Macca’s Picks for Malta: Will Zaferes Rise From Defeat?

All eyes are on Katie Zaferes and just how she will react to a very rare defeat as Super League Triathlon heads to Malta.

Cassandre Beaugrand seized her moment and climbed above Zaferes onto the top step of the podium at RBC Super League Jersey 2019.

It was an unusual feeling for Zaferes who has not been used to finishing second in recent times, and with the course in Malta set to play to her strengths the American will be looking to bounce back. One of her biggest strengths is her strong bike splits,  and we’ve crunched the numbers – she has a good shot at winning Super League Malta, with a course that rewards exceptionally strong cyclists.

So, will she have it all her own way? Can Beaugrand take the spoils again? Or is there somebody else that might cause an upset?

Super League’s President and co-founder, and four-time triathlon World Champion, Chris McCormack, has made his picks for glory.

Katie Zaferes

Katie is flawless in all her action and was only found out in Jersey with her swim starts. Actually, her back end racing was the strongest on course, but she showed a weakness to her main competition with her lack of speed off the pontoon in her mass start swim starts. In Malta we will not see this, and off the TT bike time trail her strength will be rewarded early.

I expect Katie to come out at this event in devastating form. This is a strength course and she was pushed here last year by her American peers, in Summer Rappaport and Kirsten Kasper, but I feel this year she could shine even more with the bike TT.

The issue for the women is they have to dislodge Katie and get that distance to find their own racing pace, so she doesn’t have the luxury of setting that pace. Cassandra successfully did that in Jersey and was able to dictate terms and win. Katie is built for this style of racing. She is the gold standard and will be tough to beat.

Cassandre Beaugrand

Our pink Jersey represents everything that SLT racing is all about – talent attached with skill and a refinement and harness of speed that is critical to set races up. Cassandra has a single weakness that is refined and bettered overtime she races, and that is experience.

She is flawless in her racing disciplines, skilful in the courses, especially on the technicality the SLT racing pushes on athletes that they do not find on the WTS circuit. It is this refinement of skill and talent that makes her the shining star of the future.

She races with emotion and feel, and if she is in a good head space is literally unbeatable.

This course will suit her down to the ground with the run straights giving her the opportunity to open up and push her strength discipline. She must dislodge Katie Zaferes on the run as in the uphill sprint I think strength beats speed every time, and Katie will be hard to run over. Look for Cassandra to set the pace and race with a ‘catch me if you can’ attitude.

Rachel Klamer

We saw last year in Malta that this is a course that Rachel really loves, and in the Jersey event we saw marked improvements in Rachel’s racing over last year. A much stronger swim section in both opening and second swims and a very refined and improved bike handling ability that allowed her to use her size and power to weight advantage very effectively.

In Malta, these dead turns are not as prevalent on the bike course and she has to utilise that power to weight advantage on the climb and go all the way over the top of the climb into the descent.

Her transitions need to be spot on and I feel Rachel is a great follower of pace and is the best athlete in the field at using race momentum to benefit herself. She is tactically brilliant, and in amazing form.

If she wants to win this race, she needs to go from defensive athlete to offensive. This is what we saw in Jersey in her dominant Semi-Final race. She needs to let her strengths flow and go for it and throw caution to the wind at some point on the bike or run, and be the setter of pace, not the follower of it. That requires a lot of mental faith and a change in attitude.

She has the form to do it, the question is now does she have the courage to back that? If she does, she can win this race.

These three women face off again this week in Super League Triathlon Malta. Check out the startlists for Super League Malta here, or get a reminder for the livestream this weekend here!

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