‘Cards stacked against you’ – Lionel Sanders on Brownlee showdown

‘No Limits’ on showdown with two-time Olympic Champion

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Lionel Sanders is under no illusions about the threat posed by a certain Alistair Brownlee at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside next Saturday.

Brownlee makes his eagerly-awaited return to racing after ankle surgery as he prepares for the IRONMAN World Championship at St George on May 7.

Sanders meanwhile also has plenty of reason to be excited about starting his 2022 campaign in California after deciding a few months ago to have his career guided by Mikal Iden, brother and coach of two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Gustav Iden.

He gave his thoughts about the new season in a video on his YouTube channel, and the challenge facing him next weekend.

Lionel Sanders on Brownlee

He explained: “You’re always cards stacked against you against a guy like Brownlee, who can come out first or second – right at the front – and dictate the entire race.

“Takes a bit of a way to race that kind of race. You know you’re gonna have to do it on the run, you’re gonna have to do it on the second half of the run actually.

YouTube video

“So yeah I’d say Brownlee, Appleton’s in good form, Kanute obviously is in good form. Another guy I’ve never raced before, Steve McKenna, these are all good guys who, they’re definitely gonna have an advantage on us coming out a bit back.

“I’ve been working my bike good, I’m excited to see where that stands, and then my run is definitely in the best form it’s been in.”

Lionel nervous ahead of 2022 season

While Sanders at the age of 34 is now a seasoned professional, he admits to being more nervous than usual ahead of a unique year for elite triathlon. Two IRONMAN World Championships and those new PTO races mean the calendar is absolutely stacked.

“I’ve been doing this a while so I won’t say that I’m crazy nervous, but this is my first season where I really care, where I feel like I’ve really devoted myself to this,” said Sanders.

“So there is a bit more nerves than usual I would say just because I care. It’s not my identity – there’s a piece of my identity wrapped up in it – but I’m not my performance.”

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