Jackson Laundry just held off a charging Lionel Sanders in a Canadian one-two in the men’s race at IRONMAN 70.3 Michigan on Sunday.
And their compatriot Tamara Jewett produced another run masterclass for a much more clear-cut victory in the women’s race.
Pro Men – ‘No Limits’ takes it to the wire
There was work to do for both Laundry and Sanders following the one-loop swim within the protected Betsie Bay.
For a four-man front group, which included former ITU star Matt Sharpe (CAN) and Aussie Sam Appleton, had a lead of over a minute on the rest.
Laundry was at +1:32 and Sanders at +2:20 but things started to change rapidly on the bike as Laundry bridged up to the leaders within the first 30km, while Sanders was also closing fast.
They would be first and second at the halfway stage, with Laundry exactly a minute ahead and he’d doubled that to a fraction over two minutes starting the run.
Sanders, who was bouncing back well from that controversial disqualification at the 70.3 Worlds in Finland three weeks ago, gradually started to cut into that lead but Laundry would have just enough in hand in a thrilling finale.
The gap was down to 50 seconds with 4km remaining – and 26 seconds at the last checkpoint at 19.8km – but Laundry held on by 11 seconds to notch his first win since 70.3 Oceanside in April last year.
He crossed the line in 3:36:48, just ahead of ‘No Limits’, with Trevor Foley (USA) rounding out the podium in third more than three minutes back.
Sanders produced easily the fastest half marathon of the leading contenders with a blistering 1:09:53.
Pro Women – Jewett powers clear on the run
It was no surprise at all to see Lauren Brandon, who only had Lucy Charles-Barclay ahead of her in the PTO’s swim standings, exit the water first.
The American was more than a minute ahead of the rest of the field, with Jewett three minutes back in seventh.
And on the bike she would extend that advantage to three minutes over everyone as Jewett moved into the chase pack which also included Jackie Hering (USA).
There was a real status quo then all the way into T2, with Brandon solo up front and those three minutes back to the five chasers led by Jewett.
But things changed dramatically very early on the run with Jewett showing why she’s one of the sport’s finest as she halved the advantage in the first few kilometres.
Remarkably she had moved into the lead as early as the 5km mark and would never look back. Hering was the only one able to keep her within any sort of range but when the line came there was over three minutes between them, Jewett having clocked a 1:15:19 half marathon.
It was a sweet win for Jewett after her 70.3 Worlds were also derailed by a bike penalty and this was her second victory of the season after 70.3 Oceanside.
It was also a double for the Real Triathlon Squad, with Jewett and Laundry both part of that team.
IRONMAN 70.3 Michigan 2023 results
Sunday September 17, 2023 – 1.9km / 90km / 21.1km
- 1. Jackson Laundry (CAN) – 3:36:48
- 2. Lionel Sanders (CAN) – 3:36:59
- 3. Trevor Foley (USA) – 3:40:13
- 4. Sam Appleton (AUS) – 3:41:11
- 5. Matt Sharpe (CAN) – 3:43:26
- 1. Tamara Jewett (CAN) – 4:05:05
- 2. Jackie Hering (USA) – 4:08:36
- 3. Robin Pomeroy (USA) – 4:13:15
- 4. Grace Alexander (USA) – 4:14:54
- 5. Lauren Brandon (USA) – 4:16:49