Lionel Sanders proved he’s still got the run speed to hold off some of the sport’s premier short-course athletes with a brilliant defence of his Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells – La Quinta title. The Canadian star added another half-distance title to a resume that’s full of them with an impressive bike/ run combo that was too much for World Triathlon draft-legal stars Vincent Luis (FRA) and Jelle Geens (BEL).
As he has done at pretty much every race he’s done in 2021, Luis led the men out of the water with American veteran Andy Potts leading Geens over a minute behind, with the next chase group over two-minutes down. Sanders was a couple of seconds under three-minutes behind the Frenchman as he hit the bike.
By the end of the bike Sanders had ridden himself to the lead, with Luis hitting T2 just nine seconds behind. It’s been reported that Luis had been led off course during the bike and was hit by a car. Dane Thor Bendix Madsen and American Chris Leiferman were about a minute behind Sanders starting the run, with Potts just under two-minutes back and Geens over five minutes behind as he started the run.
Through the first 10 km of the run Sanders and Luis were running together, but the Canadian was finally able to open up some distance at the 10 km point (16 seconds), but by 14 km Sanders had a bit more breathing room as his lead was up to almost a minute. From there on Luis really started to drop off and Sanders hit the finish in 3:38:19 after a 1:09:19 run split. Luis was almost three-minutes behind in the end, finishing in 3:41:07, but was well-ahead of Geens, who used the day’s fastest run (1:08:18) to move himself to third with a 3:42:30 finishing time.
Canada’s Frank Sorbara would take 19th in 4:03:24, with Nathan Killam finishing 24th in 4:09:13.
You can find results from today’s men’s race here.
Jewett runs to another top finish
American Haley Chura led the women out of the water, well ahead of Guam’s Manami Iijima (1:18 behind) and half-distance rookie Dominika Jamnicky, who was the alternate for the Canadian women’s Olympic team in Tokyo this year, who led a group of five out of the water 1:28 behind Chura. In that group was Denmark’s Line Thams, who would ride her way to the front of the race. Jewett would get to T1 in 12th place, 3:26 behind the lead.
American Danielle Lewis (formerly Dingman) had an inspired bike – after coming out of the water 5:19 behind Chura she rode her way to second, hitting T2 27-seconds behind the Dane. Jamnicky would start the run over seven minutes behind Thams in fifth, while Jewett would start the run in eighth, 9:46 behind the leader.
As we’re used to seeing, though, Jewett simply blasted through the field, gaining time on all those around her. She would eventually run out of real-estate, though – her 1:16:01 run split was enough to get her to within a minute of Lewis by the end of the 21.1 km run. Lewis would hang on for the win in 4:14:28 with Jewett crossing the line in 4:15:00. American Ali Brauer would take third in 4:19:30, while Jamnicky made an impressive 70.3 debut with her fourth place finish in 4:20:47. Canadian Lauren Babineau would take 19th in 4:46:10.
You can find results from today’s women’s race here.