Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt and the United States’ Katie Zaferes earned the Super League Jersey victories over the weekend, beating out all-star fields that featured several Olympic stars. The event is the second in the series, which showcases a super-sprint, multi-race format. The first took place in March on Australia’s Hamilton Island and controversially only included men. This time the women were included as each gender competed on Saturday (in the Triple Mix) and on Sunday (in the Eliminator), earning points in each even to determine the overall winners.
Men Day 1
Blummenfelt broke away in the final half-kilometer of the triple mix, a three-stage race with a 10-minute break between stages and a pursuit-style start in stages 2 and 3, to finish as the winner and leader heading into the second day of competition. South Africa’s Richard Murray and British crowd favorite and dual Olympic medalist Jonathan Brownlee finished in the second and third spots, respectively.
“It feels so good,” Blummenfelt said at the finish line. “Especially Murray, he’s really strong on the run so I wasn’t really sure of a way to get him but super pleased. I think the fact that we started the next stage with a gap played a huge role. We went hard in the beginning and kept going and worked well together. My plan was actually to stay a little bit more calm in the first stage but it’s too hard with this many people around cheering you on. I didn’t plan to go that hard in the beginning but seems the day played out well.” Watch a video recap here
Women Day 1
Zaferes stunned dual Olympic medalist Nicola Spirig in the triple mix. The American was never too far off the front throughout, and took the overall win with a narrow 19-second lead over the speedy Swiss. Compatriot Summer Cook rounded out the first women’s podium for the revolutionary race series.
“When I first got on the bike I was a little off technically with the corners, but I got more comfortable and moved up and was happy with how the race progressed as it got on,” Zaferes said. “The swim feels as horrible as all the boys told us it did, so at least I was prepared for that and didn’t panic. I felt nervous especially after having raced last weekend [in the Grand Final], but I felt good. I really hope to approach tomorrow just like I did today and hope the same result comes away from it, but Day 2 gets significantly harder. I’ll go for it for sure though.” Watch a video recap here
Women Day 2
Zaferes followed up her day one performance with an equally strong effort in the “Eliminator.”
The Eliminator format involved three stages of swim-bike-run, with the field progressively growing smaller. Only the top 15 finishers of stage 1 went on to stage 2, and only the 10 fastest finishers of stage 3 could compete for the Eliminator win.
Wet conditions on Sunday stood in stark contrast to the sunshine on opening day. As the technical bike course shimmered with leftover puddles from a midday storm, athletes needed to play a tactical game to ensure they stayed rubber-side up.
Zaferes took home the top prize of $18,000 and the first women’s trophy for Super League Triathlon after a consistent season on the world triathlon circuit. “It’s just so cool, it’s a different style of racing. It’s a fun style but it is so painful and you cannot hide anywhere,” she said. “I would love to do more of these.”
The day two podium ultimately mirrored the final overall podium, with Cook besting Spirig to the runner-up spot both in the race itself as well as in total points earned. Watch a video recap here
Men Day 2
Blummenfelt backed up his win on Saturday’s Triple Mix with the win in the Eliminator to score the maximum of 50 points and take the Super League Jersey overall win. The conditions were even wetter than the women’s race—held an hour earlier—as rain continued to pour down on Jersey.
Blummenfelt said he could not help his gutsy approach to the day’s racing, which has ultimately won for him $18,000 in prize money. “I tried to play a little bit safe in the beginning and just make it inside the top 15 and top 10 but it’s just so hard to hold back when I like racing,” he admitted. “Hopefully I get winter off training now and I’ll be fit for next year.”
Like the women, the podium for the Eliminator mirrored the overall podium as Brownlee took second place over the three-stage race and in overall points, knocking the previous runner-up and defending Super League Hamilton Island champion Murray down to third overall. Watch a video recap here