An action-packed Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells race saw Lionel Sanders (CAN) take the win in California after French World Triathlon ace Vincent Luis was hit by a car.
Two-time WTCS world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Luis was making his middle-distance debut and had led the race from the start in trademark style with a rapid swim of 22:09.
He was followed out of the swim by Andy Potts (USA) and fellow middle-distance debutant Jelle Geens (BEL), who recently won the World Triathlon race in Abu Dhabi.
But it’s on the bike where things took a frightening turn for Luis. According to his girlfriend and fellow triathlete Taylor Spivey, a police officer helping to marshal the event directed the lead car and Luis off of the course. It’s here that things went from bad to worse, with Luis seemingly being struck by a car.
Writing on his Facebook page, the Frenchman said: “With 10km to go I still had a two-minute lead but then a car hit me and I hit the ground really hard. [I] jumped back on my bike and reached T2 with Lionel Sanders.
“My run was just a struggle and my only goal was to reach the finish line and have a check-up with a doctor. Congrats Lionel for the win and to Jelle Geens for finishing third.”
In photos posted by both Luis and Spivey you can clearly see the Frenchman competing with blood on his face and nasty road rash on his arms.
Impressively, Luis made it to the finish line in second, just 2mins 48sec down on Sanders.
Taking the final podium position was a resurgent Geens, who’d slipped back significantly with a five-minute penalty on the bike leg, but put in a run time of 1:08:18 to secure third.
Meanwhile, America’s Danielle Lewis took the tape for the women with a time of 4:14:02, finishing 58secs ahead of Canadian Tamara Jewett.
Top image credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images for IRONMAN