Super League Inside Track – Men

Flora Duffy is a two-time ITU World Triathlon Series World Champion, two-time ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion and four-time winner of the XTERRA World Championships alongside Bermuda’s first female Commonwealth gold medalist. So, she knows a thing or two about triathlon, not racing last weekend Flora was on hand to check out the racing, provide commentary for the television broadcast and get some tips for when she steps into SLT.

Day one saw the male field take on the TRIPLE MIX which shakes up the existing format and provides three individual efforts of SWIM, BIKE, RUN but in different orders with a 10 min break in-between races.

French athlete Vincent Luis took out the TRIPLE MIX wining in style, beating Henri Schoeman into second place, and leaving Kristian Blummenfelt to take the third step of the podium.

Day two put the tired legs up against the ENDURO – one of the most savage formats SLT has derived to this point, SWIM, BIKE, RUN yes but three times with no break in between. This format takes the short distance triathlon and transforms it into a brutal test of stamina and endurance as the athlete puts their body through the ringer to stay in touch.

On the men’s side the racing was frantic with changes of lead right up until the very last lap and almost until the final corner of the run. It was Vincent Luis who again showed he is someone to watch as the series continues by taking out the victory in front of Henri Schoeman, with a much-improved Richard Murray taking the third spot. Vincent’s second victory in as many days means he takes the Championship Weekend victory and the lead in the series as we head to Malta.

How are you feeling in yourself at the moment Flora?

“It’s been a tricky year with my foot and the hardest part is I really want to be racing this weekend, but I can’t – but I’m very excited to be here and to be doing some commentary – I’m a little nervous about the commentating but I’m sure it’ll be fine”

So when we spoke to you pre-race you picked both the winners – you nailed it!

“I had the three I thought were going to be on the podium, but I also thought Kristian Blummenfelt was going to be right up in the mix and he certainly was, he’s wasn’t a wild card as such, so I added Ollie Turner as a qualifier wild card as I really wanted him to make it through the rounds. He was racing the best in the world and getting through was an incredible accomplishment for him especially with this 90 second rule – trying to stay within 90 seconds of those guys was amazing”

Flora vs Reality:

Flora                                                   Reality

  1.    Vincent Luis (FRA)                      Vincent Luis (FRA)
  2.    Johnny Brownlee (GBR)           Henri Schoeman (RSA)
  3.    Richard Murray (RSA)                Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR)

Wild Card: Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR)

Qualifier:  Ollie Turner (JER)

So what was your view of the first SLT event of the series?

“Well I came in and I thought, how exciting can a triathlon really be…you know, because I’ve seen so many of them and been to so many. But. Yea this was incredibly exciting. With the format changes, the short chute and the dynamic racing in both the men’s and women’s fields it was incredible. No one really knew how well anyone would recover after day one so coming into the Enduro, with the elimination of two people after each segment and the 90 second rule, there was so much going on, so many races within races it was really cool!” 

Vincent duly provided as you expected, what did you think of his performance?

“He was really great to watch; the racing was so exciting and in the men’s race it was hard to call until the very final corner of the final race”

Was there anyone on the male side that did not perform as you expected?

“I guess Jake Birtwhistle but he crashed, so that was unfortunate and I don’t think he got to show his true colours”

So who are we looking out for going into Malta?

“Well if Vincent is racing then I have to say him, but I think Richard Murray is also one to watch going forward as I think he has his sights on the series as a whole”

What did you most enjoy about your week in Jersey?

“Hanging out with the athletes in a different environment, we ate together, breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it was very casual and I got to hang out with people I don’t see all year in a social environment.

Did you enjoy being on the other side of the curtain?

“No not so much, I enjoy the racing, but I did enjoy the commentary so that was cool, but I’d rather be racing”

Are you excited about racing in SLT at some point?

“Yea definitely, on Sunday I was chomping at the bit to be out there”

Did this weekend give you any idea of tactics when you do get to race?

“If I’m honest I learned a bit more from the men’s race, just little things – particularly watching things that Richard Murray did like running through the short chute before mounting his bike. They all put their swim caps on early on in the run before jumping back into the water. Just little things like that; I was certainly watching and observing and taking it in for when I race. Richard Murray has certainly got a racing brain for it”

Overall Podium and Championship Standings:

  1. Vincent Luis
  2. Henri Schoeman
  3. Kristian Blummenfelt

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