After three exhilarating rounds in Jersey, Malta and Mallorca the fourth and final round of Super League Triathlon headed to the bustling city of Singapore. With double points on offer, the series was still relatively open and although very early on in the 2019 season many of the key contenders made their way over for the Grand Final. Saturday saw the Eliminator format, three triathlon races with 10-minute breaks in between. Each race the slowest athletes were eliminated to leave a final showdown. Sunday's race was the Enduro event - three back to back triathlon races with the last two athletes at the end of each discipline eliminated.
In the women’s Eliminator race Emma Jeffcoat (AUS) won race one with Rachel Klamer (NED) taking the second race. There were $1,000 bonuses for each race, but the queen of Super League racing Katie Zaferes looked intent on waiting for the final race to give a knockout punch, and she did so in some style as she dominated the final bike and eased away from Cassandra Beaugrand on the run.
In the men's race there was drama from the off as the winner of Jersey, Malta and Mallorca, Vincent Luis (FRA) suffered his first puncture in 15 years of racing. Luis rode the remainder of the bike on a flat rear tyre but was too far out of contention to qualify for the remaining two races, severely damaging his chances of claiming the $100,000 for overall series victory which he looked set on taking before the weekend. Jonas Schomburg (GER) took the honours in race one with Richard Murray (RSA) taking the second race. The final race looked like it was Henri Schoeman’s (RSA) for the taking as he maintained a small advantage out of the water and throughout most of the bike, however by T2 seven athletes headed onto the run together. Unfortunately for previous Super League winner, Murray, a false start put him out of contention. Hayden Wilde (NZL) was the first athlete to put on the pressure, but it was HUUB's Jonny Brownlee (GBR) and Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) who made a visible gap with Brownlee eventually claiming victory.
The Enduro event on Sunday proved as exciting as Saturday. In the women’s race, there was some ferocious racing, and the field was splintered throughout the ‘triple triathlon’. In the end, the race was left down to the pre-race favourites Zaferes and Beaugrand - the pair battled to the line with the young French athlete claiming victory by the smallest of margins. Klamer was best of the rest a few seconds back after just over an hour of racing. It was the same order of place for the overall placings in Singapore with Beaugrand claiming the $20,000 round win. With double points on offer in Singapore, it brought her onto the overall series podium, but Zaferes always looked the favourite to reclaim her title with such a large lead going into the final round.
In the men’s race, Vincent Luis not only had a point to prove after a puncture derailed his chances in the Eliminator race, but he was also racing knowing he needed to race well to consolidate his Super League standings and claim the $100,000. The key contenders looked comfortable in the early stages of the race with Brownlee, Schoeman and Luis all controlling the pace. Come the final run, Luis knew he needed to distance the 2018 Commonwealth Champion, Schoeman, to make the overall victory secure. He demonstrated the power which has made him so prolific in previous rounds. Brownlee finished second with Schoeman in third. Brownlee took the overall honours in Singapore with 1st and 2nd to claim the $20,000. Although Luis finished 4th with his 17th position on day one and 1st on day two, it was enough for him to claim Super League Victory for the 18/19 season.
The top 10 athletes in the series ranking for both the men and women have activated automatic contracts for the series in 2019/20. All eyes will be on the qualification rounds to see who will be joining the Championships races.