Lionel Sanders of Canada and Holly Lawrence of Great Britain won the elite titles at Ironman 70.3 California at Oceanside.
Lionel Sanders was looking forward to a rematch of his 2015 Oceanside duel with Jan Frodeno, but when the two-time Ironman World Champion flatted 15 miles into the bike leg, Sanders had to settle for his best swim ever and a second straight Oceanside 70.3 victory.
Sanders surprised himself and his competitors with a 25:20 swim that was just 2 minutes behind swim leader Frodeno and 1:40 behind multiple Oceanside 70.3 winner Potts. That left the Canadian with half his usual swim deficit and capitalized on the advantage. Pushing 370 watts, Sanders surged into Frodeno’s wake only to find the German parked after flatting on the first miles of the course’s sojourn through the Camp Pendleton Marine base.
After a by-far race-best 2:05:42 bike split, Sanders had a 4:49 lead on Chris Leiferman of the U.S., 5 and half minutes on Andreas Dreitz of Germany, 8 minutes on Trevor Wurtele of Canada, and 9 minutes on Potts and Ronnie Schildknecht of Switzerland.
Sanders then posted a conservative third-best 1:14:06 run to finish in 3:50:04 with a comfortable margin of victory over Leiferman, who made up 1:54 with a race-best 1:12:12 run but fell 3:11 short of the victory. Schildknecht, the 8-time Ironman Switzerland champion, ran a second-best 1:13:08 half marathon to grab third place, 7:45 off the winner.
After five months rest from competition, Holly Lawrence started 2017 in the same form as she left 2016 – with a dominating victory at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. Lawrence came within 2 seconds of
matching Jennifer Spieldenner’s leading swim, then put the hammer down. After her by-far women’s best 2:21:40 bike split, Lawrence carved out a 6 minutes lead on Heather Wurtele of Canada, 7 minutes on Ellie Salthouse of Australia, 9 minutes on Spieldenner and 10 minutes on Heather Jackson.
On the wings of a women’s 3rd-fastest 1:22:16 run, Lawrence finished in 4:14:18 with a 9:03 margin of victory over Salthouse (1:23:59 run) and 11:04 over 3rd-place finisher Heather Wurtele (1:26:55 run). Heather Jackson closed with a women’s 4th-best 1:23:01 run to take 4th place.
Six and a half months after giving birth, Rachel Joyce returned to competition with a 7th place finish, 17 minutes back of Lawrence.
Ironman 70.3 California
April 1, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:50:04
2. Chris Leiferman (USA) 3:53:15
3. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) 3:57:49
4. Andreas Dreitz (GER) 3:58:09
5. Andy Potts (USA) 3:58:25
6. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 3:59:15
7. Domenico Passuello (ITA) 4:00:15
8. Joe Gambles (AUS) 4:00:36
9. Kennett Peterson (USA) 4:03:13
10. Jason Pederson (USA) 4:03:13
1. Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:14:18
2.Ellie Salthouse (AUS) 4:23:21
3. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:25:22
4. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:25:52
5. Jennifer Spieldenner (USA) 4:28:07
6. Jackie Hering (USA) 4:28:31
7. Rachel Joyce (GBR) 4:31:20
8. Kelsey Withrow (USA) 4:34:20
9. Malindi Elmore (CAN) 4:35:16
10. Allison Linnell (USA) 4:38:46