Exciting, expertly-branded and televised to thrill; Super League is the most exciting triathlon series we’ve ever seen. After the first Super League event on 16th March, Trizone looks back at the commentary, the outfits, the course and even Ian Thorpe’s surprise appearance.
Why is Super League the new ‘cool’ version of triathlon?
It’s a new race series with a mix of Hunger Games-style elimination, gruelling short-course tracks and Olympic-speed racing, all within three days so the athletes are exhausted to the brink of collapse. Sound brutal? It was, especially in 80% humidity and 32 degree heat on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.
Seeing the world’s best athletes completely exhausted was entertaining
Created from Chris Mccormick’s imagination, Super League saw the world’s best triathletes more exhausted than we’ve ever seen them. On the first day, as the second bike race started, top athletes were calling ‘wait wait’ as commentator and world-class cyclist Robbie McEwan led them up through the course. “Everyone’s exhausted, they’re telling me to slow down,” McEwan told viewers. The long faces, exhausted legs and fatigued bodies made for great television on that first day, as we saw exactly how worn out the athletes were.
After crossing the finish line first on day one, South Africa’s Richard Murray said breathlessly “I was going at 360 watts on the bike for half an hour. That’s some racing!” By day two, Murray lead again, but he wasn’t so chirpy at the finish. “Each day is getting harder and harder,” Murray told McEwan, “But I’m stoked with the swim, stoked with the crowd and stoked with Super League.”
Devastating heat and gruelling gradients made for great TV
Not only was the race schedule completely different to any other triathlon event in the world, the course was pretty tough too. The bike leg went up Mango Tree Hill on Hamilton Island that boasts a 14% gradient, and the second day’s bike journeyed up One Tree Hill with a terrifying 24% gradient. Not only was it steep, but it was fast; the track back into the Hamilton Island Marina was so steep cyclists were going 75km/h, needing to pull up quickly before the transition.
Seeing the guys flying down the hill, particularly in the rain on the last day was pretty exciting, especially on day one when Ben Shaw miscounted the laps and took his shoes off too early. Poor guy.
Alistair Brownlee’s struggles had us intrigued
Well-spoken yet slightly pushy commentator Robbie McEwan helped us get up-close and personal with the athletes thanks to his on-the-ground interviews. We were especially interested to see what was happening to Alistair Brownlee.
Brownlee trotted into the finish on day one in 19th place, knowing he wouldn’t have the points to be in contention for the win, and not wanting to overdo it. Brownlee told McEwan “I felt bad from the start. I just didn’t have the legs up the hills. I came off my bike (at transition) and just didn’t have anything, the first kilometre was horrendous.”
As day two progressed, Brownlee was competitive again, but by the run it was all over for the famous athlete and he jogged into last place at the end of the day. “I always knew it was going to be a big ask coming all this way [from the UK] and in the heat,” Brownlee told McEwan but on the last bit I got a stitch. I don’t think I’ve had a stitch since I was twelve and running cross country.”
McEwan knows viewers love Brownlee after he pulled his brother over the line at the World Champs last year, so he follows his progress across the three days. On the last day though, Brownlee had pulled out and McEwan makes sure we know why. “Today I just struggled to get out of bed, I could barely run or warm up,” Brownlee said, “I feel really achey and flu-ey. I’m not sure I’d make it through the swim,” so off he went to join the commentators for day three although he said he’d rather go to bed.
The commentary was mostly good….mostly
Super League’s commentary box was made up of Chris McCormick, Emma Frodeno (nee Snowsill) and Will Mcloy, and for the most part; it was well done. Much like the Olympics; the dramatic montages of the sports artfully edited with heavy music kept us entertained and tied in nicely to the commentary.
Emma Frodeno gave us valuable insight into the different strengths of each athlete from different race leagues like WTS vs. Ironman. Throughout the racing she explained how they’d apply themselves in Super League eg. “The short course run is bringing out strengths in some of the young guys they haven’t been able to show off before.”
Will Mcloy spoke a lot more getting a little wrapped up in his own jokes; and was swiftly interrupted by Super League co-founder Chris McCormick when he got carried away. Chris would then go on to focus on the technical aspects of the event. This created some disjointed commentary, but it was altogether smooth. There was a clear bias toward the Australia athletes, particularly Jacob Birtwhistle and Ryan Bailie, but Australian viewers wouldn’t have minded that.
A few technical glitches occurred including being unable to hear a few people McEwan was interviewing, and two overly long panoramas of Hamilton Island that were devoid of commentary; but this could be due to the mountains and remote location of the island.
Robbie McEwan’s interviews helped us meet the athletes like never before
Robbie McEwan added the personal element to the event, which makes for the most interesting viewing. While he made a few jokes, he was articulate and spoke clearly to the athletes even when they were rushing in transition. The candid moments he captured, like Richard Murray saying “big gear no fear,” on day three helped us see the personalities of the athletes we don’t usually see.
Strangely though, McEwan interviewed Ian Thorpe on day one.The audio connection had technical difficulties which made what seemed an awkward segment even more out-of-place. While Thorpe may have been a strange non-triathlete choice, he gave interesting insight into the world of sports in general. He spoke about the important of entertainment in sport, and explained how lactic acid sets in after ten minutes; making the 10 minute gaps in Super League almost more difficult for the athletes. Overall it worked well thanks to McEwan’s affable interviewing style.
Would you watch Super League?
Yes. You’ve never seen triathlon coverage, or a triathlon event quite like this.
Let’s be honest, triathlon isn’t thrilling to watch, and the commentary can be excruciatingly bad. Super League is different; it blends the entertainment and drama only seen in televised sports in America, with exceptional athleticism and gruelling feats for true entertainment.
Super League in a nutshell
A class act, genuinely exciting race formats and professional, exciting and compelling coverage to keep you interested, Super League has it all and we’re hooked!
Trizone will keep you updated on the details of Super League and its future events throughout 2017. Stay tuned.
Major League Triathlon Adds 3rd International Team
Major League Triathlon, the first and only professional triathlon league in North America, has announced a 9th team (3rd International franchise) for the 2018 season. For the first time in the league’s history, a National team from Mexico will participate in MLT.
The new franchise, dubbed, Guardianes de Guadalajara (Guadalajara Guardians), will consist of many of the top Mexican National Team athletes. The team will include:
- Crisanto Grajales
- Irving Perez
- Abraham Rodriguez
- Aram Peñaflor
- Leonardo Saucedo
- Cecilia Perez
- Vanesa de La Torre
- Adriana Carreño
- Andrea Gutierrez
- Lizeth Rueda
“We are thrilled to welcome this team to Major League Triathlon.” Said Daniel Cassidy, CEO of Major League Triathlon. “Triathlon Mexico and their athletes have established themselves as one of the world’s top federations leading up to Tokyo 2020. We are extremely excited to continue to increase the level of competition and give our athletes the opportunity to race Mixed Team Relay at the highest level possible. “
Major League Triathlon will host nine professional teams and will host many of the World’s best elite triathletes including international teams from Australia, Canada, and Mexico. MLT will host four events, making stops in: Atlantic City, Vail Valley, Tempe and Charlotte. The third year league specializes in the Mixed Team Relay format of racing, which will make its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. At every event, each athlete will swim 300 meters, bike four miles and run one mile, one at a time, before tagging their next teammate. The first team to have all four athletes cross the finish line will win.
Guardianes de Guadalajara
Guardianes de Guadalajara is the only Mexican/Latin-American Team competing in Major League Triathlon. They represent the City of Guadalajara. The Guardianes de Guadalajara will feature experienced triathletes like Olympians: Crisanto Grajales (London 2012 and Rio 2016), Irving Pérez (Río 2016), Cecilia Pérez (Río 2016) and the future of the extremely strong Mexican National Team including: Junior and U23 triathletes like Vanesa de la Torre, Abraham Rodriguez and Aram Peñaflor.
Rudy Project Launches Project Podium for Age Group Athletes
Rudy Project North America, the exclusive distributor of Italian-made endurance sports gear, and the most worn helmet at Kona 7 times in a row is launching Project Podium, an initiative that rewards North America’s fastest age group triathletes with award-winning performance Rudy Project eyewear and helmets. All age group racers that win their age group in any sanctioned long distance triathlon in the United States and Canada are eligible to receive a free, top-of-the-line Rudy Project Boost 01 road aero helmet and a pair of Tralyx sunglasses. Winners will also be featured on Rudy Project’s website and lauded on social media as the top long-distance age group triathletes on the continent.
“A full-distance, 140 miles plus race is nothing to sneeze at, and attempting one is a feat in of itself,” said Paul Craig, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Rudy Project North America. “To win your age group, to come out on top, is something exceptional, and we want to reward the best, with the best.”
The program is open to all age group triathletes that compete in a sanctioned long distance triathlon race, in Canada or the United States, that is included in Project Podium’s list of eligible races. Athletes must be legal residents of either Canada or the United States in order to be eligible to win. The prize pack being offered is worth up to $625 USD, and triathletes that win their age group can submit their results online for verification at www.rudyprojectna.com/pages/project-podium in order to redeem. Athletes will be able to choose from the entire Boost 01 road aero colour line up, which includes Stealth Black and eye-popping Pink Fluo. Rudy Project’s new road aero helmet is quickly becoming an athlete favourite, following wind tunnel testing by ProCycling Magazine that demonstrated the Boost 01 was faster than any competitor helmet tested. To complement their helmet, athletes can also select a frame from the entire award-winning Tralyx family, including the regular Tralyx, Tralyx XL for additional coverage, or the new Tralyx SLIM, designed specifically for athletes with narrower faces. That, coupled with customer-forward warranties like Rudy Project’s 6 Year Crash Replacement Guarantee and Lifetime Replacement Lens Guarantee, make this an unbeatable prize package for the age grouper at the top of their game.
“Rudy Project is simply the best,” said Paul Craig. “We’re choosing to celebrate athletes who power the sport – the age group athlete and rewarding those that get to the top, the pinnacle of success. It may seem too good to be true, but we’re serious. If you win your age group in one of our listed races, we want to give you a helmet and sunglasses. If that extra push is all it takes to motivate someone to train a little harder, run a little faster down the chute toward the finish line, then we’ve done our job.”
Winning athletes can submit their information and race results for verification online. Athletes that won their age group in any 2018 full distance triathlon prior to the announcement of the program are also eligible to redeem retroactively. Full terms and conditions of the initiative can be found online, as well as a full list of eligible races. The program will run until December 2018.
Taiwan added to XTERRA World Tour on 29-30 September at Kenting National Park
XTERRA World Tour today announced the inaugural XTERRA Taiwan off-road triathlon and accompanying sports festival to be held September 29-30, 2018 at Kenting National Park.
Events include an XTERRA championship distance event, an “Xticer” beginner distance off-road triathlon, 5, 10 and 21-kilometre trail runs.
“We are thrilled to bring XTERRA to the people of Taiwan and introduce the sport and lifestyle to athletes of all ages and skill levels,” said Brian Wei, Vice President of Marketing. “We also look forward to having XTERRA Tribe members from around the world join us in Taiwan to discover a truly remarkable location in Kenting and the fabulous culture and community that is found here.”
Kenting is on the southern tip of Taiwan and famous for its warm, turquoise water and white-sand beaches that give way to magnificent mountains and natural reserves.
The main event starts with a one-mile swim at Little Bay beach with a short run in between two-laps. The swim-to-bike transition is at the fascinating Kenting Youth Activity Center, which is comprised of 17 different styles of old-world buildings and is a tourist destination all by itself. Then, the 26-kilometer mountain bike course takes competitors from coastal terrain to rocky riverbeds to uncharted territory high atop MenMaLou mountain. And the final test of endurance is a 10-kilometer trail run through the tranquil and “enchanted forest” of Chihniuling, considered one of the eight wonders of Hengchun.
The XTERRA Taiwan Championship event offers an elite prize purse of $15,000 USD split among the top seven men and women and also 49 qualifying spots for amateurs vying to compete at the 2019 XTERRA World Championship race in Maui.
The Xticer tri is a perfect introductory race with a manageable 200m swim, 10km mountain bike and 2km trail run. Relay teams of two-or-three people are encouraged to race in the full distance event.
In addition to the off-road triathlons there is a race for everyone in the family during the 5km, 10km and 21km trail running races. And for the fast runners, a $20,000 NTD (about $700 USD) will be awarded to the top three men and women in the half-marathon distance race.
XTERRA has had a presence in the Asia-Pacific region since 2000 and hosts events in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Tahiti, and New Caledonia, however, this is its first foray into the burgeoning endurance sports market of Taiwan,” said Janet Clark, President of XTERRA World Tour.
Nico Lebrun, the XTERRA European director, helped design the course. He also returned to Taiwan to host local coaching clinics to help leaders in the area teach the various disciplines of XTERRA as well as champion the XTERRA motto to “Live More” through a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle.
“After two trips to Kenting I can tell you it’s a beautiful place, and the perfect location for XTERRA,” said Lebrun, who is also part of the organizing committee producing the event. “If you like hot weather, warm water, fresh local food, and strong culture, you will love it here.”
Drama and excitement at Challenge Denmark
Andreas Dreitz and Pernille Thalund each took home a convincing victory in Saturday’s Challenge Herning. After a non-wetsuit swim the athletes had to conquer an unusually hot summer day, which delivered as well drama as excitement.
For a while favourite, Camilla Pedersen (DK) looked like a sure winner. The former elite swimmer came first out of the water after only 25:56 minutes, with two minutes down to fellow dane Pernille Thalund. But almost halfway through the bike course, Thalund took the lead and kept it all the way to the finish line. Laura Siddall (GB) fought her way up from being 9th to second place, well three minutes after Thalund. 18 minutes later Frankie Sanjana (GB) crossed the finish line.
Meanwhile, Camilla Pedersen fought a brave but brutal battle with her stomach which refused to hold anything down in the heat. It goes without saying that it was an unfair match, and halfway through the course, she chose to pull herself out of the race.
Dreitz does it again
Among the men, Swedish favorite Jesper Svensson was first out off the water with Daniel Bækkegaard right behind him. But racing across the Danish heath, the ranks were turned upside down. Ultimately, the former Challenge Denmark winner Andi Dreitz took the lead, after which Danes Matthias Lyngsø Petersen and Kristian Hindkjær succeeded in overtaking Svensson.
Last year’s winner, Anders “Hightower” Christensen finished fifth.
The weather as X factor
One should never complain about the fabulous, Danish summer weather. But in the triathlon context, the heat was grueling.For the pros, the water temperature of 23.1 degrees meant a non wetsuit swim, which was a draw back for the heavier athletes.The vast majority of the age groupers athletes chose to swim in their wetsuits.
The almost non-existent wind made cycling really fast. But as the athletes went out running, the combination of heat, sun and no wind meant an excruciatingly hard run through Herning’s otherwise festive streets.
“The weather is always the x-factor in triathlon. It’s something you can not predict or change – and that can make a huge difference in either direction. But it’s the same for everyone, and that’s something that makes it exciting”, says race director Claus Vesterby.
All about the experience
It is a very proud and happy race director, Claus Vesterby, who can close and shut Challenge Herning this evening: “We had a phenomenal pro field with some amazing athletes and personalities. It’s amazing to notice how the Challenge Family spirit influenced the day among both pro and age group athletes. All the amateur athletes at all levels who struggled to exceed their own expectations and have a party with their sport, never seize to amaze me. They are just as important to us as the professionals, and it’s fascinating to see the breadth of our sport. I am proud of that,” says Claus Vesterby:
“Everyone is here to do their best, but first and foremost they come to get a great experience. And there’s no doubt they’ve got that today – and so have I.It’s a pleasure to feel how the city of Herning has taken the Challenge in and really backs us up and creates a party around the athletes. That means so unbelievably much. So we are already looking forward to making an even more amazing event next year.”
- Andreas Dreiz, D, 3:47:12
- Matthias Lyngsø Petersen, DK, 3:51:54
- Kristian Hindkjær, DK, 3:57:31
- Pernille Thalund, DK, 4:20:55
- Laura Siddall, GB 4:24:00 PM
- Frankie Sanjana, GB, 4:42:00 PM
Mark Allen is Final Surge’s New Partner, Spokesperson, and Advisor for Triathlon
Mark Allen, 6-time IRONMAN® Triathlon World Champion and “The Greatest Endurance Athlete of All Time” according to ESPN, has teamed up with FinalSurge, the Best Online Training Log according to Triathlete magazine’s June 2018 Issue, to produce a special edition “Mark Allen Coaching” branded training program for triathlon. Allen will also serve as a spokesperson and advisor for Final Surge triathlon projects.
“His accomplishments as an endurance athlete are legendary, but we were even more blown away with his depth of knowledge, experience, and innovations in coaching,” said Bob Butler, IRONMAN Certified Coach and COO of Final Surge. “Having Mark Allen on the team represents an extraordinary opportunity for us to use his unparalleled athletic experience and coaching insights to build on our recent honor as “Best Online Training Log.”
“When the opportunity arose to work with Final Surge I recognized that the technology created by their team had finally reached a level of sophistication and ease of use that would be a perfect match for my coaching theories,” said Allen. “Final Surge has developed the best mobile applications for online coaches in all endurance sports, and I am proud to be a part of their team as they continue to innovate and grow.”
Rio Olympian Ryan Bailie moves to 6th on the WTS World Rankings
It was a case of survival of the fittest in yesterday’s energy-sapping World Triathlon Series Leeds round with Australia’s Rio Olympian, “Mr Consistent” Ryan Bailie the best of the Aussies, moving up the ITU WTS World Rankings to sixth after his 10th place finish.
His Olympic teammate Aaron Royle, after his sterling performance to put Australia in the medal hunt in Thursday’s WTS World Triathlon Mixed Relay, faded on the 10km run to finish 13th.
The tough Olympic distance Leeds course, with its immediate hill climb off the 1500m swim and then the 12.5km ride into the city before the tight technical street laps over 27.5km, proved unforgiving for some.
There were some casualties on the bike and then more on the run – including the likes of Leeds local hero and two-time Olympic medallist Jonny Brownlee.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jake Birtwhistle, third on the rankings going into Leeds, has dropped to seventh after his 22nd placing in a race which also saw his Commonwealth Games teammate Luke Willian 32nd and Marcel Walkington 36th.
Picked up the fridge in the last 2.5km to slip outside the top 10 – but there were some positives up until that point and in recent times they have been few and far between so I’ll take it. Bit of R&R for a few days and then back into it https://t.co/9PwHhFQKwC
— Aaron Royle (@ARoyle90) June 10, 2018
“But there were some positives up until that point and in recent times they have been few and far between so I’ll take it. Bit of ‘R&R’ for a few days and then back into it.”
Royle has jumped four places on the WTS rankings to 17th to 13 to give Australia three in the top 15 after the first five events of a season that will culminate in the 2018 Grand Finale on the Gold Coast (September 12-16).
The next stop will be Hamburg on July 14 and 15; Edmonton (July 27-29) and Montreal (August 25-26) before the Gold Coast final stop.
Defending champion Mario Mola sits on top of the rankings ladder after his second-place finish behind South African Richard Murray yesterday which saw Frenchman Vincent Luis third.
But things didn’t go all Mola’s way as Murray scooted away to South Africa’s first-ever Olympic distance WTS gold.
“I had a beginner’s mistake today,” said Mario Mola. “I jumped on my bike and when I hit the pedal it hit the floor so I had to get down and fix it. Luckily I had a very good swim so I was able to get in the second pack. From then, I just kept working and today the effort paid off. Congratulations to Richard, he was really strong today. I really liked the course, it’s tough but I liked it.”
The Australian women had a frustrating day in the office with Ashleigh Gentle, Natalie Van Coevorden, Charlotte McShane and Gillian Backhouse all falling by the wayside recording DNFs through the 40km bike leg.
Gentle wrote on Twitter: “Out of Leeds after my pre-race swim yesterday. Things went south.
“Stomach bug or food poisoning flattened me. I lined up to give it a go but unfortunately, I felt incredibly weak and couldn’t hardly push any power.”
The race eventually went to local Vicky Holland in a GBR quinella with youngster Georgia Taylor-Brown taking silver and Katie Zaferes (USA) third.
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