Canadians Lionel Sanders and Heather Wurtele used strong bike and run splits to win Ironman 70.3 California.
Sanders overcame a 3:05 deficit after the swim with a race-best 2:07:47 bike split and a race-fastest 1:11:42 half-marathon to finish in 3:51:17 with a 39 seconds margin over Andreas Dreitz of Germany and 1:23 over Tm Reed of Australia. The Canadian passed long-time leader Dreitz at mile 9 of the run. Sanders thus improved on his 3rd place finish last year behind Jan Frodeno and Andy Potts.
“There is nothing I love more than a hard fought race from start to finish,” Sanders wrote on Facebook. “I think you need others to help you push yourself to the best of your ability. Today Andreas Dreitz went hard off the front, and helped me to push myself to the best of my ability. Almost the entire time on the run I was thinking “Man, this is so much fun!” When you are operating at max capacity, the end result is irrelevant. Of course, winning is great, but today I gave it everything I had, and that is far more meaningful.”
Heather Wurtele took every mile of the 56-mile bike leg she traveled in a women's best 2:22:18 split to make up for her 2:04 deficit after the swim. Once on the run, Wurtele quickly took charge and left Holly Lawrence, Alicia Kaye, Caroline Steffen and two-time defending champion Heather Jackson in her dust. At the finish Wurtele’s women’s 2nd–best 1:21:33 split brought her to the line in 4:16:17 with a 1:22 margin of victory over Steffen (women's best 1:21:14 run) and 2:15 over Heather Jackson (1:21:55 run).
Wurtele said, “I had one of those days where my legs felt amazing on the bike so I really pushed hard. I felt it on the run though and I really had to hold on.”
Chris Braden of the U.S. led the swim in 23:28, followed closely by Andy Potts (+4s), then Nicholas Kastelein of Australia (+9s), Brian Fleischman of the U.S. (+10s), Manuel Kueng of Switzerland (+11s) Sam Appleton of Australia (+14s), Pieter Heemeryck (+14s), Andreas Dreitz of Germany (+19s), Tim Reed of Australia (+22s), Maik Twelsiek of Germany (+24s) and Eneko Llanos of Spain (+27s). Key competitors more than a minute back included Joe Gambles of Australia, Trevor Wurtele of Canada and 2 plus minutes back were Jesse Thomas of the U.S., Sebastian Kienle of Germany and Pedro Gomes of Portugal???
Dreitz charged to lead the bike leg at mile 12 by 3 seconds on Reed, 5 seconds on Appleton, 8 seconds on Potts, 47 seconds on Maik Twelsiek, 1:13 on Llanos with bike powerhouses Sanders, Kienle, Jesse Thomas and Jordan Rapp 2:32 to 2:51 back.
By mile 38, Dreitz opened a 12 seconds gap on Appleton, 1:40 on Potts and Reed, 2:12 on Twelsiek with Sanders, Kienle, Wurtele, Thomas and Llanos 2:45 arrears. With 5 miles to go, Dreitz extended his lead to 2:30 over Sanders, Appleton, Reed, Potts and Twelsiek.
By the end of the 56-mile bike leg, Dreitz’s 2nd-best 2:07:52 bike leg gave him 2:43 lead on Potts, 2:45 on Sanders (race-best 2:07:48 split), 1:33 on Thomas, 2:40 on Trevor Wurtele, 3:01 on Reed, 3:04 on Appleton and 3:13 on Jordan Rapp.
By 7 miles into the run, Sanders was flying toward a race-best run and had reduced Dreitz’s lead to 40 seconds. At mile 9, Sanders made the kill and sailed on to a race-best 1:11:42 half marathon that brought him to the line in 3:51:17 with a 39 seconds margin on Dreitz (1:15:08 run) and 1:23 on 3rd-place finisher Tim Reed (3rd-best 1:12:57 run).
Kienle, the 3rd-place finisher here in 2014, finished 12th with a 1:14:31 run.
Holly Lawrence of Great Britain led the women with a 25:01 split. Right on her feet were Ellie Salthouse of Australia, and U.S. stars Mary Beth Ellis, Jennifer Spieldenner and Alicia Kaye, Next out of the water were Emily Cocks of the U.S. (+27s), Camilla Pedersen of Denmark (+29s) and Caroline Steffen of Switzerland (+39s). Sure to advance were bike and run stars Heather Wurtele (+2:04), Heather Jackson (+2:06) and Michelle Vesterby (+2:11).
By 12 miles into the bike leg, Holly Lawrence and Alicia Kaye led by 47 seconds over a pack of chasers including Mary Beth Ellis, Camilla Pedersen and Ellie Salthouse. Caroline Steffen was 1:17 arrears, Jennifer Spieldenner +2:11, Heather Wurtele +2:12, Heather Jackson +2:36.
At the big climb at the 30 mile mark, Lawrence and Kaye led Heather Wurtele by 1:15, Steffen by 1:25 and Pedersen by 1:42. Salthouse, Ellis and Jackson trailed by 2:30.
At Mile 40, Lawrence led Kaye by a few seconds with Wurtele trailing by 1:05, Steffen by 1:17, Jackson 2:27 down, Pedersen dropping back to 3:18, Salthouse at 3:50 and Ellis at 4:37
At the finish of the 56-mile bike leg, Wurtele’s women's-best 2:22:18 bike split gave her a 7 seconds lead on Lawrence (2:24:38 split), 1:02 on Kaye (2:25:19 split), 1:31 on Steffen (2:24:45), 2:07 on Jackson (2:24:30), 4:54 on Camilla Pedersen, 5:42on Salthouse and 8:36 on Ellis, who faded to an off-form 2:32:53 split.
By mile 3.6 of the run, Wurtele extended her lead to 2:05 over Lawrence, 2:09 on Jackson, 2:22 on Steffen, 3:54 on Kaye, 5:45 on Salthouse and 6:40 on Pedersen. By mile 10.8 Wurtele maintained with a 2:03 lead on Steffen, 2:20 on Jackson, 4:57 on Holly :Lawrence and 6:11 on Salthouse.
By the end, Wurtele’s 2nd-fastest 1:21:33 run split brought her to the finish in 4:16:17 with a 1:22 margin of victory over Steffen, whose race-best 1:21:14 run gave her a 53 seconds advantage on 3rd-place finisher Heather Jackson (3rd-best 1:21:55 run).
Ironman 70.3 California
April 2, 2016
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:51:17
2. Andreas Dreitz (GER) 3:51:56
3. Tim Reed (AUS) 3:52:40
4. Andy Potts (USA) 3:54:44
5. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 3:56:18
6. Jesse Thomas (USA) 3:56:44
7. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 3:57:01
8. Sam Appleton (AUS) 3:57:35
9. Nicholas Kastelein (AUS) 3:58:52
10. Jordan Rapp (USA) 4:00:13
1. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:16:17
2. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:17:39
3. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:18:32
4. Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:21:41
5. Camilla Pedersen (DEN) 4:23:45
6. Alicia Kaye (USA) 4:25:50
7. Laura Phillip (GER) 4:26:58
8. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 4:29:49
9. Malindi Elmore (CAN) 4:30:40
10. Jennifer Spieldenner (USA) 4:33:25