined by defending champ Chelsea Sodaro and Canadian Olympian Paula Findlay.

Sodaro, an American, has had a dominant year, winning Ironman 70.3 races in Santa Rosa, Augusta, and the South American Championship in Buenos Aires, along with a fourth-place showing at the worlds in Nice.

Photo: Kevin Mackinnon.

Edmonton’s Findlay has finished inside the top-4 at four 70.3 races this year, including taking second at the North American Championships in St. George.

Toronto native Tamara Jewett comes into the race with some momentum after solidifying her spot at next year’s 70.3 worlds in Buenos Aires last month. This race was a late addition to Jewett’s 2019 schedule after a broken collarbone derailed her summer plans.

Rounding out the Canadian trio will be Victoria’s Lauren Babineau.

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