Numbers put Lionel Sanders in Montreal mix – but only if he nails his transitions


So numerous concerns– and quickly we’ll have the responses regarding how long-course legend Lionel Sanders fares in the fastest format of the sport.

He was runner-up at the IRONMAN World Championships in St George last May and has no less than 30 middle or full-distance titles to his name.

But he steps right out of his convenience zone on house area at Arena Games Montreal on Saturday and we initially speak with him on how he feels each discipline will go– and after that get the professional view of statistics master Graeme Acheson, the co-founder and CEO of Sports4Cast and the mastermind behind the SLT’s Stats Hub

Graeme has crunched the numbers from every previous Arena Games and his conclusions might come as a surprise, albeit with a bottom line at the end which could make or break Sanders’ opportunities …

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How far back?

The swim will definitely be the most significant test– and ‘No Limits’ is very first to acknowledge that.

He states: “I will not have the ability to hang with the people on the swim. The large bulk of them are racing ITU and you do not think of doing ITU unless you have a swim background, matured swimming or are really gifted naturally, which I am not.

” That being stated I have actually been dealing with my swim and my leading end so this has actually been a terrific incentive for me to reduce that deficit however this will highlight my most significant weak point, which is start speed.

” I am extremely bad on the start. I discovered this very first hand head-to-head in the Collins Cup versus Sam Laidlow and Sam Long. Take a look at Laidlow. That is begin speed. He put 20 meters into us in the very first 50 meters.”

Collins Cup 2022 Lionel Sanders photo credit Darren Wheeler and PTO
[Picture credit: Darren Wheeler/ PTO]

But what sort of deficit is Sanders most likely to need to comprise on Saturday?

Having taken a look at the information, SLT’s Acheson states: “I do not believe his swim’s that bad to be truthful– and it is just 200 metres. The record is held by Aurelien Raphael and Max Stapley who have actually done 2:02 The guys’s typical time is around 2: 11 -2: 13 and I was viewing among Lionel’s videos a few days ago where he was repping 500 s and the 200 speed was around 2: 22 so you ‘d believe he might go a bit quicker than that.

” So yes, he’ll most likely lag the average– however not method off.”

Level playing field on the bike

So onto the 4km of each bike leg, ridden on Zwift, when the draft function for biking will be set to ‘off’– so it’s everything about watts/kg instead of making the lead group.

Sanders thinks that ought to match, stating: “The only strength I will have here is that I am utilized to non-drafting. That will play to my strengths. I think I am the greatest cyclist in the field watts per kilos smart without fretting about bike handling.”

And that’s quite echoed by Acheson: “He believes that’s a strength and I totally concur. He’s seeking to hold in between 380-420 watts, which in watts/kg is around 6 [Ed: Sanders’ weight is simply over 70 kg] The majority of the guys balance around 5 watts/kg, with Jeremy Briand our previous greatest at simply over 6. Lionel might be setting some power records here.”

Advantage on the curved treadmill?

So moving onto the run and Super League CEO and co-founder Michael D’hulst has actually highlighted a technical element that might play into Sanders’ favour: “We’ve been doing research studies with the universities around the physiology of how to operate on the curved treadmills, which aren’t powered by an engine. I believe Lionel being a little bit of a larger professional athlete than a few of the short-course lightweights, he will have a benefit as the power shift is much greater from much heavier professional athletes.”

But Sanders isn’t getting brought away, describing: “I am training with some heros today, however they are much more powerful than I am on the leading end so 1km, 2.40 is most likely max for me today and I do not understand where that will put me.”

Hearing that and including context, Acheson stated: “That would put him right towards the leading end, the fastest we’ve had is Alex Yee at 2: 34 so 2: 40 would be quite fast. He’s undoubtedly an excellent runner however I ‘d be amazed if he ran rather that quickly– the top-end speed appears a bit fast for an Ironman professional athlete, however who understands.”

So Acheson most certainly isn’t crossing out the Canadian, numeration: “I believe he’ll be great to be truthful. I do not believe he’s going to win the whole thing however I believe he’ll put in a strong efficiency in general.”

Don’t undervalue shifts

However there was a really essential note of care included to that: “Athletically I do not believe he’s going to be too far down on the swim and then he can make time on the bike and the run, however tactics-wise he’s got to get his shifts.

” You can lose a substantial quantity of time in that location– my guidance to him would be do not flog yourself on the swim attempting to conserve a couple of seconds, however make sure you get your shifts.

” We’ve seen the leading people like Raphael for instance be the fastest in swim, bike and run– in some cases by miles, 30 seconds on one celebration– and after that lose it all in shift. Lionel requires to understand where whatever is, make his shifts tidy and crisp which will conserve him even more time than anything else.

” Transitions are frequently called the ‘4th discipline’ however in this format I ‘d state it’s practically the very first and most likely the most essential. Typically the Arena Games are won by the finest tactically or the finest transitioner.”

And if you wish to see how Sanders got on in his own ‘Arena Games Test Day’ then take a look at the ingrained video listed below!

YouTube video

Whatever occurs on the day itself will be interesting to witness– complete information of how to enjoy are here— and Sanders for one still seems like he’s enjoying it: “It appears like this is the future of our sport and I am thrilled to participate. Indoor things has actually truly removed considering that the pandemic and everybody sees the worth in it now and it’s a fantastic method to remain in shape and spectator-wise it’s likewise excellent because department.”

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