Races › Championship
13 Sep 2021
4 min read
Championship ○ Munich
Super League’s first visit to Germany certainly didn’t disappoint and threw up some very interesting talking points.
The Equalizer format meant the race was more focused on individual tactics than teams, and the way it played out had a huge impact on the Series. With two races down the athletes are also learning more about what it will take to be successful and how to stack the racing in their favour.
We take a look at 5 things we learned in Munich.
It’s not been 2021 that Vincent Luis dreamed of, but he’s back in business now. The unfortunate injury that effectively derailed his chances of Olympic gold are well and truly behind him and his goal of retaining his Super League title looks a real possibility now.
After finishing second behind Hayden Wilde in London he took the win in Munich with a carefully orchestrated plan coming together.
He rode a risk-free bike in the ITT, confident his swim would land him the Short Chute. It did and he crossed the line first to open up a two-point advantage over Wilde and Jonny Brownlee in the overall standings.
Next up is Luis’ favourite course and favourite format with the Enduro in Jersey. He’s going to be a hard man to catch now.
The Short Chute has always been an important advantage to get in Super League, but it’s rarely been so crucial as in 2021.
We will never know what might have occurred in sprint finishes and whether the results may well have been the same anyway, but it seemed to be the decisive factor in the men’s races in London and Munich.
We haven’t seen the same for the women but that’s because in London Vittoria Lopes never got to use hers, while in Munich Jess Learmonth was so far clear it only meant she got a few extra moments of respite at the end.
Expect some very aggressive racing from athletes early in the races in Jersey and Malibu to try and secure them.
We are so used to seeing Katie Zaferes brush aside the competition in the Super League that it has felt strange to see her off the end of race podiums that have been exclusively occupied by British women.
Her remarkable standards mean that ‘struggling’ is fourth in both London and Munich and third overall, which is still most people’s idea of very good indeed.
But perhaps all the racing she has done leading into Super League has taken a toll in terms of her dominating in her previous fashion.
One note of warning – Chris McCormack predicted some time ago this would be the case but felt she would be at full gas again by Jersey. And Zaferes has kept herself in the mix enough to be a threat.
Meanwhile, Georgia Taylor-Brown continues to cast a tall shadow over the women’s leaderboard. While all the attention has understandably been on Jess Learmonth’s perfect start to the Series, GTB has secured two-second places.
It leaves her just two points behind Learmonth in the overall standings.
One slip up from Learmonth and the title could be won by her good friend.
Ronnie Schildknecht was on hand to help motivate his team in Munich and it certainly helped.
The SLT Rhinos really struggled in London, particularly with their star man Marten Van Riel missing. But with Ronnie in the mix and Marten back in Munich things improved.
They collected 58 points to close the gap slightly on the SLT Cheetahs above them. But in truth, the Rhinos are the team that has underperformed badly when compared to the pre-Series predictions from the data. They will really need to get going in the next two events.
While the top five in the men’s overall Series leaderboard will come as little shock to anyone, there are some new faces in there that people may not have expected to see.
Shachar Sagiv came into Super League unfancied for success yet has been superb and sits sixth.
Max Studer, Seth Rider and Kenji Nener also feature in the top ten.
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