RACE DAY ONE: FRANCE RULES IN JERSEY AS VINCENT LUIS TAKES THE DRAMATIC VICTORY AT RBC SUPER LEAGUE JERSEY
Following on from Cassandre Beaugrand’s victory, the Frenchman fights off his competitors to take the win in the Men’s Triple Mix race
With the Women’s Triple Mix race setting the tone for determination, grit and tactics, it was now the men’s turn. After great sporting performances from the likes of Mario Mola (SPA), Vincent Luis (FRA), Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) and Jonny Brownlee (GBR) in recent weeks, the Men’s Triple Mix winner would be anyone’s guess. Jersey’s very own Ollie Turner was racing in his first Super League Triathlon to a cheering home crowd.
Like the women’s race, this first stage saw the athletes race in their familiar swim-bike-run format; and it was South Africa’s Henri Schoeman who took charge in the water, putting in the fastest time for the round, with Luis hot on his heels. Schoeman took advantage of the new “short chute” reward: a shortcut onto the course from the transition area awarded to the first athlete to reach the dismount line. Blummenfelt put in the only sub-seven-minute performance on the bike in this stage but Schoeman’s lead could not be touched, as he triggered the 10-second break when crossing the line first. Blummenfelt and Luis ran through the line in second and third.
The Triple Mix’s brutal time rule means that those who fall 90-seconds or more behind the race leader after each discipline is not allowed to continue the race. Seven athletes ended their race day at this point, with Luke Schofield (AUS), Jack Felix (USA), Arturo Beltran (VEN), Taylor Reid (CAN), Nathan Killam (CAN), Mauro Cavanha (BRA) and Jersey-boy Ollie Turner all falling victim to this rule.
Schoeman’s Stage 1 win meant he had no time penalty going into Stage 2’s run-bike-swim format. There were strong bike performances across the field, with last year’s SLT Champion Richard Murray (RSA) making up time against the race leaders to get the “short chute” going into the bike leg and maintained the lead to be awarded it once more going into the swim. However, his lead dwindled due to a slow swim and Schoeman and Luis were able to catch up. Schoeman powered through to claim the Stage 2 victory, with Luis and Murray behind him.
Due to the incredible speed of the race leaders in the second stage, eight further athletes were cut and could not make it to the third stage: Matthew Sharpe (CAN), Igor Polyanskiy (RUS), Sylvain Fridelance (SUI), Joao Pereira (POR), Andreas Schilling (DEN), Jonas Schomburg (GER) and Jayden Schofield (AUS). Jake Birtwhistle (AUS) suffered a crash but was able to continue his ride, however didn’t make up the time and could not progress into the final stage.
Just 11 athletes took to the bike-swim-run stage, where they once again had staggered starts depending on their previous stage positions. Blummenfelt and Murray both cycled hard but were unable to make up the time from their time penalties. Luis pulled ahead of Schoeman on the bike to claim the “short chute” going into the swim. The Frenchman didn’t let up in the water and the win was his for the taking, as he high-fived the crowd down the final straight, making it a double-win for the French, following Beaugrand’s victory in the women’s Triple Mix. Schoeman and Blummenfelt followed suit to take the other two podium spots, and it was Great Britain’s Jonny Brownlee who beat Murray to finish in fourth place.
Male Triple Top Three Final Results
Still smiling and hardly breaking a sweat, Men’s Triple Mix winner Vincent Luis said about his race: “It was an amazing race. I try to make it look easy but it isn’t really. It’s fast and furious, and that’s how I like it. Everyone is really aggressive – it’s how I learnt triathlon so I’m used to it. It’s just so fast so you have to stay focused or you crash. You can be dropped so easily, and if you are dropped, you’re down. For sure I’m going to try and make it two gold medals by tomorrow….”
Triple Mix runner-up Kristian Blummenfelt said: “Jersey came out in force and made hard racing a little bit easier. It’s fun as always, you never know what to expect. It’s ever-changing, very tactical, and the short chutes make such a big difference.”
Current ITU World Champion Mario Mola said: “Super League Triathlon was hard today but it was a fun race to be part of. Crowds were amazing and I hope they enjoyed it because it was painful. It’s a race where small mistakes send you out. In every race, I learn as much as possible and hope that I will come back better in the next one.”
Having competed in his first SLT race, Jersey’s Ollie Turner said: “I had a strong swim and bike so the first two-thirds went well, and it’s clear where I need to improve. I will have to give 110% from the get-go tomorrow!”
Chris “Macca” McCormack, two-time Ironman World Champion and SLT co-founder said: “The race was ridiculously exciting! Only seven men finished, which shows how much pace there was up front. These short formats are the future for the sport. The French were amazing in transition and that was a major strength for Vincent Luis. It was a classy race and great for the sport.”
Text and image: SHIFT Active Media | Anna Davies