It was a wild weekend of racing around the world, full of last-minute changes, come-from-behind wins, and even a photo finish. At Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, Canadian Jackson Laundry surprised everyone in a come-from-behind victory, while American Taylor Knibb dominated a stacked women’s field to further cement her role as one of triathlon’s power players. Challenge Salou moved to a duathlon format after a polar blast moved through the region, and Kristian Hogenhaug of Denmark and Brit Fenella Landridge capitalized on the opportunity to unleash strong bike and run performances for the win. In South Africa, Germany’s Daniela Bleymehl made a memorable return to racing after giving birth to her second child last summer by besting the women’s field by over 11 minutes; in the men’s race, it was a South African podium sweep led by Kyle Buckingham.
Read columnist Brad Culp’s recap of the races in this week’s installment of Last Weekend Now, and scroll below for photos from the day.
Athletes surge at the start of Challenge Salou, which became a duathlon after a polar blast sent water temperatures plummeting below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
The duathlon format required athletes to shift their race strategy dramatically, and the women’s pro race in particular saw multiple lead changes over the course of the day.
Athletes make their way through the bike leg of Challenge Salou.
Kristian Hogenhaug of Denmark makes his way through T2 to begin the second and final run leg at Challenge Salou.
The men’s race was a close one, with multiple position changes and the podium not sorted out until the very last kilometer.
Hogenhaug celebrates as he takes the win at Challenge Salou.
Fenella Langridge (GBR) used a controlled approach to the duathlon format, waiting patiently until the second run leg to unleash her speed and overtake defending champion Lisa Norden (SWE).
Age group athletes get excited for the swim start at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside.
An athlete exits the swim at the Oceanside pier.
Age-group athletes set out on the Ironman 70.3 Oceanside bike course.
An athlete pedals through the Ironman 70.3 Oceanside bike course.
In the men’s pro race at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, Canadian Jackson Laundry took the lead with less than a mile to go, charging hard for a win that surprised many, including Laundry himself. “It was unbelievable,” he said after the race. “It doesn’t really sink in until you’re right there and there’s no one left to catch you.”
Behind Laundry, Lionel Sanders and Rudy von Berg sprinted to the line for second and third place, respectively (Sanders tapped the timing mat before von Berg by a few hundredths of a second, making it one of the closest finishes in triathlon history).
In the women’s pro race, American Taylor Knibb ran the show from start to finish, recording the fastest swim and bike splits of the day to gain a 3-minute cushion over the competition at T2, which she maintained to the finish line.
Niclas Bock of Germany pedals through the bike leg of Ironman South Africa. Racers had to contend with wild weather all day, from strong winds to bursts of heavy rain.
Jade Roberts of South Africa pushes through the bike leg at Ironman South Africa.
Kyle Buckingham (RSA) rejoices after winning Ironman South Africa. “I can’t believe that I’ve won it,” Buckingham said after the race. “That was the most stressful marathon I’ve ever had to run.” The champion was referring to second place winner Bradley Weiss, who charged hard in the final miles to get within 11 seconds of Buckingham.
Magda Nieuwoudt of South Africa celebrates after taking third at Ironman South Africa.
The 2022 Ironman South Africa men’s podium (L-R): Matt Trautman, Kyle Buckingham, Bradley Weiss
The 2022 Ironman South Africa women’s podium (L-R): Magda Nieuwoudt (RSA), Daniela Belymehl (GER), Elena Illedistch (GER).