Lionel Sanders believes his flat tyre at IRONMAN 70.3 Mont Tremblant could have been avoided but for the “ridiculous” rules around pros racking their bikes at races.
The Canadian did eventually claim the win in Sunday’s race in Canada, but he had to make up significant ground to do so after the mechanical heading away from T1.
Sanders quickly realised he had a flat, and lost approaching three minutes in time having it fixed. Afterwards he spoke out about the rules in his post-race debrief on YouTube.
He understands the rationale for not having thousands of age-groupers racking their bikes on the morning of a race, but feels it should be different for the professionals.
Lionel Sanders on bike rules
“I came out of transition, I mounted the bike and the front tyre was flat. I think it’s ridiculous that we have to rack our bikes, like I understand that you can’t allow a race of 3000 people to rack their bikes. We are literally here to make a living, this is how I make a living.
“To make you bring your bike and let it set there for 12 hours – it was literally 90 degrees and full sun. I don’t think the tyres and tubes are meant to be sitting there baking out there for several hours.”
Sanders is firmly of the belief that had the rules been different, he would have realised there was an issue.
“I believe that I could have, had I had the bike all night, I would have aired it up before bed and then I would have seen in the morning ‘okay it’s good, it’s still holding’, maybe it had lost 5 PSI.
“Instead, I aired it up in the morning, it had a slow leak due to something happened throughout the time (baking in the sun) because I rode it literally and then went and racked it.
Sanders questions change
“Then unfortunately I didn’t obviously see the slow leak because I left to do my swim warmup.
“So I think that’s something we used to be able to do, and then they did away with it, I’m assuming because they didn’t want to give the pros special treatment. But it’s not like it’s special treatment, it’s our job, it’s my profession.
“I need to make sure that this stuff is working properly, the equipment is working properly, and I believe it could have been caught.”