Hayden Wilde was an impressive winner at Super League Triathlon Malibu on Saturday as the Kiwi star dominated proceedings on an eventful day in California.
The Kiwi star won both of the opening two stages at Zuma Beach, and rammed home that advantage as he ran away from Frenchman Leo Bergere on the run leg of the final pursuit stage.
Aussie Matt Hauser produced an excellent finish to deny South Africa’s Henri Schoeman of the final podium spot, with Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca pipping Britain’s Alex Yee for fifth.
Bergere now leads the championship standings heading into the Grand Final in Neom on October 21, ahead of Jonny Brownlee and Wilde.
Wilde leads the way
Schoeman of South Africa aced the stage one swim to grab the lead heading out of T1, and the first short chute of the day for the Scorpions. He was followed out of the Pacific by Chris Perham, Tayler Reid and Max Stapley. Championship leader Brownlee was 13 seconds down, with Yee at +00:18, Wilde +00:20 and Kristian Blummenfelt +00:24.
It was looking very good for the Scorpions after the first bike lap with Schoeman followed by team-mates Shachar Sagiv and Tayler Reid at the front of the field. Brownlee and Yee meanwhile were now just four and six seconds away respectively with Wilde at +00:10.
Bergere moved to the head of the field on lap two with the top 15 in the timings separated just by eight seconds. It was absolutely all to play for as they headed towards T2.
Bergere picked up the second short chute of the day for the Eagles as he led Sagiv and Dan Dixon out onto the run course. They were followed closely by Brownlee, Wilde, Vasco Vilaca and Reid. Yee meanwhile was 12 seconds back with plenty to do.
Wilde joined Bergere at the front on the run, while Blummenfelt provided a lung-bursting effort to be snapping at their heels as the bell rang. Then it was Sagiv, Vilaca and Brownlee – with the front six separated by just 3.3 seconds.
It was the Kiwi Wilde who poured it on in the closing stages to win the first stage, ahead of Bergere and Blummenfelt. Then we had a group of athletes all eight seconds back – and it included Vilaca, Sagiv and Brownlee.
Eliminated after stage one were Vitali Vorontsov, Ben Kanute and Carter Stuhlmacher.
Hayden stars as Brownlee falls away
The Scorpions again held sway after the swim with Reid and Schoeman leading the field out of the water. They had 10 seconds to spare over Max Stapley with Morgan Pearson, Wilde, Hauser, Chase McQueen and Brownlee all then bunched together.
Schoeman took control early on the bike ahead of team-mate Wilde with Bergere then leading a big group of chasers. The two Scorpions had nine seconds to spare by the time they entered T2, with Vilaca, Yee, Sagiv, Bergere, Reid and Brownlee all then closely bunched.
Wilde took the initiative on the run for the Scorpions as he led Schoeman towards the finish. Behind them we had Yee growing into the race, some 9.9 seconds back at the bell. Vilaca, Bergere and Hauser were all right behind the British star with Brownlee at +00:14.
By now we knew that the short chutes for that final stage would go to Bergere (Eagles) and Schoeman (Scorpions).
Wilde continued to provide all the aggression as the run reached its final stages and he and Schoeman had a considerable lead over the rest. They crossed the line one-two, with Yee (+8.7) third. Brownlee meanwhile was almost 21 seconds back. Perham, Stapley and McQueen were the men eliminated.
Once the times from those first two stages were added up, Wilde had the edge going into the final pursuit stage. He led by nine seconds from Bergere with Schoeman +00:11, Blummenfelt +00:16 and Yee and Vilaca at +00:17. Championship leader Brownlee was +00:29 after losing significant time on stage two.
No stopping ‘The Falcon’ as Hauser claims third
Schoeman was again terrific in the water, eradicating Wilde’s lead and emerging from the Pacific with a lead of 3.6 seconds over his team-mate. Bergere was at 4.4 back with Hauser at 6.5. Blummenfelt and Yee were both 19 seconds away with a ton of work to do.
The first bike lap saw Wilde, Bergere and Schoeman cutting out the pace at the front. There was high drama though when Schoeman – with a short chute in his back pocket and a podium seemingly in his grasp – almost had a major spill where Summer Rappaport had crashed earlier in the day.
With Schoeman now dropped slightly off that front group following that near miss, it was Wilde and Bergere setting a furious pace at the bell. They had quickly built an advantage of five seconds to the chasers.
Wilde and Bergere headed out onto the run together but the Frenchman immediately took that short chute he had at his disposal. Would it prove crucial in the final reckoning? We would find out soon enough.
As the run settled down Wilde was right back on the shoulder of Bergere with a fascinating conclusion in prospect. And then the Kiwi tested Leo with a real surge, but the Frenchman responded. It was cat and mouse all the way.
Bergere’s resistance though was weakening all the time and Wilde started to build an advantage heading into the closing stages. Meanwhile Hauser had now passed Schoeman into the final podium position.
Wilde was looking really strong and Bergere had no answer to the way he had gradually turned the screw on this closing run. He took the tape first for an impressive victory – 3.3 seconds clear of Bergere. Hauser claimed third with Schoeman fourth and Vilaca pipping Yee for fifth.
Super League Triathlon Malibu 2023 Results
Men – Saturday September 30
- Hayden Wilde (Scorpions) – 14:31
- Leo Bergere (Eagles) – +3.3
- Matthew Hauser (Eagles) – +7.6
- Henri Schoeman (Scorpions) – +12.7
- Vasco Vilaca (Eagles) – +16.1
Latest Super League Standings
2023 Championship Series, after Malibu:
- 1. Leo Bergere (Eagles) – 29
- 2. Jonny Brownlee (Sharks) – 28
- 3. Hayden Wilde (Scorpions) – 27
- 4. Alex Yee (Sharks) – 26
- 5. Henri Schoeman (Scorpions) – 25