© James Mitchell
What a special week it turned out to be for Chris Leiferman. After welcoming his baby daughter to the world only on Wednesday, Chris set off to Coeur d'Alene for his first big goal of the season. The BMC Pro Triathlete produced a magnificent performance clocking the fastest bike and run split of the day to secure a well-deserved victory at Ironman Coeur d'Alene. With his win, Leiferman also secured his qualification for the Ironman World Championship in Nice in September later this year.
Chris had a solid start in Coeur d'Alene. The American exited the water in 9th place moving up to 8th after a fast transition, finding himself 4’48” behind the leaders at that point in the race. But Leiferman was absolutely flying in the opening stages of the bike. Chris, together with Long, made up 4 places in first 25k and started to reduce the deficit to the leaders. Before the 75k mark on the bike, Leiferman had made the connection with the leaders and a lead group of 4 was created. They held an advantage of 2’39 to Long in 5th and 4’40 to the first chase group. But the BMC Pro Triathlete was on fire and together with Marquardt pushed on. The lead group was narrowed down to two leaders. The two leaders put the hammer down and Chris entered T2 as joint leader holding an advantage of 6'47 to 3rd. In the opening stages of the marathon Chris opened up a substantial gap immediately, leading with an advantage of over 2’ at the 5k mark. At that point in the race 3rd and 4th place had a deficit of 7’23 and 9’23 respectively. Leiferman looked well in control and at the halfway point his advantage had grown to 3’54” on Marquardt in second with Metzler running in 3rd, 9’ back to Chris. Although the gap to second reduced slightly in the closing stages, Leiferman kept on running strongly and his victory was never in danger. Leiferman produced the fastest run split of the day to take a well-deserved victory at Ironman Coeur d'Alene in a new course record.
Afterwards Leiferman looked back at his magnificent performance: "The swim, you know you always want to come out with the group better then last time you raced and unfortunately that didn't happen today. But I came out with Sam Long who is a solid cyclist and I knew him and I would be able to work together. Unfortunately he suffered a puncture and it's sad to see an honest racer like him having a mechanical like that. So I didn't have him to work with anymore and solo caught up to the lead group. I took a little bit of a breather and coming onto the second lap Matthew and I took off and we didn't look back. Coming into T2 with him and I. I had a knee issue coming into this race so held doubts about how well I would be able to run. I knew I had to keep the cadence high, cadence high, cadence high and I knew that was going to get me through the run. That was all I focused on and that got me through the marathon. Once I got closer and closer to the end, Matthew was closing in and scaring the hell out of me but it was fortunately for me. I can't wait to get home to the family and get some recovery time with our little new addition."