Mika Noodt tore up that Jackson Laundry vs Lionel Sanders rematch script by putting the Canadian stars to the sword with a brilliant victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta on Sunday.
Laundry had just beaten Sanders to the win at 70.3 Michigan last weekend, and the pair were expected to fight it out for top spot on the podium again here.
Noodt though, clearly now getting back to his precocious best after a long spell on the sidelines due to injury, was at the head of affairs throughout the day in Georgia, and pulled away from Laundry on the run to claim an impressive win.
Sanders plugged on to claim the final spot on the podium, but he was never close enough to get in a blow at his rivals.
Canada’s Paula Findlay claimed a fine victory in the race for Pro women, holding off the run prowess of compatriot Tamara Jewett after building a very handy lead on the bike.
Pro Men Race Recap
German prodigy Noodt, continuing his comeback after a long period out of action, led the field out of the water in Georgia with a 43-second advantage over American Robert Swan. Laundry was just behind in third with Sanders down in 15th and just over two minutes off the pace.
Laundry halved the deficit to Noodt by the time the pair emerged from T1 onto two wheels, and he caught the German early in the bike leg. Trevor Foley and Sanders meanwhile quickly cut through the field to complete the front four approaching halfway through the leg, still just over two minutes back.
Noodt and Laundry were still locked together as they arrived in T2 at the head of affairs, but by now the pair had doubled the gap to Foley and Sanders, who were both around four minutes off the pace and with plenty to do on the run.
Mika gained around 15 seconds on Laundry in transition, and he started to build on that advantage as the run got into full swing. As they passed the 6-mile mark he had a lead of 1:14, with Sanders and Foley still almost four minutes back. Things were now looking very promising for the 23-year-old German.
The further they went, the more Noodt’s advantage over Laundry grew while Lionel was struggling to make any real inroads. The German star was emphatically ripping up that much-hyped rematch script after Frankfort.
Noodt eventually took the tape after closing out his day with a 1:12:33 run, finishing some 2:24 ahead of Laundry. Sanders meanwhile was 4:09 away in third.
Pro Women Race Recap
American Grace Alexander led the field out of the swim ahead of New Zealand’s Teresa Adam, with Findlay just 10 seconds off the pace in third. Jackie Hering came next, a minute back and closely followed by Jewett.
As expected, Findlay soon took control on the bike to move to the front of the field, closely followed by Adam with Jewett and Hering together in fourth and fifth. The big question now was how big a gap could Paula build over Tamara heading into T2, with Jewett’s vaunted run ability the big threat to her victory hopes.
Findlay still had the tenacious Adam for company when she arrived in transition, and the gap to Jewett was now 4:31 with the fleet-footed Canadian reaching T2 in fourth spot, just behind Hering. Now could she run down Paula on the remaining half-marathon?
Findlay quickly dropped the fading Adam as they set out on the run, but most eyeballs were on the gap to the closer Jewett as Tamara moved into second spot. As they approached the halfway stage on the run it was down to 2:26.
Jewett continued to chip away at Findlay’s lead, but it was not coming down nearly fast enough and with just over two miles remaining Paula was still 1:51 ahead. The race was now hers to lose.
While Tamara tried in vain to close down the gap, Findlay held firm and came home 1:20 in front for an excellent victory. Hering claimed the final spot on the podium, more than eight minutes behind Findlay.
Results, Finishing Order & Times
Sunday September 24, 2023
- 1. Mika Noodt (GER) – 3:37:14
- 2. Jackson Laundry (CAN) – 3:39:39
- 3. Lionel Sanders (CAN) – 3:41:23
- 4. Trevor Foley (USA) – 3:43:50
- 5. Ari Klau (USA) – 3:48:27
- 1. Paula Findlay (CAN) – 4:05:32
- 2. Tamara Jewett (CAN) – 4:06:53
- 3. Jackie Hering (USA) – 4:14:24
- 4. Grace Alexander (USA) – 4:16:20
- 5. Annamarie Strehlow (USA) – 4:17:27