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Triathlete Lionel Sanders beats Mathieu van der Poel in Zwift race

The Canadian raced for Canyon ZCC at the Ronde on Zwift

Canadian professional triathlete Lionel Sanders spends a lot of time training in Zwift, and it looks like his trainer hours are starting to pay off. On Sunday, competing for eRacing team Canyon ZCC, Sanders raced to victory at the “Ronde on Zwift” race against some big name professional cyclists.

Mathieu van der Poel was the featured pro in the race. He, alongside many members of his Alpecin-Fenix team, took on Sanders, other pro riders and Zwift specialists.

The “Ronde on Zwift” race was contested over the UCI World Championship course in Richmond, Virginia, which included a cobble-stoned hill. The riders competed over three loops of the course for a total of 27.6 km.

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Sanders was part of a breakaway group, then pulled clear of the group into the last climb, opening up the gap by pushing a whopping 10 watts/ kg for a short time. He continued to pull away on the climb to open up a gap of over 20 seconds. He managed to hold off the riders sprinting behind him to the line thanks to what he believes is a “life-time best 5 minute power” of 534 watts.

Sanders’ time for the ride was 36.21 and he averaged an impressive 401 watts (5.5 w/kg) for the ride. Second went to Sweden’s Samuel Brannlund. Van der Poel finished out of the top 10 in the race.


“That was the coolest experience I’ve ever had riding a bike,” Sanders says his YouTube post.

Sanders was able to hold 590 watts for one minute to stay with the bunch after that first climb. He set up the winning break with an attack at the start of the third lap and was joined by three other riders. Heading into the last climb Sanders made his move.

“The guys on my team told me ‘you could win this thing, but you have to go all out up the climb,’” Sanders says. “I was really anxious about the first climb, I knew it was make or break … I don’t have huge power. Fortunately the stars aligned for me through the whole race. The attacks on the one minute climb weren’t super crazy.”