Having surged to Super League Triathlon success in London’s docklands last weekend, Britain’s Jess Learmonth once again claimed the $20,000 winner’s cheque in Munich, Germany, today with a commanding performance from the starting horn.
The British star – a month after winning Olympic gold in the Team Relay in Tokyo and just seven days after dominant SLT London success – took command of the unique Equalizer format at the start of Stage 2’s swim leg and refused to give the chasing field a sniff of the win.
Learmonth’s margin of victory was 11secs over Georgia Taylor-Brown, with Beth Potter rounding out the podium for a British clean sweep.
“I wasn’t sure if today’s format would suit me as the TT bike leg was making me a bit apprehensive – I felt like I was warming up for a cycle race,” said Learmonth post-race.
I had to hammer the bike legs and hope for the best in the triathlons, and because it was so technical, like London, it was quite hard for chase groups to work together and pull through. It was mayhem as usual out there. Right, I’m parched, time for a beverage.Jess Learmonth
Super League Munich was the debut visit to the triathlon-mad nation of Germany of Super League Triathlon, and the apt setting was the historic Olympiapark in Munich, home of the 1972 Olympic Games, Germany’s 1974 World Cup triumph and the venue for the 2022 European Games, in which triathlon is set to feature.
Following London’s Triple Mix, today’s format was the Equalizer, beginning with an individual TT bike leg of 2.4km to decide the starting order of the pursuit-style Stage 2. The latter would consist of two triathlons back-to-back, consisting of a 300m lake swim followed by a 3.6km bike and a 1.8km run performed consecutively.
Stage 1- Time Trial
Kicking off the relentless mix of multisport action was the Equalizer’s TT bike leg, which consisted of two laps and 2.4km full of cobbles, tight turns, hills and bumpy tarmac, with humid conditions adding to the tough test for the triathletes. France’s Emilie Morier clocked the fastest 2.4km split of the day ahead of the Netherland’s Maya Kingma and Learmonth.
Stage 2 – Tri 1
Emilie Morier began the swim leg in the Olympiapark’s lake with a short advantage over the chasing field, but GB’s swim powerhouse Learmonth soon surged to the front of the field by the end of the first buoy and exited the water first. Learmonth ascended the stairs up to Transition 1 ahead of Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes, who delivered a bright showing in London the week before.
The Team Eagles star Learmonth also claimed the Short Chute at the mount line after transition one, giving her a big advantage going into the final run leg.
On the first 3.6km bike leg, Learmonth had created clear daylight between herself and the chasing field at the end of the first lap of three with Kingma 12secs in arrears. That gap had been extended to 15secs by the end of lap two, with athletes riding with their goggles around their necks again highlighting the frenetic pace of Super League Triathlon.
After three laps of riding, Learmonth was first onto the run with more points for the Eagles team. A huge chase pack followed her 15secs behind. Like London and the TT bike course, the run again took place on a mix of tarmac and cobblestones. Learmonth’s GB compatriots Beth Potter, Vicky Holland and Georgia Taylor-Brown were in hot pursuit, joined by America’s Olympic bronze medallist Katie Zafares.
Stage 2 – Tri 2
The advantage was still 10secs when Learmonth pulled on her goggles and cap towards the end of the run course and descended down the steep, precarious grass slope into the Olympiapark’s lake aiming for another $20,000 winner’s cheque. Potter led the chase pack ahead of Zafares, all hoping to gain some benefits from drafting in the water but Learmonth exited the water with a 22sec lead over the chasing pack of 10.
That lead was 25secs by the end of another tight and technical bike leg, with Learmonth having the added advantage of the Short Chute up her tri-suit sleeve. And such was Learmonth’s confidence that she didn’t even take the Short Chute until the last corner of the race, with her win barely in doubt during the run.
Learmonth’s margin of victory was 11secs over Taylor-Brown, with Beth Potter rounding out the podium for a British clean sweep on a famous weekend for UK sport following Emma Raducanu’s US Open tennis victory.