Super League Triathlon’s September series comes to a conclusion this weekend in Malibu, California. That’s right, the traveling triathlon roadshow that is Super League Triathlon has made its way to U.S. shores, and will host its grand final this Saturday afternoon. Super League Triathlon’s 2021 Champions will be crowned, and the $1.25 million prize purse will be finalized and divvied up among the world’s best short-course athletes.
Here’s our take on why you should watch, what to look out for in this frenetic racing format, as well as how to watch, online or even in person. And if you need a refresher on “What is Super League Triathlon, Anyway?” we’ve got you covered with our guide from earlier this month.
Why Should You Watch?
After three races in Europe, the 40+ athletes racing the Super League Series have made the long trek across the Atlantic to the U.S. for the fourth and final race in the series. For triathlon fans, it’s a rare opportunity to see so many highly decorated short-course athletes racing on U.S. soil. Indeed, every single medalist from the recent Tokyo Olympic Games will be participating this weekend, including individual gold medalists, Flora Duffy and Kristian Blummenfelt, as well as the entire Great Britain gold medal winning team of Jessica Learmonth, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Jonathan Brownlee and Alex Yee. Last weekend’s Ironman 70.3 world champions, Lucy Charles-Barclay and Gustav Iden, are also on the start list, making for a talent-packed field.
For U.S. fans, two-time Olympic medalist Katie Zaferes will be racing, alongside local California athlete and World Triathlon 2021 bronze medalist Taylor Spivey. On the men’s side, watch out for the up-and-coming American Seth Rider, who has had a breakout 2021 World Triathlon season and has been in the mix in every Super League race in 2021.
Watch Out For These Highlights
The Great British swim battle
Great Britain’s Learmonth has had a flawless Super League season, winning three from three races. Can she make it a clean sweep here in Malibu? Key to her success has been her superior swimming ability that puts her at the front of the field out of the water and into T1 first. The addition of Charles-Barclay to the Malibu start list could disrupt Learmonth’s swim domination but Charles-Barclay will need to nail the transition to deny her compatriot the honors.
Tight tussle for the men’s overall title
In stark contrast to the women, the men’s event has thrown up three different winners from each of the 2021 Super League races: Hayden Wilde, Vincent Luis, and Yee. However, the most consistent performer has been Great Britain’s Brownlee, placing second at each event and placing him atop the series leaderboard. With extra points available this weekend, the race to earn the overall series title—and $50,000 bonus prize purse—remains tight. It will likely come down to a dramatic sprint finish.
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Single sport success offers a $20,000 pay check
A key innovation of Super League racing is the competition for single sport jerseys, rewarding the best swimmers, bikers, and runners with an extra $20,000 for their success over the season. On the women’s side, Learmonth has all but sewn up the swim and bike jerseys with Taylor-Brown the likely winner of the run jersey. For the men, Luis has been the standout swimmer while USA’s Rider is likely to wrap up the bike jersey this weekend. The closest jersey battle is for the men’s run jersey as Wilde is currently in the lead but has Luis and Brownlee nipping at his heels.
Will the Eagles continue to fly high?
The newest twist to 2021 Super League racing has been the introduction of the Teams Competition. $320,000 of the $1m+ prize purse is allocated to this competition with members of the winning team each earning $15,000. Even the lowest ranked team members will walk away with $2,500 each, ensuring that every athlete in the Super League Triathlon Series is paid for their globetrotting swim, bike, and run efforts. The Eagles appear to have an unassailable lead thanks to race wins by Learmonth and Yee as well as consistent racing by Spivey, Rider, and Vicky Holland. The battle for the minor placings among the teams remains close. The Sharks are currently in third but with the “wild card transfer” of Charles-Barclay to the team, they have the opportunity to move up to second. Likewise, the addition of Duffy to the Cheetahs, currently in fourth, breathes some extra life into their shot at an overall podium this weekend.
Don’t get caught at the back
The Malibu race will be The Eliminator, the best known format of Super League racing. Athletes compete in fear of the dreaded yellow elimination flag signaling the end of their race for the day. Three athletes will be eliminated after each swim, bike, and run discipline across each of the three stages. It’s a tactical race with athletes aiming to conserve energy while not getting caught out at the back of the field.
How to Watch
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can spectate the action live at Zuma Beach, Malibu. The women’s race starts at 1:30 p.m. (PT) with the men’s race at 2:45 p.m. (PT).
The race will be aired on Super League’s YouTube. It’s also available on FloSports (also known as FloTrack) and on TriathlonLive.tv (World Triathlon’s platform). You can see all the broadcast options in every country on the Super League website. In the U.S., the highlights show will air on CBS Sports on Oct. 14.