Chris Leiferman has secured himself an early Hawaii qualification after finishing IM Cozumel in 2nd place. Due to a cancelled swim, the race became a bike-run combo, where Chris crossed the line in a finishing time of 6:52:01. Leon Chevalier (FRA; 6:42:31) won the race with Robert Wilkowiecki (POL; 6:54:27) taking home the final podium spot.
Due to a cancelled swim, the athletes took off for the 180k bike leg with a time trail start. In the first part of the bike, Chris Leiferman settled himself inside the second chase group, battling for 6th place. Working really well together with Weiss, he kept the difference with the athletes in front of him in control. Feeling comfortable to push the pace, Chris started to make his way through the field with about 40k to go. The BMC athlete kept putting the watts down to close the gap towards Kienle in 2nd place. Together with the German, Leiferman started the closing marathon with a 4-minute deficit over leader Chevalier. Straight from the beginning of the run, Chris was able to claim second place and opened up a gap on Kienle in 3rd. Halfway through he had built up a bonus of 2’40 over his nearest chaser. That second place was never endangered again as Leiferman kept his pace in check to come home in a time of 6:52:01. With that 2nd place finish, the American athlete secured his Kona slot for 2024 Ironman World Championship already.
Super strong on the bike
“I did want to have a swim today. I know I’m not the strongest swimmer, but I’ve been improving and I wanted to have a good one. On the bike, I felt super strong," Chris continued. "The best I’ve ever felt on the bike in my career. Weiss and I worked together for well over half of the bike. He was a good asset, but I felt I had more in the tank in the final hour. He said he couldn’t hang on anymore, even in the draft, where I was riding very comfortable. I felt really at ease being aero all day. I think this course is one of the hardest bike courses, because there is no variation in terrain to get in and out for the saddle. I could have paced the run better, but I wanted to chase down Chevalier early to go after that win. All in all very pleased with my performance today.”