Races › Championship
5 Sep 2021
2 min read
Championship ○ London
Hayden Wilde produced a Super League tactical masterclass to top a Championship Series podium for the first time in London.
The New Zealander, off the back of securing an Olympic medal, was in hot form on the streets of London to secure victory in the opening round of the four week, back-to-back 2021 Championship Series.
Wilde was locked in a three-way battle with Vincent Luis and Jonny Brownlee throughout the Triple Mix, but his early decision to go hard on the bike to earn a Short Chute proved decisive as the extra seconds on the final lap of the run allowed him breathing space to take the victory.
He said: “I knew I had to get as close to Vincent and Jonny as I could before playing the Short Chute card, before giving it a big surge for the final 500m.
“Vincent’s a great battler, which is why I didn’t use it on the first leg as I knew he would’ve caught up with me. My tactics went well, and the Sharks all worked together – we were aiming to score points on the swim and the Short Chute on the bike and it worked.”
He added: “I know how hard it is to beat athletes such as Alex [Yee] and Jonny [Brownlee] on home soil. I knew Jonny was going to be the man to beat as half of Leeds seemed to be here as well, so it’s awesome to beat him as he’s a legend.”
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Luis was also pleased to come back to form after an injury hampered build-up to the Olympics.
“It’s been a hard year with an injury before the Olympics, but now I’m bouncing back,” said the defending Championship Series winner. “I was really going for the win today, but Hayden played it well tactically with the Short Chute. He won so fair play, but I guess we’ll see each other again next week.”
Brownlee, who recently added a gold to his Olympic silver and bronze medals, was being cheered on by a large home crowd.
“I gave it everything as it’s Super League racing and you know it’s going to be hard, but Hayden and Vincent were too strong for me today,” he admitted. “I knew I had to get on Vincent’s feet in the water as Hayden has beaten me up enough times in the swim before!”
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