Windsor Ont.’s Lionel Sanders won his fourth Ironman 70.3 race of the year on Sunday when he defended his Ironman 70.3 Racine title in 3:49: 41. With the win in Wisconsin Sanders becomes the only athlete with four wins over the 70.3 distance this year – he adds the Racine title to his wins at Ironman 70.3 Texas, Mont Tremblant and Muskoka. As he did last year, local hero Andrew Starkowicz had a lead off the bike before Sanders ran him down at the 14 km mark of the 21.1 km run. Sanders topped a world-class field including Richie Cunningham, Leon Griffen, Matt Chrabot and Matt Hanson. After exiting the water in 17th place, Sanders had the day’s second fastest bike split and started the run going after Starkowicz. Sanders was running roughly 30 seconds per mile faster then the leading American and had a 2 min 16 second cushion at the finishing line.
“Lionel knew that Andrew Starkowicz would ride recklessly and Lionel needed to put in a great bike (averaging 44 km / hr) to give himself a chance to run for the win,” said Sanders’ long-time coach Barrie Shepley. The heat and humidity was into the 90s and served as great preparation as Sanders prepares to race in Kona in October. Sanders is the youngest athlete ranked in the top 10 in the World Triathlon Rankings.