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Sam Long dominates Ironman 70.3 Boulder as Lionel Sanders takes another sprint for second

There was no competition for the win, but once again the Canadian star generated lots of excitement with a sprint for second

Photo by: Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images for Ironman

American Sam Long continued his winning streak (he’s pictured taking the Ironman 70.3 North American title in May) with another dominant performance on home territory at Ironman 70.3 Boulder today, but Lionel Sanders showed once again why he’s one of the sport’s most popular competitors, taking an exciting sprint for second. You can now add today’s race in Boulder to Sanders’ legendary finishes in St. George (the 70.3 North American Championship, where he won over Long in 2021, last year’s Ironman World Championship, where he passed Braden Currie in the last few hundred metres to take second) and at 70.3 Oceanside last year, where he out sprinted Rudy Von Berg to take second. There’s a reason why, even when he doesn’t win, Sanders continues to thrill his fans.

5 Reasons Lionel Sanders is one of the sport’s most talked about pros

Sharpe leads out of the water

Defending champion Matt Sharpe led the way out of the water alongside American Braxton Bokos and Australia’s Sam Appleton, but Long, Sanders and American Chris Leiferman were all part of a huge chase group that hit T1 just over two minutes down.

Long flew through transition and quickly started moving towards the front, accompanied by Sanders, but it wasn’t long before Long (sorry, couldn’t resist) started pulling clear of his Canadian rival. He was just 13 seconds behind Sharpe through 42.2 km, and just 13 km later the American was 1:29 ahead of the defending champ and just over two minutes up on Sanders.

By the end of the bike Long was just under four minutes ahead of a group that included Leiferman, Sharpe and Sanders.

Sprint for second

Sharpe and Sanders quickly opened up some space on Leiferman through the early stages of the run, but all were losing time to Long, who continued to power away at the front. Through 13.7 km Sanders and Sharpe were just under five minutes behind, with Leiferman about 15 seconds behind them. Sharpe would eventually fade, leaving the race for second to Sanders and Leiferman.

Up ahead Long broke the tape after a 1:11:50 run split in a time of 3:33:23. Leiferman appeared to have pulled ahead of Sanders, but somehow the Canadian managed to get back into the mix, setting up a sprint to the finish. Sanders got the inside line on the final corner, which proved to be just enough to eke out the runner-up spot – 3:38:13 to Leiferman’s 3:38:14. Sharpe would also get pipped at the end of the race by Mexico’s Tomas Rodriguez Hernandez, who used the days fastest run split (1:09:27) to take fourth (3:39:23) with Sharpe rounding out the top-5 (3:39:35).