A SPRINT FINISH CLASSIC – VINCENT LUIS, CHAMPION OF MALTA
28th October, 2018
The final day of racing took the field of professional men to a new level -with the weekend undecided until the final sprint for the line. Super League Triathlon leaves nothing to chance and we knew the racing would be on from the get-go. The field of top elite triathletes did not disappoint.
Today’s final race was a swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run thriller with no gaps, off from a staggered start using the time gaps established on Friday’s Swim Individual Time Trial. The field was spread across the course scrabbling for time, and had to work hard to get back on terms with the leaders.
Richard Murray won the Eliminator on the previous day but would have his work cut out as he started fifty seconds down on the first off man off the pontoon, Henri Schoeman. With a 90 second elimination cut-off looming, Murray would have to work hard to even stay in the race let alone challenge for the victory.
Vincent Luis started within striking distance eleven seconds off Schoeman, and the victory in this race would seal the weekend for either one of them.
Before the race, Schoeman was feeling much more confident than he had the previous day – “I’m going to give it everything from the start, I don’t think I’ll be able to eliminate Richard in the swim but I’m just going to focus on my own race. Vincent is a good racer so he might find my feet in the water but lets see what happens”.
Luis was less sure of his ability to catch Schoeman in the swim thinking he’d do the chasing later in the race. “Henri has a big lead over everyone, so I probably won’t catch him on the swim, we’ll see what happens”. Not quite the level of bravado we’ve been used to over the weekend so far, but anything can happen in the Equalizer.
As expected, Schoeman led out of the swim with Luis close behind. Over the course of the race, Luis slowly got caught up to Schoeman, and they were side by side by the second phase of the race. Murray was racing to avoid the cut off but having a very lonely time around 50 seconds down, fighting to stay in the race, but not making up time on the leaders.
Neither Schoeman or Luis were giving an inch until the final uphill climb when Luis broke free from Schoeman and ran ahead for the tape and with it, the Championship Weekend.
Just behind them, Tyler Mislawchuk out-printed Jonny Brownlee for the final spot on the podium, letting out a victorious roar as he flew across the line.
Mislawchuk was ecstatic after the race reminding himself to live in the moment and appreciate the good results when they come. “I was worried I spent a bit too much energy on the last bike but, oh man I’m just so happy, you don’t take these for granted hey, you never know when you’ll be on another podium. Today is the day, don’t look to the future – just enjoy right now.”
Schoeman was reflective in his loss and gracious enough to admit when a better man won. “I think I’m happy with that, to be second behind Vincent, he’s very strong this year and has the best run. I gave it everything I had, and to me I won that race because I gave it everything and second is perfect. I’ve got things to work on and I’ll go and do that.”
Luis had not shown the type of dominance he had in Jersey, but he’d worked hard for the victory never letting up. “Yea that was really tough, I want my bed right now. Henri was really strong today, he didn’t play tactics – he just pushed hard. On the first run I was really suffering and I thought maybe I could just let him go and there’d be no more pain. I kept thinking about the overall ranking and I knew my sprint was a little bit better than his but after racing full gas you never know. I still believed in myself and gave it a final kick, and it worked.”
Off the back of today’s racing, and combined with yesterday’s results, it is Vincent Luis who takes the Championship Weekend, flanked by two South Africans. Henri Schoeman took second and Richard Murray earned a spot on the podium after a brave race to take third.
1st Vincent Luis (FRA)
2nd Henri Schoeman (RSA)
3rd Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN)
Championship Weekend Results:
1st Vincent Luis (FRA)
2nd Henri Schoeman (RSA)
3rd Richard Murray (RSA)
A week’s rest follows Malta as we move into Mallorca – Murray will be looking to have a consistent weekend to prove he can stretch his form over two days. Schoeman will be hoping to take a step up the podium and challenge Luis’s stranglehold on SLT, and Luis will be looking to underline his place at the top of the sport.
The racing will be even more frantic with scores to settle and rivalries to stoke. Can Luis continue the French domination of the male field? Come join us next weekend to find out!
Curious about the results of the full men’s field? Click HERE to find out!