They’ve been on the same side previously but this weekend Bahrain Victorious Scorpions team manager Chris McCormack will be pitched against Kristian Blummenfelt as the Olympic champion makes his return to Super League.
‘Big Blu’ is now a key part of the Santara Tech Eagles and back in the mix after a hectic schedule which has taken him from the Paris Olympics Test Event to victory at the PTO Asian Open in Singapore before the energy levels appeared to dip at the 70.3 Worlds last weekend.
That though was his last middle or long-distance race between now and Paris 2024 so it will be fascinating to see what shape he’s in on Sunday at SLT Toulouse as he starts his countdown to the Olympics.
Macca has been a huge fan of what Blummenfelt has achieved at everything from Olympic distance through to his incredible rewriting of the record books at 70.3 and IRONMAN, winning world titles at both in 2022 and smashing barriers at the McCormack-driven Sub7Sub8 project in amongst.
But he believes he is beatable at Super League, telling TRI247: “Kristian still has an Achilles heel on his swim, he can be exposed, especially on the aggressive starts you get in Super League.
He’s not been hyper-successful in Super League, he hasn’t won a bunch of races.
“You’ve much more time to settle and catch up at Olympic distance and they can come in swinging but this isn’t the Olympics and the likes of Henri Schoeman have put him out of place in the past.”
‘You pay for mistakes in Super League’
Looking at the potential dynamics ahead of Sunday’s race, McCormack added: “I guess he’s going to be their GC guy and they’ll put people around him to help close the gaps.
“If you put him in position to win from the run then he’s a very, very difficult person to beat but I’m still going to back our team.
“I’m looking forward to racing against him. I enjoyed having him on the Bahrain team, we signed him before the Olympics and he went on to win that.
“And having the opportunity to sit in their camp and see what they do, it made me feel like I was in the sport in the 1930s!
“But they come with that very dialled in way of racing but I think what makes Super League – and the team dynamic – unique is you’ve got to take your chances.
“Kristian can be clumsy in transition and in Super League you pay for mistakes so that could benefit those who have been there a while and I’m hoping that’s the Scorpions.”