After an incredible first full season of Super League racing around the world, the contests for the Men’s and Women’s crowns came down to an epic weekend of racing in Singapore. The double points scoring system for the final racing weekend means that the leaders Katie Zaferes (USA) and Vincent Luis (FRA) would need to continue their dominant performances in the island city-state, in order to secure their Championship titles.
Zaferes’ season dominance secures title
Katie Zafares’ constant dominance throughout the season set the scene for the final weekend, making her the athlete to beat. Her tactical brilliance and precision preparation enabled her to time her effort to perfection in the first day’s Eliminator, taking the victory in the third stage, despite being pushed all the way by Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) and Ashleigh Gentle (AUS).
“It took me a little while to get warmed up, but when I was running in the top five in the first two rounds, I thought, I don’t really have to be here. I can be a little bit further back. I didn’t push in the first two rounds, but I pushed in the last one.”– Two-time SLT Champion Katie Zaferes.
The second day and final race of the season, the Women’s Enduro took place on Sunday and resulted in the greatest finish of the series. Zafares remained the one to beat, with the remainder of the field fighting to capture their own moment of glory, particularly Beaugrand and Rachel Klamer (NED). The format of the Enduro was an energy-sapping swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run, without a break, in the heat and humidity.
In the end, it came down to a photo finish, with France’s Beaugrand taking the victory by millimetres from Zafares, with the Netherlands’ Klamer a close third. Despite not racing in Malta or Mallorca, young Beaugrand has been a force of nature in Singapore, winning the Enduro, the SLT Super League weekend and coming third overall.
Enduro race winner and Super League Singapore winner Cassandre Beaugrand after her win on Sunday: “Coming into Singapore I trained very hard on my bike to be better. I found it so hard there but my head was better than my body. It was amazing.”
Katie Zaferes: “Super League makes you better all-round. You have to work on every little thing – both physically and mentally and even emotionally. It’s high pressure coming into this race, and I knew I had to perform well. I think it sets me up well for the rest of the season. I am really happy with where I am.”
Luis survives horror Eliminator to take Enduro and overall title
After a disastrous start for Luis in Saturday’s Eliminator, which saw him experience a puncture on the first bike lap resulting in elimination from the race, the Frenchman roared back in Sunday’s Enduro, showing his class and holding firm to take the overall Championship win by just two points.
With Luis out of the Eliminator, the other championship contenders made the most of the opportunity with the lead changing several times throughout the stages, as Jonas Schomburg (GER), Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Jonny Brownlee (GBR) and Richard Murray (RSA) made their attacks. It all came down to the final stage when Henri Schoeman, who had been pushing Luis throughout the season and was in contention for the overall title, looked as if he would take the victory on the run leg.
However, Brownlee, Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) and Hayden Wilde (NZL) pushed him hard, fighting it out for the win which was taken by Brownlee, in what was an emotional return to form for the Briton on his return from a troubled 2018.
Men’s Super League Singapore winner Jonny Brownlee, “That last race was one of the easiest I did, I felt good, I felt in control, it shows what I can do after a couple of months of decent training. It’s nice to be back.”
That left it all to play for in Sunday’s Enduro Race with Luis knowing he had to work hard if he was to take home the Championship, Schoeman aware he had a chance to challenge for the title and Brownlee eager to back up Saturday’s win and take the Singapore title. Once again the format was swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run, with no break.
What followed was a tense and attritional race with all of the top contenders leaving everything on course; but in the end, it was Luis who held firm to sensationally win the day. Brownlee pushed him hard and took a well-earned second place, with Schoeman coming home a close third to round off the podium.
These results meant Brownlee took the top step for Super League Singapore, but the overall title went to Luis by just two points, with Schoeman in second and Brownlee in third.
Vincent Luis on his Enduro win and SLT Championship title win: “Since the start today, I knew I had to be hard and smart. I could not hope for a better result. I didn’t want to lead today, I just wanted to keep with as many people as possible – pure tactics. I wanted to save myself until the last run. I knew I was fresher as I didn’t race as much as them yesterday, so I was waiting for the last run. I saw that Henri wasn’t at his best, so I tried to keep with Jonny as much as possible.
“I was so down after yesterday, I didn’t know if I wanted to race this Sunday. I still can’t believe it I’ve won. You never know – anything can happen.”
|Women’s final Top10 rankings:|
1. Katie Zaferes (USA) 113 pts
2. Rachel Klamer (NED) 76 pts
3. Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) 65 pts
4. Taylor Spivey (USA) 62 pts
5. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 51 pts
6. Summer Rappaport (USA) 50 pts
7. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 34 pts
8. Yuko Takahashi (JPN) 31 pts
9. Emma Jeffcoat (AUS) 30 pts
10. Leonie Periault (FRA) 28 pts
Men’s final Top10 rankings:
1. Vincent Luis (FRA) 107 pts
2. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 105 pts
3. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 96 pts
4. Tyler Mislawhuk (CAN) 57 pts
5. Richard Murray (RSA) 54 pts
6. Léo Bergere (FRA) 52 pts
7. Ben Kanute (USA) 50 pts
8. Hayden Wilde (NZL) 46 pts
9. Jonas Schomburg (GER) 32 pts
10. Matthew Sharpe (CAN) 23 pts
|The top 10 women & men win contracts for next season, which commences with the first Qualifier in Bali in one month’s time: 23-24 March.|
|For full placings and times click here|
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