Jonny Brownlee continued his end-of-season renaissance with a second consecutive podium in the Super League Triathlon Championship Series, as the Yorkshireman finished second behind home favourite Leo Bergere in Toulouse.
Amid a fair amount of controversy surrounding a penalty given to Hayden Wilde for missing the mount line that the Frenchman also crossed, Bergere won by a sizeable margin, but admitted after the race he should have been penalised for his infringement.
In third place, South African Henri Schoeman secured a welcome podium, as the Olympic bronze medalist continues his comeback season in style after many counted him out following a turbulent past few years.
“I deserved a penalty as well”
Reacting to his race, Bergere thanked the French crowd for their support and heralded the electric atmosphere, but later in the comments section of a social media post, gave his thoughts on the Wilde penalty debacle.
“I think I made the right choices during the three stages today and I can’t thank enough Tim Don, the team captain and my teammates in the Eagles. I was about to go down off my bike, as I knew it was the last lap, but I heard Hayden [Wilde] shouting at me that we still had one lap to go so I came down a bit too late, but I was really confused and I think he was as well.
“I feel sorry for him because we didn’t have the battle we wanted in the last stage, but it’s part of racing and I’m sure he will be back in the last two stages. I deserved a penalty as well, I made the same mistake as Hayden. Not a fair decision from the referee and I’m the first to be disappointed to not have this last battle with Hayden for the win.”
“Much of it was about staying on the bike”
Second place Brownlee also spoke of some difficulties on the bike, but in his case it was the technical aspect of the course that caused him some challenges, with a couple of near misses on the tight corners highlighting the importance of staying rubber side down on the streets of Toulouse.
“Another tough one, a good first race and then I lost my front wheel on one of the corners of the second leg and that spooked me a little bit, but Leo [Bergere] was just too strong on the bike today and he deserved the win.
“It’s a very technical course, I think pretty much in the last few rounds every time I went around a corner there was someone in a barrier or on the floor somewhere, so much of it is about staying on your bike, staying calm and getting round and that was pretty hard to do today.”
“You’ve got to be so fast”
For Schoeman, nailing transition paid dividends in his bid for the last spot on the podium, as the South African shared that the fast and furious nature of the rounds magnifies any mistakes you make in and around that all important fourth discipline of racing.
“It’s very fast and furious and really is hard, but I really enjoy these races and it is so good to be back on a Super League podium.
“You’ve got to be so fast and I think that’s where I capitalised in this race, I made sure I was quick in transition and that’s what made the biggest difference to my race.”