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Super League Triathlon Recap: Toulouse 2023
One of our favorite events — The Super League Triathlon — is back and underway for 2023! We love and admire triathletes for their absolute dedication to the grind and the beautiful punishment and reward that comes from mastering not one, not two, but three kick-ass sports and then combining them all into grueling races.
Having hit the halfway point of the racing tour, we figure it’s time for a recap and update to check in on the four teams, the Eagles, Sharks, Scorpions, and Warriors. This championship series runs, swims, and bikes its way through London, UK, Toulouse, France, Malibu, USA, and Neom, Saudi Arabia.
“We’re still gonna stay hungry. We’ve got to stay focused.” — Michelle Dillon, Team Manager, Sharks
Here’s what happened in Toulouse.
The Race Format
For Toulouse, the race format followed what Super League first kicked off their series with back in 2021: The Triple Mix.
Racers compete over three stages, mixing up the order each time. The first race is a shotgun start, followed by two rounds of pursuit starts. Racers get a three minute break between each stage.
Stage One: Swim-Bike-Run
Stage Two: Run-Bike-Swim
Stage Three: Bike-Swim-Run
Women’s Triple Mix
The women’s event kicked off with high hopes for Jeanne Lehair who took the London title and would now be performing in her hometown of Toulouse. This particular race left a lot of room for changing up the championship board, as a lot of names were missing from the top five for this race with an expectation to return in Malibu.
We kick things off at Port de la Daurade.
Stage 1: Swim-Bike-Run
After a shotgun start, the Sharks crushed the swim, then the bike, then the run, winning their team the Short Chute. The Short Chute is unique to Super League and gives a strategic time advantage in the third stage to the teams that win them. For a full breakdown, check out the Super League site. Kate Waugh, at 24 years old, led the entire race, quickly getting ahead of favorite Lehair and maximizing opportunities on the bike to complete one of the quickest bike times of the competition with a crushing 11 second gap.
Stage 2: Run-Bike-Swim
Kicking off with a pursuit start, Waugh remained right in front. Stage two quickly became a battle of the Sharks and Eagles. Despite buckle issues costing Lehair the first spot (this is where perfect transitions become crucial), she gave Waugh the race of a lifetime, sprinting after the swim to the finish where Lehair crossed ahead of Waugh by half a second. In a crushing turn of events, the buckle issue turned into a disqualification for Lehair, putting Waugh back into that top spot.
“Rules are the rules. The helmet was done up, but the rule is you have to go back to your transition,” Tim Don, manager of the Eagles explained.
“Absolutely heartbroken for [Lehair], but I know she’ll be back.”
Stage 3: Bike-Swim-run
Thanks to that pursuit start, Kate Waugh, one of the best bike handlers amongst the women, kicked off the final stage with a half-second gap. As stage three came to a close, Kate Waugh crossed the line nearly a full minute ahead, proving herself a real contender for a championship standing. Having never taken a podium before, this was a huge achievement for Waugh! She was followed by Leonie Perault in second, and Emma Lombardi in third.
Following Toulouse, there are three Sharks in the lead for the championship: Kate Waugh, Olivia Mathias, and Jessica Fullagar. Unfortunately, after the disqualification, Lehair dropped from that 1st place spot down to 5th. The Sharks hit the 200 point mark and lead the event, followed by the Scorpions, Warriors, and Eagles.
“I knew I had a good chance of getting on the podium today. I just decided to take each stage as it went and just go absolutely full gas from the gun and it paid off today,” Waugh told interviewers after the race.
Men’s Triple Mix
The men’s Triple Mix was just as exciting and competitive, with huge opportunities for a championship board shake up as a few athletes like leader, Alex Yee, couldn’t attend Toulouse. Many were watching Tayler Reid after his podium last week in London. Here’s how it shook out.
Stage 1: Swim-Bike-Run
After the shotgun start in the swim, Leo Bergere went straight to the front of the bike and crossed the run line first, followed closely by Olympic medalist and fantastic cross-country runner, Jonathan Brownlee, and Kristian Blummenfelt.
Stage 2: Run-Bike-Swim
After their three minute break, the racers were back and the drama began! During the bike, Tayler Reid, a podium hopeful after last week, crashed his bike around the corner and took himself out of the race. From there, some crucial mistakes were made as racers made wrong turns and botched transitions.
“They need a calm head. We saw some crucial mistakes from both top men and top women today, which affected their overall performance and position.” — Tim Don, Team Manager, Eagles
Wind and chop, as well as tidal movement in the river made for a tricky swim with Seth Rider coming across the line first, followed by Hayden Wilde, and Bergere in third.
Stage 3: Bike-Swim-Run
Talk about pressure as Bergere, a Toulouse local, begins the final stage with a negligible head start in this pursuit-style beginning. With three of the strongest cyclists starting the group, Bergere, Wilde, and Brownlee, spectators knew it was going to be a good race.
Unfortunately for Brownlee, right as the bike got underway he fell off the back, but Wilde stuck close to Bergere. There, the drama and confusion took hold as Bergere unstrapped only to see Wilde pass him by! In a crushing turn of events, Wilde miscounted his laps, forcing him to return after setting out on an extra and pushing him to the very back of the pack.
Bergere, who had the Short Chute for his team, took the podium, followed by Brownlee and Henri Schoeman. In a shocking recovery, and, as the announcers said, by “running on pure rage fumes,” Wilde made up time and came in fourth.
As Toulouse came to a close, it was a huge win for local Leo Bergere and enough to push him up to 5th place in the championship standings. In the top three, we have Jonathan Brownlee, Henri Schoeman, and Daniel Dixon. The Sharks remain in first at 230 points, followed by the Scorpions, the Eagles, and the Warriors.
“I think I made the right choices during the three stages today,” said Leo Bergere about his win.
The next big event will take place in Malibu on the 30th of September! Congrats to all the racers so far who are absolutely crushing their performances and showing us that they truly are Super League material.
“There’s a second place here if not a first place if you just believe in yourself.” — Michelle Dillon, Team Manager, Sharks
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