Lionel Sanders’ 2019 season debut will have to wait. On April 3rd, Sanders announced on his Instagram that he would not be racing Ironman 70.3 Oceanside due to an aggravated sciatic nerve.

I am sad to announce that I have had to withdraw from Oceanside this year. I stepped funny on a run last week and aggravated my sciatic nerve. It is getting better but not in time for the race. Really sucks, but sometimes you have to listen to the body. Best of luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Related: Ironman 70.3 Oceanside: No Frodo-Sanders showdown

This year’s race was once hyped as another Frodo-Sanders showdown, but with Jan Frodeno not making the start list and now Sanders withdrawing, the race remains wide open. Favourites include Tim Reed (70.3 world champion), Eric Lagerstrom (two-time Ironman 70.3 winner), Rodolphe Von Berg (70.3 European champion), Sam Appleton (12-time Ironman 70.3 winner) and Ben Kanute (2017 runner-up at 70.3 worlds). Canadian Taylor Reid will also be competing for a high placing in Oceanside, California.

In March, Sanders also announced his plan to try to qualify for Kona at the Ironman North American Championship in Texas. Now with this injury, the question remains if Sanders will be ready for April 27th to earn his Kona birth?

Related: Lionel Sanders sets a record time up Kitt Peak

This past winter, Sanders appears to have done lots of high-quality training to make amends for last season. He has spent the majority of his winter out in Tucson, Arizona, riding outdoors more – taking Strava KOM’s from professional cyclists. While also mixing in a healthy dose of Zwift. At the Zwift Canadian National Championships, Sanders finished 20th overall.

Ironman 70.3 Oceanside takes place on Saturday, April 6th.

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