A selected few headed to the sunny climate of Malta for the second round of the Super League Triathlon, which resulted in a 2nd place podium for ‘Blue Jersey – Leading Swimmer’ Henri Schoeman. Recently engaged, it wasn’t the only result he got after proposing to his girlfriend in Malta a few days before the race!
The HUUB Wattbike Team were also competing over the weekend out in Canada for the second round of the UCI Track World Cup. After becoming the 5th fasted nation in history with a new PB at the opening round people were eager to see what came next… Qualifying fastest, they made it through to the gold medal final against Denmark but came away with the silver medal in second place.
This round of the Super League kicked off with a 600m swim time trial which formed the first part of the Equalizer to be concluded on Sunday afternoon. The athletes would start in finish and time order for the swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run, dramatically splitting up the field before the real racing even began.
HUUB's Henri Schoeman (RSA), as expected, took the honours in 00:06:31 with opening round winner Vincent Luis (FRA) 11 seconds back and Jonas Schomburg (GER) a further 4 seconds behind. Jonny Brownlee (GBR) had the 6th fastest time - 00:06:54. Taylor Spivey (USA) has the quickest time in the women's time trial; however, there weren't many time gaps throughout the field with the top 10 split by a little over 20 seconds.
The Eliminator format consists of three swim-bike-run races with a 10-minute gap in between. The final five athletes in each race are eliminated, the winner of each format receives a $1,000 bonus. Race 1 looked fairly straightforward with a group of 12 athletes forming it was clear all would be safe. Clare Michel (BEL) was the single athlete from the chasers that avoided early elimination. Katie Zaferes (USA) won the $1,000 bonus. Race 2 was similar in many ways to Race 1 with Zaferes looking unbeatable as she took the second win. Race 3 Zaferes finally attacked early on, and it was game over as she completed the set of wins. She certainly made a statement of intent to the rest of the athletes.
In the men’s Eliminator, Race 1 was again reasonably straightforward other than Brownlee being caught in a crash and having to make his way through the field. Hayden Wilde (NZL) took the $1,000 bonus for the race win with many of the favourites easing through into the second race. Race 2 split up a little more, and it was clear many athletes were turning up the engines. Schoeman and Luis pushed the pace on the swim earning a breakaway with Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) and Ben Kanute (USA). Brownlee missed the move but was safely in the next group of three on the road. Mislawchuk took the honours closely followed by the rest of the lead group. Race 3 was set to be an explosive event with 7 of the worlds best lining up. Despite Schoeman forcing the pace in the swim, all the remaining athletes were together on the bike, that was until Brownlee attacked, but the chase was on, and his lead was never significant, the race would still be determined on the run. It was Richard Murray (RSA) who used his lightning fast T2 to take the victory. Luis was 2nd with Schoeman 3rd and Brownlee 4th.
With gaps already in place after Friday’s swim TT, and a 90 second elimination time the Equalizer was set for some fierce racing from the off. Soon into the race and a lead group consisting of Kirsten Kasper (USA), Summer Cook (USA), Yuko Takahashi (JPN), Rachel Klamer (NED), Spivey and Zaferes formed, the group stayed together until the final transition of the day. Onto the run and it was a close fought battle between Zaferes, Cook and Kasper as the steep hill took its toll. Zaferes yet again came out on top with Kasper and Cook completing an all American podium.
Luis and HUUB’s Schoeman soon made it a two horse race for the win as they had established a sizeable lead out ahead, although Luis had a fair bit of chasing to do. He was perhaps favourite leading into the race after his stunning performance in Jersey just weeks before. The two were glued together going into the final stages of the race, and it was left to a final 250m uphill sprint. Eventually, Luis prevailed, but the look of pain on his face certainly showed the effort required to distance the South African. The rest of the field from nearly the off were competing for third, and it was the winner of Race 2 of the Eliminator, Tyler Mislawchuk who took third place ahead of Brownlee.
1st – Katie Zaferes (USA) – $20,000
2nd – Rachel Klamer (NED) – $15,000
3rd – Kirsten Kasper (USA) – $10,000
1st – Vincent Luis (FRA) – $20,000
2nd – Henri Schoeman (RSA) – $15,000
3rd – Richard Murray (RSA) – $10,000
After becoming the 5th fasted nation in history with a new PB at the opening round of the Track World Cup in France people were eager to see what came next… Qualifying fastest, the team showed exactly why they are a squad on the up.
The quartet converted that into a medal this time around, the four of Dan Bigham, Jonny Wale, Harry Tanfield and John Archibald taking silver behind Denmark in the gold medal final.
Team Manger, Dan Bigham, commented on Instagram, “Banging few weeks riding fast in circles. We picked up a TP PB of 3:53.8 (becoming the 5th fastest “nation” in history) and a World Cup silver medal. Huge thanks to all of our sponsors, staff and supporters. You’re the reason we’re out here smashing it. 4 weeks now to build to the next round in Berlin.”