Races › Championship
12 Sep 2021
4 min read
Championship ○ Munich
After coming close to the title at Super League London a week ago, France’s short-course triathlon star Vincent Luis has today cruised to SLT victory in Munich, Germany. The final swim, bike and run legs of the Equalizer format became a showdown between Luis and Jonny Brownlee but the French star, aided by a Short Chute advantage, was first to cross the line ahead of his British rival. GB’s Alex Yee was third.
With New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde the star of last weekend’s London showpiece ahead of Luis and Brownlee, the two major players of triathlon looked in the mood for revenge from the moment the racing began.
But it would be Luis who would control the race’s final stages, knowing he had a Short Chute up his sleeve and applying it just before the finishing chute to take the overall lead in the series and plenty of points for his Super League Scorpion team.
“I had to really dig deep on the swim to grab the Short Chute and I was pretty empty on the last bike and run,” explained Luis at the finish.
I had to steal some points from Hayden [Wilde] and first feels a lot better than the second I got in London! I even thought about not using the Short Chute to set up a fair sprint with Jonny but he was strong on the run and attacked a few times, and I didn’t want to waste what I’d fought for on the swim.Vincent Luis
I had to steal some points from Hayden [Wilde] and first feels a lot better than the second I got in London! I even thought about not using the Short Chute to set up a fair sprint with Jonny but he was strong on the run and attacked a few times, and I didn’t want to waste what I’d fought for on the swim.
Super League Munich was the debut visit to the major multisport nation of Germany of Super League Triathlon, and the suitable setting was the historic Olympiapark in Munich, home of the 1972 Olympic Games, Germany’s 1974 football World Cup triumph and the venue for the 2022 European Games, in which triathlon will feature.
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Following London’s Triple Mix, today’s format was the Equalizer, beginning with an individual TT bike leg of 2.4km to decide the starting order of the pursuit-style Stage 2. The latter would consist of two triathlons back-to-back, consisting of a 300m lake swim followed by a 3.6km bike and a 1.8km run.
Kicking off today’s thrilling combination of multisport action was the Equalizer’s TT bike leg, which consisted of two laps and 2.4km full of cobblestones, twisting turns, sharp crests and lumpy asphalt, with muggy conditions adding to the tough test for the triathletes.
After missing London, Belgium’s Marten Van Riel was first onto the course and one of the key contenders for the Stage 1 win, having impressed in the practice rounds the day before the race and with some serious Super League pedigree in his locker.
Yet it would be America’s Seth Rider who’d be the swiftest tri time-triallist of the day with a 3:29min split over the 2.4km course. Switzerland’s Max Studer was 2secs down and Van Riel 2secs further back, with last weekend’s London podium stars Hayden Wilde, Vincent Luis and Jonny Brownlee all absent from the TT’s top 10.
Despite his low TT placing, Vincent Luis was first out of the Olympiapark’s lake after the 300m swim ahead of New Zealand’s Tayler Reid, with Luis taking the Short Chute honour. Luis was soon leading the charge on the bike and putting the chasers under pressure, with many of the big names (Brownlee, Yee and Spain’s Mario Mola) all over 10secs in arrears.
Yet the Frenchman couldn’t shake off the chasers and Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca took to the front halfway through the bike. Into Transition 2 and Jonny Brownlee surged to the front after a fantastic T2, chased hard by Luis, Wilde, Yee and Van Riel as the pre-race favourites all entered the fray. Yee took to the front by the end of the first run, applying the pressure and pushing the contenders to their limits to set up a compelling finale.
Caps and goggles were applied towards the end of the run leg, yet Alex Yee missed his box in transition to lose the lead and Wilde toppled to the floor before entering the water. Yee and Wilde’s loss was Luis’ gain and the French star was soon controlling the tempo of the swim with Brownlee clinging to his feet.
Luis first out of the swim ahead of Brownlee, their 13secs lead over the chasers ensuring this would become a familiar showdown between the resurgent short-course stars. After 3.6km of cycling cat and mouse, the advantage was 15secs onto the run and the $20,000 cheque was only going to be in the hands of Luis or Brownlee. With Luis boasting the Short Chute advantage, however, Brownlee knew he had to make a breakaway during the run.
Yet Brownlee was unable to make the decisive move as Luis looked in control throughout the 1.8km. With the finish line looming into view, Luis applied his Short Chute card to take the victory 4secs ahead of Brownlee and 15secs before the chasing Yee. In doing so, Luis would become the series leader before next weekend’s showdown at Super League Jersey.
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