Teams Talk: Chris McCormack On The SLT Scorpions

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Chris McCormack believes he has the beating of his rivals having snared an all-star line-up for the SLT Scorpions.

On the men’s side, he has the most dominant athlete in Super League history, Vincent Luis, leading the team, and also three-time World Champion Mario Mola, who is flying under the radar.

SLT Scorpions: Cassandre Beaugrand, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Ilaria Zane, Emilie Morier, Vincent Luis, Matt Hauser, Mario Mola, Shachar Sagiv.

His women’s squad includes double Olympic medalists Georgia Taylor-Brown and Cassandre Beaugrand, who didn’t have the Tokyo she hoped for but who has greta form in previous Super League events.

He has also sprinkled some young talent in there with Emilie Morier and Matt Hauser, and believes his squad will threaten for discipline points thanks to the swim power in his team.

Here, Macca gives us a guide to the SLT Scorpions:

team overview

My team is very well rounded. We have a lot of Super League experience in the team with Cassandre Beaugrand, Georgia Taylor-Brown and of course Vincent Luis, who has been unstoppable in Super League.

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Add to that mix Matt Hauser, who is exceptional at this distance, the experience of three-time World Champion Mario Mola and the inexperience of Emilie Morier and Shachar Sagiv, and I think as a team we have lot of front end swim-bike speed, balanced with unbelievable back end run speed of Cassandre, Georgia, Vince and Mario.

We are tightly knitted, a strong French contingent used to travelling, working and racing together.

We will focus on accumulating points early as I think it will be difficult to pull back points and we will go out of the blocks in London and get the biggest advantage for the rest of the Series. With the leadership of Vincent I think we will be tough to beat.

team bonding

I think it’s a great team. They all get on well together regardless. Mario Mola and Vincent Luis are training partners, Matt Hauser spends a lot of time with them.

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Georgia Taylor-Brown is easy to get along with, a remarkable young woman. Cassandre is such a strong powerhouse but will lean on Georgia’s experience.

Our biggest strength remains the balance and like all teams you are only as good as the relationships within those teams and all our members are remarkably good friends and will be very easy to lead.

biggest rivals

I think the Eagles will be tough with Jess Learmonth, and Taylor Spivey after not going to the Olympics, as well as Alex Yee and Vicky Holland.

The Rhinos have Katie Zaferes really leading the charge with Marten Van Riel and Jake Birtwhistle and they will be tough to beat. 

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You have to look across the three disciplines and, sure, the individual racing will happen, but looking at the team dynamic and how you accumulate points it’s being consistent across the three disciplines aligned with winning the races so I see a lot of strength there in the Rhinos.

Annie’s team will cause problems in the swim where we are trying to pick up points but I think we have a lot of teams covered. I don’t look at the other teams and panic in any way, shape or form. The arsenal we have and the options will allow us to pick up the points that we need.

Who do you not have but wish you had in your team?

I never wish for things I don’t have. In any team you take the assets you have and refine them and make them work well together. A team is strong together, not as individuals. There are individual players to look at and I have always liked the racing style of athletes we don’t have such as Maya Kingma, Rachel Klamer, Yuko Takahashi, Katie Zaferes, Alex Yee, and there’s so much talent in Super League racing. But I don’t look at any team and think we are missing anything.

Our strength will come because of the way we interact with each other. We are a tight knit group and ultimately that will be the balancing act that will have us win.

team tactics

I will be working a lot with Vincent Luis. Nobody knows how to win this racing better than Vince and he’s a very tactical guy himself. As a manager I will build a strategy and having lived, breathed and slept this style of racing I have my ideas of what to do.

We need to get out of the blocks very quickly and establish our authority over the other teams very quickly in London so we will be looking to be strong off London and into Munich.

Our tactics will evolve as we go but I have a lot of confidence in Vincent Luis and Cassandre Beaugrand and Georgia and the rest of the team.

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It’s one thing to have tactics but as Mike Tyson said everyone has a plan until they get punched in the head and that’s what will happen here in a sense.

Once we see the form guide and the balancing act of the other athletes we will make some adjustments.

We will be trying to take the lead and then it will be up to the other teams to dislodge us. It’s much easier to play defence than offence so that is how we will be racing and be offensive from the front end and then a more defensive role and be more tactical as the Series unfolds.

management style

I’m a pretty passionate guy when it comes to racing and I see my management style building up the belief in this group of athletes. For the first time in triathlon they will work as a team and benefit from the performance of one another across a Series and so it’s giving confidence that we have an arsenal to win the events.

Each athlete has a strength and we are going to utilise it and it’s giving them the confidence to go out and bring those points into the team.

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There’s a lot of money on offer and my job as a manager is to build confidence.

I love winning. I always have. I’m very passionate and tactical and always have been and I want to instil that belief within the group and have an enjoyable experience, but there’s a lot on the line. There would be nothing better than winning this.

how will SLT Teams will change the race dynamics?

The Teams concept will change the whole racing dynamic we have known. There are individuals who will go after individual honours and I see that in my team with Cassandre, Georgia, Vincent and to a degree Mario as well as they are capable of winning the overall as individuals.

We will definitely be looking at individual honours but understanding as a team we need to accumulate points, so working together in certain elements of the racing will be key and having people understand those tactics will be important.

Vincent brings a lot of experience so let him be the captain on the road on the men’s side.

On the women’s side we don’t have a patron as such as we have a lot of young talent but I am confident that given the right instructions and building that dynamic we will perform very well and that changes the entire the dynamic, having people watch and understand the race as a team element happens and there are tactics in play.

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