Lionel Sanders, Barbara Riveros retain IRONMAN 70.3 Pucón titles

Another masterclass in bike course destruction from Lionel Sanders and a fourth win for Barbara Riveros at IRONMAN 70.3 Pucón

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Another ‘crushing’ demonstration from Lionel Sanders


Fourth straight victory for Barbara Riveros on home soil

On Thursday I said, “While he may be travelling from a Canadian winter, it would be a shock if Sanders didn’t defend his 2017 victory and start his 2018 season in style.” Well, that wasn’t the toughest prediction I’ll attempt to make this year…

The race was pretty much an, “Open up the Sanders template and press ‘Play'”. You might know what he is going to do – but for most, there is nothing you can do about it.

Chilean athlete Vicente Trewhela built an almost 90 second lead over everyone in the swim (23:41), with Sanders existing the water 3:10 back in tenth position, but he was within a minute and a half of everyone else. While Lionel’s partner, Erin, suggested online that he was going to take the opening part of the ride more steady than usual…  by the first check-point at 26km he was already in the lead and nobody was covering the ground anywhere near his pace.

His lead built throughout the 90km and a 2:01:16 bike split – ten minutes faster than everyone else – meant that he would start the run 9:35 clear of a group of eight. He was never going to be troubled from that point.

A solid 1:16:25 split completed the race for a winning margin of eight minuted over former XTERRA World Champion, Mauricio Mendez Cruz (1:14:40(, with Felipe Barraza (CHI) running 1:17:02 to complete the podium positions.

Winner for the past three years, Barbara Riveros wanted to add another to her C.V. and keep the home fans happy, and the multi-talented athlete was right on the shoulder of Ellie Salthouse (AUS) after the opening 1.9km swim. They would stay in close contention for the next 90km on the bike, with a swift T2 seeing Riveros start the half marathon with a 21 second lead – a long way clear of anyone else.

Riveros extended her lead consistently through the run, finishing with a 1:21:58 split versus the 1:30:47 of Salthouse.

IRONMAN 70.3 Pucón, Chile – Sunday 14th January 2018
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

Pro Men

1st – Lionel Sanders (CAN) – 3:48:44
2nd – Maurizio Mendez Cruz (MEX) – 3:56:50
3rd – Felipe Barraza (CHI) – 3:58:58
4th – Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) – 3:59:56
5th – Santiago Ascenco (BRA) – 4:00:18

Pro Women

1st – Barbara Riveros (CHI) – 4:18:59
2nd – Ellie Salthouse (AUS) – 4:28:09
3rd – Valentina Carvallo (CHI) – 4:41:44
4th – Mahn Bruna (BRA) – 4:46:05
5th – Jesse Donavan (USA) – 4:51:06

John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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