Nine Athletes Vie For The Title As Super League Triathlon’s Championship Series Reaches Thrilling Climax In NEOM
October 18, 2023
LONDON, UK/ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Titles, money and glory are all on the line as Super League Triathlon’s Championship Series builds to a thrilling finale in NEOM on Saturday (October 21).
Four women and five men arrive in Saudi Arabia within touching distance of the coveted trophy, and a significant share of the $1.24m prize pot. The Team competition is also set for a grandstand finish, with the RTP Sharks leading on 296 points but without the injured Beth Potter. Defending champions Bahrain Victorious Scorpions sit in second on 286 while the Santara Tech Eagles are also within reach on 278.
With 20 points for the winner in NEOM and 18 for second – and the last result counting in the event of a tie – the top three men and women know that winning the race would guarantee them the title.
In the men’s, Leo Bergere (29 points), Jonny Brownlee (28 points), and Hayden Wilde (27 points), start as favourites. Just behind them sat level on 25 points are Alex Yee and Henri Schoeman. Chances are they will have to win in NEOM, and if they do that then they need to finish three places ahead of Bergere and two places ahead of Brownlee and Wilde to get their hands on the trophy.
In the women’s, Jeanne Lehair leads the way with 28 points with Emma Lombardi (27) and Kate Waugh (26) in close order. Sophie Coldwell needs a bit to go her way, but is certainly not out of it. The RTP Sharks athlete sits level on 24 points with Beth Potter, whose unfortunate training crash rules her out of a shot at the title. For Coldwell to take the Series win she would need to beat Lehair and Lombardi by two places and Waugh by one place. That would effectively mean that if she won in NEOM she would need Lehair and Lombardi to finish third or below.
Injury robbed Cassandre Beaugrand of a shot at the Series win with her absence in Toulouse costing her dearly. However, her performance in NEOM is sure to have a huge impact on deciding who wins. Her imperious victory in Malibu suggests she is the athlete to beat in NEOM, even if winning would leave her on 35 points and realistically out of title contention. If Beaugrand were to win again then the maths for the others moves down a spot. If she were to finish second then it gets very interesting because if Coldwell were to win then she would be champion.
There is also a lot of tension among the athletes as they chase the $15,000 prize for winning the Discipline Leaderboards, with the swim and the run incredibly close for the men.
Henri Schoeman and Max Stapley are tied on 12 points each in the swim, while Chase McQueen is just four points back. Emil Holm has a commanding six point advantage in the bike leaderboard. If he scores at all then he wins. If Reese Vannerson scores in the run then he takes the leaderboard.
The most closely contested for the women is the bike, where there have been three different winners so far who come to NEOM all sat on eight points – Cathia Schär, Jess Fullagar and Taylor Spivey. That is not the case for the swim, where Sophie Coldwell is dominating. If she finishes in the top three fastest splits for the swim in NEOM then she wins it. The same is true for Lehair for the run, but Beaugrand secured eight points in her first appearance of the season in Malibu and is favourite to repeat in NEOM, meaning Lehair’s margin for error could be reduced.
The event will also see Super League Triathlon contribute to the growth of the sport in Saudi Arabia, with a ‘Stars of the Future’ programme in collaboration with the Saudi Triathlon Federation seeing budding athletes invited to live with the pros. SLT star athletes will also be visiting schools to coach young girls and boys.
For further details please visit Super League Triathlon’s website.