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Sanders and Jewett highlight 70.3 Indian Wells – La Quinta field

Large Canadian pro contingent set to race including half-distance debut for Dominika Jamnicky

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Every time we think that Lionel Sanders might be ready to call it a season, he ends up back at another race. This time it is Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells – La Quinta, which he won in 2019 the weekend before he took that year’s Challenge Daytona race. After a busy year that has seen him take a brilliant runner-up finish to Jan Frodeno at Challenge Miami, win 70.3 races in Texas and St. George, second-place finishes at four different full-distance races (the Tri-Battle Royale, Ironman Copenhagen, Ironman Chattanooga and Ironman Florida) walk to the finish line of another (Ironman Coeur d’Alene), and win his leg at the Collins Cup, here’s hoping Sanders is ready to give himself a break after this weekend.

While Sanders will be wearing race #1 for the men, Tamara Jewett will be wearing the first number for the women as she looks to add another 70.3 title to the win she took at Ironman 70.3 Timberman and her runner-up finish at Ironman 70.3 Augusta where she blasted through a 73:08 half-marathon to come within a minute of taking the win.

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More Olympic-distance racers moving up

Sanders wasn’t able to keep pace with Gustav Iden at Ironman Florida as the Norwegian Olympian made a brilliant debut over the full-distance to take the win. This weekend Sanders will face more speedsters from the World Triathlon ranks as France’s Vincent Luis takes another crack at long distance racing (he competed at the PTO 2020 Championship at Challenge Daytona last year, finishing eighth after having to serve a two-minute penalty). Luis appears to be bouncing back from the injury that almost sidelined him from Tokyo earlier this year, and won the non-drafting LA Triathlon earlier this fall, so he will likely be a formidable opponent for Sanders. Belgium’s┬áJelle Geens, long considered one of the strongest runners in draft-legal racing, will also likely be in the mix this weekend as he steps to the half-distance as well.

Others to keep an eye on this weekend include Americans Andy Potts, Benjamin Deal and Chris Leiferman, Denmark’s Miki Taagholt (third at this race in 2019 and fourth at the 70.3 worlds in St. George in September) and Brazil’s Igor Amorelli.

Sanders will be leading a large Canadian contingent in Indian Wells – La Quinta that includes Antoine Francoeur, Nathan Killam, Cody Sahlstrom, Frank Sorbara and Mathieu Gauthier.

Tamara Jewett tries the SOR disc wheel out this summer. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Jamnicky makes half-distance debut

Jewett won’t be the only Canadian woman to keep an eye on this weekend as Dominika Jamnicky, the alternate for the Tokyo Olympics last summer, appears to be making her half-distance debut this weekend.

Dominika Jamnicky rode a regular bike frame at the non-drafting Canadian Pro Triathlon Championship in 2020. One assumes she’ll be on a tri bike this weekend!

In October Jamnicky ran 34:06 at the Canadian 10 km Road Championships and took the silver medal at the Americas Cup race in St. George at the end of that month. Another Canadian in the field is Lauren Babineau, who finished 10th overall (eighth pro) at this race in 2019.

Tamara Jewett blasts through a 1:13 half-marathon to take a close second at Ironman 70.3 Augusta

Americans Chelsea Sodaro and Haley Chura are likely to be Jewett’s main competition this weekend – they were first and second at the inaugural edition of this race in 2018.

You can see the full pro list for this weekend’s race here.