22 April

Brothers-in-Arms: The Varga-Salvisberg Story

Many of our Super League Triathlon athletes came up through the ITU system together. On Super League Hamilton Island weekend Richard Varga (#12) had a constant shadow in the form of Andrea Salvisberg (#69), and for good reason. The two have been racing each other since 2006 and nearly always alongside each other as their abilities are nearly matched.

The close-quarters, three-day racing of Super League Triathlon brought their history of racing into stark relief for Salvisberg, who tracked down their races together and graphed their respective progress through the years. “It was fun to see I raced him so many times,” the multiple Swiss national champion said. “And it is great to see that we both improved over the years… We have similar good results! Swim and bike fast.”

“Sometimes one better, sometimes the other one,” noted Varga, the two-time Olympian. Coming up through the juniors, their first race against each other was at the 2006 ETU Autun European Championships in France where Salvisberg finished in 30th place, 29 places ahead of Varga. The results got closer and closer as both of them developed and entered elite competition.

As they became mainstays of the World Triathlon Series circuit they raced each other more often, even figuring in races within races: at WTS Cape Town 2016 they battled on a 400-meter sprint to the finish for 9th place.

The two grew into fierce competitors on course and great friends off course. “Richard and I are very similar in our life next to triathlon,” said Salvisberg. “I think that is why we get along so well.”

When they both secured berths for the 2016 Olympic Games, Salvisberg decided the best preparation would be alongside his friend and erstwhile rival. “I always enjoyed racing with him and that is why I asked him if I could join him in camp with the Brownlees -- but more because of him than the Brownlees.”

Varga recalled the Olympic preparation and race fondly. “He did the most of this important season together with us, training really hard and talking about how the race can go. And then we were going almost the whole race together, next to each other. That was cool,” he said. They finished within a few places of each other, Varga in 11th and Salvisberg in 16th.

For Salvisberg, the Super League Hamilton Island is the most memorable race he’s had with Varga. “We raced together and not against each other!” Varga finished in 5th and Salvisberg in 10th, but the overall result does not reflect how closely these two athletes contested each stage and each day of Super League Hamilton Island.

With more Super League Triathlon events on the horizon, expect more action and races within races from these world-class athletes.

 

photo by Delly Carr

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19 April

New Kid on the Block: Matt Hauser

When Super League Hamilton Island first aired, there were plenty of questions about the athletes wearing white suits in contrast to the yellow suits the others wore. These were junior athletes invited to compete alongside the best in the world to expose them to world-class racing. One of them, Matt Hauser, would race against them for his first World Triathlon Series race on the Gold Coast a month later.

 

“I'd only just heard about the competition on Hamilton Island and my Coach Dan Atkins and I were saying to ourselves just how awesome it would be to experience this revolutionary genre of racing,” he said. “I got off the plane after traveling to Perth to defend my Oceania Junior Title and the phone rang with [Super League Triathlon co-founder] Chris McCormack on the other line. The idea of racing some of my idols didn't really sink in until I touched down on the island.”

 

Having been named to the Australian Commonwealth Games NextGen squad, Hauser is one of Australia’s best emerging talents. He has won the Australian Junior Triathlon Series twice and the Oceania Junior Triathlon Championships four times. As Australian junior champion he automatically qualified for the ITU Grand Final in Cozumel, where he finished fifth junior in the world.

 

At Super League Hamilton Island, Hauser finished 13th in the field beating out more experienced competitors. The performance exceeded his own expectations. He said, “I came into the weekend knowing that it was going to be one of the toughest weekends I would face. I was aiming to get at least a top 15 and get contracted for the series. To get 13th made me proud. I felt like I got stronger mentally and physically as the weekend wore on.”

 

Racing against athletes he looked up to also prepared him for his debut on the WTS circuit. “I simply learnt that the triathletes I've watched on TV from a young age sweat and suffer just like I do. They are human,” he said. “The thing that Super League Triathlon has done for me has certainly granted me more confidence and taught me to feel comfortable amongst world-class company. It's almost fast-forwarded the process for me.”

 

Hauser is working toward a berth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and will be racing more, even while juggling a degree in Business at Griffith University. “Next up for me is Chengdu World Cup, followed by a small break. Then I'll hope to chase a few more WTS starts later on in the year before lining up for the Junior World Championships in September. I also hope to continue racing the Super League Triathlon series from October through to next year.”

 

photo by Delly Carr

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29 March

A STATEMENT FROM SUPER LEAGUE TRIATHLON'S MANAGING DIRECTOR, MICHAEL D'HULST

A STATEMENT FROM SUPER LEAGUE TRIATHLON’S MANAGING DIRECTOR, MICHAEL D’HULST

Singapore (March 30, 2017) – Super League Triathlon is an innovative sports entertainment product that shifts the sport of triathlon from a participation sport to sport that has appeal to active communities and general sports fans alike. Using innovation in course design, media and event formats, Super League Triathlon is world class sport, but its more than that. It’s entertainment. 

Super League Triathlon focuses on creating sporting superstars of our athletes and highlighting their stories and personalities to the public. We’re committed to placing the world’s best professional athletes back where they belong, on a pedestal, as heroes to a generation of fans and athletes. We’ll build the Super League Triathlon brand around them.

We’re engaging these superstars in ever-changing and dynamic formats around the core elements of swim, bike and run to deliver a leading, and unpredictable, sports entertainment product that engages and creates conversation among fans. As Super League Triathlon grows we will roll out multiple tiers with the Super League Triathlon Championship League featuring the best-of-the-best, battling it out for season contracts and against a tough relegation system. We are committed to creating pathways into the Championship League via a Qualifying League for aspiring professionals worldwide.

Launching a new product is no mean feat and requires strong leadership, financial support and the tireless talent and skills of an incredible team. It also requires difficult decisions to be made. Sometimes the decisions made are not popular among all. We are aware of the criticism from some regarding no women’s racing at the showcase event at Super League Hamilton Island. I re-affirm our commitment to a women’s Championship League when the first season proper of Super League Triathlon is conducted.

With a unique understanding of professional athletes and the sport of triathlon the decision to conduct the inaugural Super League Triathlon shortly after Olympic cycle was no coincidence. Same goes for athletes wanting to pursue their 2017 long course goals. Super League Triathlon is genuinely focused on our star athletes and is here to innovate the sport, not to disrupt it. We have the utmost respect for both ITU and the Ironman brand and abide by ITU governance.

To deliver the showcase event at the optimal time we were very fortunate to get access to one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, and the full support of the very professional staff of Hamilton Island. Super League Hamilton Island was all about showcasing what we are about and giving the world a taste of what is to come. A proof of concept if you will. Multiple days of racing, exciting and unpredictable formats, putting athletes and characters first, providing value to sponsors and venues, and utilising all modern media through high quality footage and providing full access with social media. 

We are very happy with the support we’ve received from the triathlon community and are motivated that all our hard work is appreciated. We nurture the constructive feedback many gave us. Super League Triathlon is very much a start-up made possible with the support and guidance of a few motivated and passionate individuals wanting to give back to the sport and invite everybody to step up and help us.

We’re committed to creating a global brand and bringing Super League Triathlon closer to you. Right now we are working on further venues, fine tuning formats and talking with partners to support the professional league. It is our intention to conduct more races between October 2017 and March 2018 as the first season proper of the Super League Triathlon Championship. This will include racing for female and male professionals. We’re making great strides on a Qualifier series for professional athletes keen to qualify for our Championship League.

Finally, we are also working on an exciting Age Group Series and Youth Series connected to future Super League Triathlon Championship events, as well as stand-alone Super League Age Group events, with participation opportunities for all. These events are focused on accessible distances that can be raced multiple times in a season. Combined with incredible spectating opportunities, Super League Triathlon Championship events will become a true multisport festival. We are working with innovative technology partners, venues and sponsors to bring that to you.

Please stay tuned, sign up for our newsletters, visit our website and tune in on social media. There’s much more to come over the following months.

 

Michael D’Hulst

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