SLT Stat Crunch: What Gaps Are Needed On The Bike Time Trial For Victory?

Beaugrand v Zaferes. Luis v Blummenfelt. Will the bike time trial be a huge leveller? Can anybody else make a decisive move to upset the odds?

There are so many questions and so much intrigue heading into the Finals at Super League Malta.

The triathlon world is gearing up for a thrilling and unpredictable day of racing with the Equalizer format set to offer the best triathletes in the world a challenge they have never encountered before.

Super League Malta’s spectacular women’s and men’s Finals will be raced as an Equalizer with an Individual Time Trial on the bike to begin with via a 3.5 lap sprint round the hilly course.

The athletes then have a five minute break before they are set off in a pursuit style based on their ITT times for the Shortened Enduro, which is two rounds of swim-bike-run.

So just who does this benefit? What gaps do athletes need to create on the time trial to stay away? And how could the races pan out?

We asked our data analyst, Graeme Acheson, to crunch the numbers after the Semi-Finals and give us his expert insight.


The women’s side is interesting as the difference in speeds of the Semi-Finals has skewed the data a bit. Rachel Klamer and Katie Zaferes were racing most of the way through their Semi-Final and really set some pretty impressive times round the course, particularly on the run.

Katie’s second run was the fastest of the day (4:58) with Rachel second on 5:06. Cassandra’s fastest run was 5:24, but she didn’t need to push it too hard in her Semi-Final.

It will be interesting to see how Cassandra reacts to this tough course if and when she’s pushed on it. Doubly so if she’s forced to chase if, as expected, she has lost a bit of time on the bike ITT to both Katie and Rachel. How much is enough to force a reaction?

If Jersey is anything to go by then they will need at least five seconds – this was the margin that Cassandra took out of them in the first swims, and from there won the race. We’ve got to assume she’s capable of taking at least this much out of them again.

Sophie Coldwell and Taylor Spivey both also had strong performances and have strong bikes and swims. They could so some damage on the bike TT, followed by staggered swim start.

Fastest bike in the Semi-Finals was Klamer with a 7:38, a couple of seconds ahead of Ilaria Zane on 7:40.


On the men’s side it is still the Vincent Luis show, but a little bit less so than normal. Kristian Blummenfelt did his chances no harm with a storming set of swim-bike-runs across the board, with his second run pace nearly as fast as his first.

Interesting stat: Henri Schoeman was the only guy to get faster from run one to two, which may have been as he realised that he was in danger of missing a qualification spot and had better get motoring.

The format of the Final should play into Blummenfelt’s style of racing well, so it will be interesting to see how he approaches it.

Fastest bikes in the Semi-Fianls were both Norwegians – Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden – 6:43 – but this wasn’t by much.

Likewise, with some of the other strong bikers – Hayden Wilde, Richard Murray, Aaron Royle, Marten Van Riel – how much time can they put into Luis in this ITT? How much do they need to stay away on that first swim?

Looking at the Semi-Finals, Luis swam a 3:05 and a 3:16. Blummenfelt 3:13 and 3:26, Royle 3:14 and 3:22, Wilde 3:14 and 3:35, Murray 3:13 and 3:31. A lot of numbers there, but generally Luis is taking about 10 seconds out of most them on the first swim and 15 or so on the second. Obviously, there is differences in the circumstance of both heats, but if they want to stay away from him on that first swim, they are likely to need at least 10 seconds.

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