GTB v Spivey Down To The Wire, French Support and Podium Chances: Five Things We Learned From Super League Triathlon Toulouse

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Huge crowds, a challenging course and the set-up of an intriguing end to Super League’s 2022 Championship Series – Toulouse really delivered.

As the final round of the Series before the Grand Finale in NEOM on October 29 there was much to play for as the athletes and Teams made one last push to put themselves in line for titles and prize money.

Here’s five things we learned from an exciting day’s racing:

GTB v Spivey: Going to the wire

It is quite literally impossible to split Georgia Taylor-Brown and Taylor Spivey in the Overall Leaderboard.

The two rivals go into NEOM level on points and knowing that whoever finishes ahead will take the Championship Series title. It sets up an amazing and finely poised battle in the Grand Finale.

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Taylor-Brown probably goes into NEOM as the favourite given her victory in a flawless performance in Toulouse, achieved despite coming into the event suffering with illness.

Spivey won’t mind the underdog role she has played all Series, and despite losing time with a minor mishap early on the bike, she came back for second to prove what a force she is.

It is all on the line for a grandstand finish to the Series.

French magic

It has taken five years for Super League to land in France, but what a welcome Toulouse provided.

Many thousands of fans packed the course to cheer on the athletes and competed themselves for the best vantage points, from hills, to streets, to bridges, to create a Tour de France style atmosphere.

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Super League’s athletes were treated like stars in France, cheered by enthusiastic children who queued for autographs at school visits, having their names chanted in the athlete presentation the day before racing and stopped in the streets of Toulouse for selfies. Two hours after the race fans were still trying to catch a glimpse of their heroes warming down and leaving the venue.

Toulouse’s spectacular backdrop, the beautiful Place du Capitole which hosted the Fanzone, and the action provided by a unique city centre course, only added to it. What a debut.

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Can anybody stop Hayden?

After three wins from four, is there a chance anybody can beat Hayden Wilde in NEOM?

He looks utterly unstoppable, producing another flawless performance in Toulouse as his rivals seem to always make a crucial mistake or get caught up in some sort of mishap.

Wilde basically needs to cross the finish line in NEOM to claim the Championship Series title, and so needs to avoid a crash and hope there are no mechanical issues on the bike.

The chances of disaster are slim given his imperious form. This has been a Super League masterclass the likes of which we haven’t seen since Vincent Luis was dominating.

Reid under the radar

For all the talk of Wilde and Matt Hauser, Tayler Reid has not attracted a lot of attention but is having a fantastic Series.

Consistent and measured performances have seen him quietly climb his way to third in the Overall Leaderboard and with a shot at second place, as well as being in contention in the swim Discipline Leaderboard.

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While Reid’s big swim is a major factor in his success, you don’t get to third in the Series without being able to back it up across all disciplines.

He still needs a big performance in NEOM to secure a podium spot, but one big race would produce the biggest achievement of his career.

Sharks v Scorpions for the title

The Teams Leaderboard appears to be a straight shoot-out between Michelle Dillon’s SLT Sharks and Chris McCormack’s Bahrain Victorious Scorpions.

A quick word for Tim Don. His SLT Eagles, runaway winners in 2021, have been doing it tough this time round, but were the highest scoring team in Toulouse, showing great spirit and buoyed by a particularly strong showing from their men to lift them off the bottom.

At the top, the Sharks have a 17 point advantage heading into NEOM which certainly makes them favourites, so the Scorpions really need their men to perform for them and have further contributions in Discipline points to climb to the summit at the last.

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