The Super League Triathlon Championship Series, the fastest and arguably the most exciting event in the sport, makes its return early next month.
The full list of 40 athletes taking part will be announced shortly and next week will see them allocated their teams when the draft is made.
Heading into that here are some key things to look out for in what is billed as the ‘biggest-ever SLT season so far’.
There will be no Equalizer at this year’s series, with athletes instead racing the Triple Mix and Enduro twice, whilst the Eliminator will also feature – here’s a full explanation of the various 2022 Super League formats.
Here is what triathlon fans can expect at every SLT round:
- London (Sunday 4 September): Triple Mix
- Munich (Sunday 11 September): Enduro
- Malibu (Saturday 17 September): Eliminator
- Toulouse (Sunday 2 October): Triple Mix
- NEOM Grand Finale (Saturday 29 October): Enduro
This year sees a slight tweak to the infamous ”Short Chute’, a feature which has in the past proven to be decisive in races.
In 2022, there are three short chutes to be won in each race. These will be awarded to the first athlete across the Mount Line after the swim on Stage 1, the first across the Dismount Line after the bike on Stage 1 and first across the Finish Line after the run on Stage 1. This means that the racing will be ferocious from the start, with athletes having to put it all on the line to earn those elusive short chutes.
Throughout the series, a team will only be able to win one short chute per event, and once that short chute is won, it will be up to the team managers to decide which team member gets it. This means that team tactics will play an even larger role in the 2022 series, with athletes potentially sacrificing their own ambitions for the good of the team.
This year will again see the brutal 90-second rule in place, where athletes who fall more than a minute and a half behind the leader will be eliminated. This ensures that the racing is action packed and competitive to the very end, whilst also forcing the back markers to squeeze everything out of themselves to stay in the race.
There is a lot of pressure heading into the draft for the team managers, as we learnt last season that the tactics deployed here can make or break your season.
Can Rhinos team manager Ronnie Schildknecht improve his team’s performance after finishing last in the 2021 series? Last year was a real learning experience for the multiple-time IRONMAN Champion, as the Rhinos found themselves adrift from the first race onwards.
Another key topic is that of the SLT Fan Team, the Cheetahs, managed by Annie Emmerson, who will be hoping that the input of SLT fans helps her make the most of the nuances of the draft. This new element to SLT is exciting yet nerve wrecking at the same time, and for triathlon enthusiasts everywhere a fan-centric team is hard not to root for.
Finally, the biggest question of all is which team will become the 2022 Champions? Can Tim Don‘s Eagles defend their crown? Will Michelle Dillon and the SLT Sharks take the title? Or can Chris McCormack and the new owners of Bahrain Victorious Scorpions provide the goods?
The importance of a good, tactically astute draft cannot be underestimated, with the choice between retaining athletes from last year or going for a new look team likely to be weighing heavily on each manager’s mind.
As mentioned above, a huge part of the 2022 season is the Cheetahs, the fan team which will allow SLT fans to participate in the decisions and dynamics of Super League racing like never before.
Fans will have the chance to engage in the decision-making process that could shape the team’s entire season.
For more information and directions on how to get involved, click here.