The 34-year-old Canadian was second at Kona in 2017, but has yet to stand on top of the podium at triathlon’s biggest event.
In theory ‘No Limits’ may well never have a better chance than this Saturday in Utah. The build-up has been as much about who won’t be there as who will.
Sanders meanwhile appears to be in a good place right now – he has a new coach in Mikal Iden (brother of Gustav) and put in an impressive seasonal debut when a fast-finishing second at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside.
Can Lionel Sanders win St George?
Two-time Kona king Chris McCormack is now very much a Sanders believer, and talked up the Canadian’s hopes when talking to Mark Allen on ‘The Road To St George’.
“I think Lionel Sanders can win. I think Lionel Sanders can run over the top of Gustav Iden,” said the Australian great.
McCormack believes that display in Oceanside bodes really well for Lionel as he prepares to step back up in distance to 140.6 miles on Saturday.
“I thought the California performance – as we know a half is not a full – and he was coming stronger and stronger and stronger as the day goes by. Others were fading outside of Jackson Laundry, others were going backwards but he was moving forward with a 68-minute half marathon.”
McCormack has been vocal in the past about what he believes was stopping Sanders taking the final step to the true elite of long-distance triathlon. Now he says, things might be different.
Lionel in a good place now
“A new coach, I’ve said it before – Lionel Sanders’ problem in the past has been Lionel Sanders. He’s been able to get that out of the way, and focus and I think he’s in a really good spot.”
The St George course on Saturday will provide one more brutal opponent for the athletes taking part – but Macca says ‘No Limits’ may well embrace it.
“I think this course will suit him, he’ll like the open roads, he’ll be strong. I think he’s going to be very very strong.”