Kristian Blummenfelt Leads Stacked Santara Tech Eagles: Team Revealed

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It’s been the talk of the triathlon town – and it turns out the rumours were all true. Tim Don and Kristian Blummenfelt have united to form the Santara Tech Eagles with one main mission: taking revenge on the Bahrain Victorious Scorpions.

But Don has not stopped with just one headline act. His team, revealed for the first time today, is a crackerjack of talent, bristling with intriguing dynamics, exciting possibilities and potential managerial headaches.

Here, we take a look at the team, the dynamics, and the burning questions.

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Meet The team

Men: Kristian Blummenfelt, Matthew Hauser, Leo Bergere, Kenji Nener, Adrien Briffod, Emil Holm

Kristian Blummenfelt and Tim Don. What a combination. Two of triathlon’s biggest thinkers and strategists come together.

Blummenfelt, the Olympic champion, also an Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Champion, is an athlete to fear, and on his quest to retain his gold in Paris will be a major force in this year’s Championship Series. What’s more, he has beef with his former employers at Bahrain Victorious.

Don was also rather less than impressed with the style and manner that the Scorpions went about their business last year as they dethroned his Eagles, and is keen to get his hands back on the Teams trophy, and in his own way too.

His men’s line-up is a truly fascinating dynamic. The big names are Blummenfelt, last year’s Series runner-up Matt Hauser and World Champion Leo Bergere. Given the six-man squad he has laid out to start with, we know there may be an occasional race where one sits out, but it’s hugely impressive nonetheless. And that’s before you think about a really strong supporting cast of Kenji Nener, Adrien Briffod and Emil Holm.

Women: Emma Lombardi, Jeanne Lehair, Fanni Szalai, Miriam Casillas Garcia, Ekaterina Shabalina

The Santara Tech Eagles have a women’s line-up chocked full of potential.

Emma Lombardi is bridging the gap between being a star of the future and a star of the present. Jeanne Lehair fits into the same category, having continued her dramatic improvement from last year’s Championship Series.

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And then there is Fanni Szalai. At just 15-years-old, the Hungarian sensation, who set the triathlon world alight at the Arena Games, is a precocious talent. Miriam Casillas Garcia and Ekaterina Shabalina add a little more experience.

Team Dynamics

There are huge management challenges for Tim Don with both the men’s and women’s squad he has assembled.

For the men, could we see a clash of egos? Matt Hauser doesn’t seem like that type, but he formed a great working relationship with Don last year and was the star of his Eagles men’s line-up. This year is he playing second fiddle to Blummenfelt? Third fiddle to Bergere as well? And if not, how do the others feel about it?

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In the women’s, it is a team with such incredible potential. But potential is unpredictable. There are athletes who are incredible, but will also be learning as they go, while under pressure to perform. Can Don really mentor them? And will they appreciate that?

Race Dynamics

Bergere and Hauser are incredible front pack swimmers. Blummenfelt’s major weakness is the swim. The possibilities are as obvious as they are intriguing. If the Eagles really do work as a team, then they could end up with multiple athletes at the front end of the racing when it really matters.

Add to that the likes of Nener and Holm, who have proven before they are great team players and solid workhorses, as well as incredible athletes in their own right, plus the unknown – in Super League – quantity that is Briffod…there’s a lot here.

For Don, the tactical calls before and during each race will be key. And actually getting this unit to function as a team and not as individuals. Also, good luck deciding who gets a Short Chute.

For his women it is harder to call. Don will have plans and tactics, but so much is unknown about how they will react to this style of racing – three of his five will make their Championship Series debuts – that you suspect it may take until Malibu until he really has it all figured out. If that is the case, will it be too late by then?

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