Murray Takes Down Eliminator

Athletes and fans have been looking forward to today’s Eliminator since Super League Jersey finished three weeks ago.

The Eliminator is a gruelling three-stage triathlon: swim-bike-run, swim-bike-run, then a third swim-bike-run, with a 10-minute break between each round. One-third of the athletes would be eliminated at the end of each swim-bike-run round.

In the first round of the men’s race, Hayden Wilde took the victory followed home by Jonny Brownlee. Despite the win, Wilde commented on the mixed-bag of round he experienced.

“It was tough. It felt really controlled and comfortable but unfortunately when I came out of the swim I slipped over and grazed my knees. I had to work extra hard to get back in the pack, which I did and then felt really comfortable on the run and thought ‘why not lets go and get the win?’ So I did.”

Following Wilde’s win, the Schofield twins, Ollie Turner, Jack Felix and Igor Polyanskiy were eliminated. Turner felt season’s racing slowing his legs. “I’m so tired. I felt the strongest on the bike but the course is so tough— that hill!!! On the bike and the run going up the hill is hard, but going down it on the run is equally hard. On the bike I felt my wheels almost go out from under me a few times going into the final bend at the bottom.”

After the first round, Schoeman shared his thoughts on the Malta race course.

“It’s actually pretty tough, I don’t think I’m feeling myself today but let’s see what happens in the next race and the third race.”

Vincent Luis cross the line but clearly had a longer-term strategy. “The first round was quite easy, just a warm up!”

In the second round Tyler Mislawchuk took the victory with Jonny Brownlee again in second. “The was tough. Again, I made mistakes. I’ve got to stop making mistakes. The hill was fine. I like it and I like running down it.”

Hayden Wilde, Andreas Schilling, Jonas Schomburg, Matthew Sharpe and João Pereira were eliminated. Sharpe added, “That was not exactly my jam., It was pretty brutal out there, it was a tough hill. ills aren’t always my strength, I think I need to do a little more work for that. It’s good to be at this level racing these guys.”

Wilde again had a rough turn of events.

“I slipped a chain on the bike so lost contact with the group, other than that I was having a real good ride. I bridged the gap but fumbled in transition and lost some seconds there. I didn’t have enough today but I’m keen to give it a go tomorrow and see what I’ve got.”

In the final round shootout it was action piled on action with extra action just for good measure. The speed kept increasing, with lead changes throughout. Richard Murray eventually took the win — his first for five months — in front of Vincent Luis with Henri Schoeman rounding off the podium.

It was a rough round for Schoeman, also.

“That was tough, the body just wasn’t there. My stomach was bouncing the whole time. I knew I was in trouble from the start. I hung in there and made the last race to see what I had left, But I messed up bad in transition so maybe that cost me second place, but I’m still on the podium. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll bring some more ammo.”

Luis was consolatory. “That was hard, three rounds with this hill that was crazy. Even the downhill is pretty hard on the last leg. I caught Henri but Richard was too far away, I lost my race in the transition but congrats to Rich he was the fastest today. Tomorrow is another day so I’ll try to be good tomorrow but it’ll be hard for everyone”

“I could have saved some for tomorrow but I thought you know what I’m going to go all out because I know tomorrow is going to be a tough one. I thought if I go really hard today and I win at least I can get some good racing done and walk away with something good from the weekend. It’s been a while since I have seen the top of the podium – the last time I won was in June so it’s been a dry spell of around four months or so. I’m very happy as I like this kind of course. I felt strongest on the bike and thought about trying to get away.”

Tomorrow we have the Equalizer with the starting positions being based off the times from the Swim ITT on Friday. This second stage’s swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run sequence will see the athletes head off at different time intervals determined by their part one finishing position. The winner is the first athlete across the finish line after the second and final stage.

Final Standings

  1. Richard Murray (RSA)
  2. Vincent Luis (FRA)
  3. Henri Schoeman (RSA)