Lionel Sanders and Kaisa Sali Claim Victories At 2017 Ironman Arizona Triathlon
Lionel Sanders (CAN) came into IRONMAN Arizona as the clear favorite. With two consecutive wins in Tempe (2015 and 2016) and coming up just minutes short of capturing the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship victory last month, expectations were high.
Sanders didn’t fail to live up to the pre-race hype. He exited the water in sixth, just 2:28 off the leader’s pace, which is considered a win for Sanders, looking back at his previous deficits coming out of the water. Knocking off the race-best bike and runs on the day rewarded the Canadian the victory by a winning margin of over 13 minutes who appeared to let off the gas in the late stages of the marathon.
The women’s race was much closer throughout the bike and run as four women were within less than four minutes of each other coming off the bike. Jen Annett (CAN) led the charge into transition followed by Helle Frederiksen (DEN), Kasi Sali (FIN) and Michelle Vesterby (DEN).
Frederiksen (who was making her debut at the IRONMAN distance) and Sali ran stride for stride for the first half of the run that saw the pair storm their way into the lead at 9 miles. Sali would eventually shake off Frederiksen early in the second half of the run but Frederiksen managed to keep her deficit to three minutes for the remainder of the run. Sali would survive Frederiksen’s perseverance and went on to take her second IRONMAN win of her career.
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