Unstoppable Champions, Teams Delivers And A Dramatic Course: Five Things We Learned From Super League Triathlon NEOM

Men Race Superleague Triathlon Grand Final Neom (bz) 2022 079

Super League’s biggest ever Championship Series delivered an epic finish as champions were crowned, prize money won and lost and a new venue was born.

There was no shortage of drama at the Grand Finale in NEOM, and the racing left an awful lot to unpack.

Here, we take a look at five things we learned from Super League’s 2022 swansong.

GTB is unstoppable

Georgia Taylor-Brown v Taylor Spivey was the headline clash of the day. The Brit and the American came into NEOM inseparable at the top of the Overall Leaderboard and faced a winner takes all showdown.

They were neck-and-neck for almost the entire race as well, and heading on to the final run of a five event Series still were so close they could reach out and touch each other.

Superleague Grand Final 2022 Neom Pro Women Dw. 103

It was GTB who had the gas in the tank at the vital moment, pulling clear of Spivey and then chasing down race leader Sophie Coldwell.

It is amazing to think Taylor-Brown had not won an SLT race prior to this year, but three victories in the five events means she can feel very worthy of defending her title.

Teams delivers the excitement

In the build-up to the event the tension around the Athlete Village surrounding the Teams Leaderboard was palpable.

The SLT Sharks were ahead before the event, but this was a contest the Bahrain Victorious Scorpions were desperate to win.

Superleague Grand Final 2022 Neom Pro Men Dw. 180

They were incredibly pumped for the racing, and had every base covered tactically, even refusing to give Taylor-Brown their Short Chute in search of more points lower down the Leaderboard.

It was a see-saw day, with the Scorpions’ women again delivering to see them claw their way to the top of the table.

Then the pressure was on the men. The Scorpions have not really delivered, while the Sharks have been so strong. It looked like it would be a narrow Sharks victory but Tyler Mislawchuk and then Ryan Fisher buried themselves on the final run.

It was that 11th place from Fisher, his final hurrah before retirement, that got them over the line for a two point victory. The celebrations were big and bold. This was one they really wanted.

Hauser and Hayden: The Battle That Almost Was

Matt Hauser once again proved his quality in NEOM with a brilliant victory, but Hayden Wilde’s third place was comfortably enough to secure him the Championship Series title.

Wilde has been supreme in 2022, his racing near flawless, and not just about power but also poise as well. He has truly come of age.

Men Race Superleague Triathlon Grand Final Neom (bz) 2022 012

Sport is full of what ifs, but you couldn’t help but wonder the contest that might have been had Hauser not crashed in Malibu. He looked on course to win that race even early on, and that would have meant a real fight at the top of the Leaderboard. That is one to look forward to in 2023.

Podium getters and big winners

There were broad smiles on the faces of Sophie Coldwell and Jonny Brownlee after the race.

Not only did they secure podium places on the day, but they also did the same in the Series as well, which is quite remarkable given they both only raced four events, Coldwell by choice and Brownlee aften being struck down by illness in Malibu.

Coldwell is little more than a week away from her wedding and has a double reason to celebrate. Brownlee, who climbed into the Overall top three thanks to his second place in NEOM in a titanic battle with Hauser and Wilde, was surprised but delighted to make it in, and has proved he is back after his nasty injury in Leeds earlier in the year.

Men Race Superleague Triathlon Grand Final Neom (bz) 2022 001

There were other movers and shakers as well. In the Discipline Leaderboards the biggest shock saw Vasco Vilaca come through from third to grab the win and $15,000.

In the Overall, Richard Murray finished in top 10 to prove he can compete with the young pups while Nicole van der Kaay’s fifth placed finish in a race with enhanced points on offer saw her dramatically leap into ninth in the Series and pick up some extra cash.

NEOM a course like no other

Super League followed up on a first race in France in Toulouse with a first race in Saudi Arabia. The contrast could not have been more stark, but perfectly summed up SLT’s desire to produce unique courses which challenge the athletes in different ways.

Men Race Superleague Triathlon Grand Final Neom (bz) 2022 009

NEOM was a desert landscape, it was windy, the bike was challenging and the heat intense.

The stunning scenery made for a truly spectacular broadcast and delivered an event that is here to stay in the coming years as SLT commits to help the Saudi Triathlon Federation continue to grow the sport in the region.

Sign up now