Home / Sports / Sanders Earns Come-From-Behind Win, Wurtele Adds Second IRONMAN 70.3 California Title
Heather Wurtele on her way to a second IRONMAN 70.3- California title.

Sanders Earns Come-From-Behind Win, Wurtele Adds Second IRONMAN 70.3 California Title

Oceanside CA— Canadians Lionel Sanders and Heather Wurtele bested an impressive professional field of athletes to earn victories at Saturdays IRONMAN® 70.3® California – Oceanside triathlon. With ideal weather conditions, Sanders recorded a come-from-behind win, finishing in 3:51:17 as Wurtele earned her second victory in Oceanside with a time of 4:16:17.

Men’s Race

Andy Potts and Chris Braden were first out of the water

Andy Potts and Chris Braden were first out of the water

The swim in the cool, calm waters of Oceanside Harbor began with Chris Braden (USA) and Andy Potts (USA) leading a pack of eleven men, all of whom exited the water within 27 seconds of each other. Included in that pack were Sam Appleton (AUS), Andreas Dreitz (GER), Tim Reed (AUS), Maik Twelsiek (GER), and Eneko Llanos (ESP). Strong cyclists Sebastian Kienle (GER) and Lionel Sanders were 2:30 and 3:00 minutes down, respectively.

Once on the bike, Drietz immediately pushed the pace and quickly moved himself to the front of the action – a spot he would not relinquish until late in the run. Behind Drietz, Appleton chased hard to match him while a group comprised of Potts, Reed, and Twelsiek tried to limit their losses. Sanders and Kienle began to gain ground with Sanders eventually pulling away to make first contact with the lead group. Despite what was happening behind him, Drietz was able to maintain his advantage into T2, beginning the run with a lead of 2:38.

As he tried to pull away from a group of strong runners, Drietz paced Potts, Sanders, Reed, Appleton, Twelsiek, and Jesse Thomas (USA) for the majority of the out-and-back. As the first lap ended, Sanders charged hard to get away from the group finally catching and passing Dreitz at the nine-mile point of the course. Dreitz dug deep to keep Sanders in sight, but in the end, Sanders was too strong.

Sanders turned in a race-best run split of 1:11:43 combined with a race-best bike split of 2:07:48 – making him the 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 California winner with a time of 3:51:17. Dreitz held on to finish second, just 39 seconds back, while Tim Reed rounded out the podium.

Top Five professional men’s results:

Swim Bike Run Finish
1.     Lionel Sanders CAN 00:26:33 02:07:48 01:11:43 03:51:17
2.     Andreas Dreitz GER 00:23:47 02:07:52 01:15:09 03:51:56
3.     Tim Reed AUS 00:23:50 02:10:49 01:12:58 03:52:40
4.     Andy Potts USA 00:23:32 02:11:01 01:15:19 03:54:44
5.     Eneko Llanos ESP 00:23:55 02:12:41 01:14:16 03:56:18

Women’s Race

Defending champion Heather Jackson took third place in 2016

Defending champion Heather Jackson took third place in 2016

The women’s race began with a group of Holly Lawrence (GBR), Ellie Salthouse (AUS), Mary Beth Ellis (USA), Jennifer Spieldenner (USA), and Alicia Kaye (USA) exiting the water with a 30-second plus lead over Camilla Pedersen (DNK) and Caroline Steffen (SWI). Previous winner’s Heather Jackson (USA) and Heather Wurtele exited together 2:05 down.

Onto the bike, Lawrence quickly established herself at the front – a position she would stay in until the final mile of the bike – with Kaye close behind. As the race unfolded, Steffen, Wurtele, and Jackson rode their way closer to the front of the pack. Near mile 35, Wurtele made a major move, separating herself from the chase pack and into third place. Wurtele continued to push extremely hard and by the final stretch on Vandergrift road was able to take over the lead entering T2 with a seven second advantage on Lawrence. Kaye, Steffen, and Jackson rounded out the top five into T2 between 1:05 and 2:00 minutes down.

On the run, Wurtele continued to maintain her strong performance and never looked back. Over the ensuing miles, Steffen and Jackson overtook Lawrence but made no gains on Wurtele. They swapped places numerous times with Steffen finally getting the better of Jackson in the final two miles.

Wurtele claimed her second title in three years in Oceanside with a time of 4:16:17. Steffen finished in second, while 2015 winner Heather Jackson came in third.

Top Five professional women’s results:

Swim Bike Run Finish
1.     Heather Wurtele CAN 00:27:05 02:22:18 01:21:34 04:16:17
2.     Caroline Steffen SWI 00:25:39 02:24:45 01:21:14 04:17:39
3.     Heather Jackson USA 00:27:07 02:24:30 01:21:56 04:18:32
4.     Holly Lawrence GBR 00:25:01 02:24:38 01:26:44 04:21:41
5.    Camilla Pedersen DAN 00:25:29 02:28:38 01:23:42 04:23:45

One of more than 90 events in the global IRONMAN 70.3 Series, the IRONMAN 70.3 California – Oceanside triathlon saw more than 2,400 athletes representing 28 countries and 42 states start the race. Competitors ranged in age from 18 to 77. Athletes began their day with a single-loop 1.2-mile swim in the calm and protected waters of Oceanside Harbor. Once out of the water, participants embarked upon a single-loop 56-mile bike course along the California coastline to San Clemente before dropping down into the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and then swinging back to Oceanside Pier. The double-loop 13.1-mile run course continued along the Oceanside Pier and then out to Oceanside’s flat beachfront path known as “The Strand,” where miles of sandy beaches provided beautiful views. The event offered a professional prize purse of $60,000 and a total of 30 coveted age-group qualifying slots to the 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, taking place in Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia on September 4, 2016.

For additional IRONMAN 70.3 California – Oceanside event information visit www.ironman.com/california70.3. Full results for the IRONMAN 70.3 California – Oceanside triathlon can be found at www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman-70.3/california/results.aspx.

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Photos: Steve Marcotte/OsideNews