There was no hiding place today at the Grand Finale of the SLT Championship Series season, Super League Triathlon Neom.
The Enduro format invariably means that cream rises to the top, and throw in heat, wind and an in-form Jonny Brownlee, and only the best-of-the-best were left as they headed out onto the final run. Matt Hauser repeated his win from Munich, Brownlee took his first SLT podium of the season, and Hayden Wilde completed the trio, to become the new Men’s Super League Triathlon Champion.
The Enduro format sees three back-to-back triathlons (all in swim-bike-run order), with no breaks in between. Here’s how it all panned out…
Stage 1 – Brownlee sets the pace
Jamie Riddle was first out of the water for the Eagles and – just – crossed the bike mount line first, to claim the first short chute for his team.
There was next-to-nothing between the leading athletes within the first kilometre of the bike however, as they took on a tough headwind on the first 4km, single-lap bike circuit. In good form after his WTCS silver in Cagliari, Jonathan Brownlee sensed an opportunity presented by the conditions rather than the terrain, and wound up the pace at the front, which quickly stretched out the field on two wheels.
Vasco Vilaca earned the second short chute for the Rhinos as the first athlete onto the run, while Shachar Sagiv managed to take a wild fall over a barrier! Nothing is ever plain vanilla in SLT world. Clearly on a mission in a format he loves, Jonny Brownlee was back at the front on the run and pushing the pace. There would be no passengers today. He lead Matt Hauser into the water, as they started swim #2, earning a Team Cheetahs short chute in the process.
Thus, short chutes would go to Eagles, Rhinos and Cheetahs in stage three
Stage 2 – Brownlee continues to set the pace
It was Hauser, Brownlee, Tayler Reid and Hayden Wilde leading the athletes out of the second swim, where there were still 10 athletes separated by single digit seconds.
Midway through the bike there was a clear break at the front, and it comprised the first four athletes of that second swim. That was a very strong quartet, which was danger for anyone else thinking of a podium today. While almost any finish was good enough for Hayden Wilde to claim the overall series title, you can be sure he had sights on nothing less than making it four wins from five race, just to cement his status.
As they started the second run 15 seconds clear of the chasers, barring accident, it was four athletes chasing three podium spots. Less than 2km later, Tayler Reid had been dropped, leaving Brownlee, Hauser and Wilde. There would be no short chute for Hayden Wilde… would that be crucial?
Stage 3 – Eagle Hauser takes off
With just four seconds between Hauser, Brownlee and Wilde – in that order – at the final swim exit, there was little to chose between that classy trio, with just the final bike and run disciplines remaining. That was the podium three for sure – with just the order to be determined. Fine cyclists all, surely also set up for a one-mile shootout on the run.
With no short chute advantage for Wilde, Brownlee and Hauser were first out onto the run, where Matt Hauser really upped the pace within the first 400m and gapped the Brit. Memories of Munich, where he also won the Enduro?
Hauser was on an absolute mission and was not going to be stopped, taking the tape ahead of Jonny, with third place for Hayden Wilde earning him the Super League Triathlon Championship Series title.
Super League Triathlon Neom 2022 results
Saturday 29 October 2022 – Enduro – Elite Men
- 1. Matt Hauser (AUS)
- 2. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR)
- 3. Hayden Wilde (NZL)
- 4. Vasco Vilaca (POR)
- 5. Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN)
- 6. Kenji Nener (JPN)
- 7. Sergio Baxter Cabrera (ESP)
- 8. Richard Murray (NED)
- 9. Emil Holm (DEN)
- 10. Tayler Reid (NZL)
Final standings after Neom (round five of five)
- 1. Hayden Wilde (NZL) – 74
- 2. Matt Hauser (AUS) – 61
- 3. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) – 50
- 4. Vasco Vilaca (POR) – 46
- 5. Tayler Reid (NZL) – 45
- 6. Kenji Nener (JPN) – 44
- 7. Emil Holm (DEN) – 33
- 8. Chase McQueen (USA) – 33
- 9. Shachar Sagiv (ISR) – 31
- 10. Richard Murray (NED) – 29
Final team standings after Neom
- 1. Scorpions – 385
- 2. Sharks – 383
- 3. Cheetahs – 358
- 4. Eagles – 314
- 5. Rhinos – 304
Series Discipline winners
- Swim – Jamie Riddle
- Bike – Vasco Vilaca
- Run – Hayden Wilde