Ironman 70.3 Oceanside: Leo Bergere beats Jason West after thriller in last kilometer

Leo Bergere wins IM 70.3 Oceanside (archive picture: activ'images / insta)

It was extremely exciting for fans worldwide, but Leo Bergere has just won Ironman 70.3 Oceanside. The Frenchman led almost the entire day – partly solo and partly in a leading group – but in the final kilometers saw the bizarrely fast running Jason West approach to a few seconds. Still, the Frenchman eventually managed to win the race in a time of 3:45:25 , just 12 seconds ahead of West.

Swim – Leo Bergere takes the lead

During the swim, Leo Bergere went on a solo adventure: not entirely unexpected, the short-distance specialist swam away from his competitors, exiting the water first after 22:10 minutes. At that point, he was followed by quite a large group: Nicholas Quenet, Ben Kanute, Matthew Schafer, Brennen Smith, Jason West, Eric Lagerstrom and Tomas Rodriguez Hernandez needed just over half a minute longer for the 1.9 kilometers.

Bike – Sam Long supreme

On the bike, Bergere realized soon enough that he would be hopeless on his own against the chasing group, and so by the first checkpoint, after 20 kilometers, he had already fallen back into the leading group. That leading group had already thinned out considerably at that point, because in addition to Bergere, only Kanute, West and Quenet were still in it. Behind this chasing group, there was actually one man who really impressed; Sam Long. The American world-class athlete is not known as a strong swimmer, but today he showed once again that he can make up for the 2:30 minutes he lost in the water, during the bike. He did get some men with him and some men dropped off as well, eventually creating a leading group of four: Long, Bergere, Kanute and Jackson Laundry, who was joined by Long very early on the bike.

In the end, it was somewhat surprisingly Kanute who was losing time in the closing stages, while George Goodwin in turn joined the leading group. As a result, it was still four leaders who came into T2 together, followed by Kanute, who was all alone and fifth, at a minute and a half.

Run – thriller between Bergere and Jason West

Long and Bergere started their run most energetically, with the only – but crucial – difference being that Bergere was able to keep up the pace and Long kept dropping away, even giving away a podium finish. First Laundry passed him and then Jason West. That was impressive, as West started the half marathon trailing by more than three minutes, but literally flew down the course and just after he caught up with Long, also caught up with Laundry, thus putting him in second place. That happened after fourteen kilometers and by then he was still 1:22 minute behind Bergere. With that, the French leader looked fairly comfortable running to victory.

Yet it was not to be, since West was running so fast that he was rapidly closing in and, with a kilometer to go, was only nine seconds behind Bergere. The Frenchman constantly looked over his shoulder and tried to win the race no matter what. He succeeded, but narrowly. Bergere finished in a time of 3:45:25 and remained twelve seconds ahead of West. At 2:13 minutes behind, Laundry finished third.