SLT Malta Day Three: Vincent Luis sprints to victory

Vincent Luis - Super League Triathlon Malta Equalizer win

Equalizer victory earns SLT Malta title for Vincent Luis at Birgu Harbour

Luis sprints away from Schoeman for success in The Equalizer

After a sprint finish to decide the winners in the women’s Equalizer, the men followed that script on Sunday at Super League Triathlon Malta.

With the athlete start times determined by their performances in the Individual Swim Time Trial on Friday afternoon, that would prove a critical factor in today’s racing – especially at the fastest two athletes, Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Vincent Luis (FRA), were also the dominant performers from SLT Jersey last month. It also meant that yesterday’s winner, Richard Murray, was all but out of contention from the start, with a 50 second deficit on his fellow South African.

The big question was whether any of the athletes from third and below in the swim, would be able to bridge up to Schoeman and Luis. The answer, unlike the women’s race earlier, was a convincing no. While Igor Polyanskiy did manage to spend a lap of the bike on the wheel of Luis, that would soon end and today’s race would really be two battles; Schoeman and Luis for Gold and Silver, everyone else – including Jonathan Brownlee – aiming for Bronze.

Vincent Luis admitted afterwards that he was forced to work harder – and it had taken longer – than expected to be able to catch up with Henri Schoeman, something he managed on the first run of the swim/bike/run/swim/bike/run Enduro format. Would he pay the price for that? Unlike in Jersey where he looked simply flawless all weekend, he was showing the strain. Henri Schoeman meanwhile continued with his ‘smiling assassin’ poker face, seeming in control throughout.

The South African gained a few seconds on the penultimate run up the hill, but the Frenchman recovered on the descent, and as they rounded the final bend with just an uphill 250m run to the finish line, they were shoulder-to-shoulder. Luis may well have the best sprint finish in the sport, but did he have anything left today?

He did. But it hurt… a lot. After second place yesterday, Equalizer victory earned him maximum points in Malta to extend his Super League Triathlon points lead, while Schoeman’s consistency (third yesterday, second today), matched the second place overall he recorded in Jersey.

Despite Richard Murray ‘only’ finishing eighth today, with Jonathan Brownlee losing out to Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) in another sprint for third place, that was still enough to take third overall in Malta. Considering his Swim TT result, that’s still a great weekend for the ITU World Triathlon Series Leeds champion.

Third for Tyler Mislawchuk:

Super League Triathlon Malta, Sunday 28th October 2018 – Birgu Marina
Day Three – The Equalizer (Part Two)
Swim / Bike / Run / Swim / Bike / Run **
(** Start times offset from Individual Swim Time Trial on Friday)

MEN

1st – Vincent Luis (FRA) – 30:59
2nd – Henri Schoeman (RSA) – 31:04
3rd – Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) – 31:48
4th – Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) – 31:50
5th – Hayden Wilde (NZL) – 31:58
6th – Leo Bergere (FRA) – 32:05
7th –  Ben Kanute (USA) – 32:08
8th – Richard Murray (RSA) – 32:23
9th – Andreas Schilling (DEN) – 32:30
10th – Igor Polyanskiy (RUS) – 32:38

(All other starters eliminated during race after falling >90 seconds behind)

Super League Triathlon Malta Overall Results

1st – Vincent Luis (FRA) – $20,000
2nd – Henri Schoeman (RSA) – $15,000
3rd – Richard Murray (RSA) – $10,000

Super League 2018/19 Rankings after Jersey & Malta

1st – Vincent Luis (FRA) – 50 points
2nd – Henri Schoeman (RSA) – 42 points
3rd – Richard Murray (RSA) – 34 points
4th – Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) – 30 points
5th – Hayden Wilde (NZL) – 22 points