Lionel Sanders of Canada and Haley Chura of the U.S. cinched the elite titles at Ironman 70.3 Buenos Aires with race-best runs.
Sanders overcame his usual large swim deficit of 3:16 with race-best splits on the bike (1:59:27) and run (1:13:10) to finish in 3:42:47 with a 3:28 margin of victory over Rodolphe Von Berg of the U.S. and 4:05 over 3rd place Igor Amorelli of Brazil.
Chura opened a 2:44 lead with a women’s-best 25:37 swim and then surrendered 9:07 to Great Britain’s Kimberley Morrison who clocked an impressive 2:16:38 bike split that gave her a 6:38 lead at T2. On her way to a race-best run, Chura passed Morrison in the final miles to take the win by less than a minute.
Italian-born Rodolphe Von Berg, now racing for the U.S., led the swim in 24:03 which gave him a 4 seconds lead on Marcus Fernandes of Brazil, 31 seconds on top contender Igor Amorelli of Brazil, 44 seconds on Reinaldo Colucci of Brazil, 1:20 on Leon Griffin of Australia, 1:26 on Ben Hoffman of the U.S., 1:34 to 1:36 on Eneko Llanos of Spain and Guilherme Manocchio of Brazil, 2:42 on Santiago Ascenco of Brazil, and 3:16 on Sanders.
Halfway through the 90 kilometer bike leg, Sanders charged to the top, creating a 2 seconds lead on Amorelli, 4 seconds on Fernandes, 11 seconds on Von Berg, 1:10 on Hoffman, 1:49 on Ascenco, 1:54 on Colucci, 1:56 on Manocchio, and 1:59 on Griffin. There was no report on why multiple Ironman and 70.3 champion Eneko Llanos was lagging 5:37 arrears.
By 60km, Sanders and Amorelli broke away to a 1:19 lead on Von Berg, 2:15 on Hoffman and 3:30 on a quartet including Luciano Taccone of Argentina, Griffin, Colucci and Fellipe Santos of Brazil. After race-best 1:59:27 and 2:01:40 bike splits, Sanders and Amorelli entered T2 together with a 3:04 lead on Von Berg, 3:59 on Hoffman, 4:40 on Fernandes and 5:45 on Ascenco and Colucci.
By 7km of the run, Sanders opened a 1:48 lead on Amorelli, 4:39 on Von Berg and 5:42 on Hoffman. By 11km, Sanders had a 3:07 lead on Amorelli, 5:08 on Von Berg and just over 6 minutes on Colucci and Hoffman.
After a race-best 1:13:10 run, Sanders finished with a 3:28 margin of victory over Von Berg (4th-best 1:13:47 run) and 4:05 on 3rd-place Amorelli (1:17:21 run). After losing ground with a 2:07:28 bike split, Colucci held 4th with a 3rd-fastest 1:13:29 run.
Sanders’ victory was his 15th at the 70.3 distance and his 2nd in 2017 after a dominating performance in January at Ironman 70.3 Pucon. Sanders also has four Ironman victories including an Ironman brand world record time of 7:44:29 at Ironman Arizona last November.
Chura began her day with a women’s-best 25:37 swim which gave her an advantage of 2:44 to 2:49 over a quintet of challengers including Kimberley Morrison of Great Britain. Morrison then jetted away with a by-far women's-best 2:16:38 bike split that was 9:07 better than Chura and which gave her a 6:28 lead over the U.S. star. Chura went to work chopping away at her deficit, passing Morrison in the final miles on her way to a women's-best 1:22:29 run that brought her to the finish in 4:17:42 with a 47 seconds margin of victory.
While Chura is famed for her swim, she has proved many times that her run was good enough to secure victory. Previously Chura won the overall title at the 2012 USAT age group nationals , 2013 Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, 2014 Ironman Fortaleza and the 2014 Challenge Half in Florianopolis.
Ironman 70.3 Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, Argentina
March 12, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1, Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:42:47
2. Rodolphe Von Berg (USA) 3:46:15
3. Igor Amorelli (BRA) 3:46:52
4. Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) 3:48:49
5. Santiago Ascenco (BRA) 3:49:28
6. Ben Hoffman (USA) 3:49:58
7. Luciano Taccone (ARG) 3:50:12
8. Guilherme Manocchio (BRA) 3:50:29
9. Marcus Fernandes (BRA) 3:52:11
10. Fellipe Santos (BRA) 3:53:47
1. Haley Chura (USA) 4:17:42
2. Kimberley Morrison (GBR) 4:18:29
3. Ariane Monticeli (BRA) 4:25:13
4. Carol Furriela (BRA) 4:28:51
5. Romina Palacio Balena (ARG) 4:28:56
6. Luiza Cravo de Azevado (BRA) 4:29:07
7. Ruth Brennan Morrey (USA) 4:29:51
8. Pamela Tastets (CHL) 4:31:53
9. Bruna Mahn (BRA) 4:39:26
10. Erika Simon (ARG) 4:43:38