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After the Day 1 Triple Mix and the Day 2 Equalizer stages, Murray strengthened his overall lead in the chase for the $100,000 top prize at the Super League Triathlon on Hamilton Island. Murray’s closest pursuers in the overall standings are 2016 WTS World Champion Mario Mola of Spain (2nd), Richard Varga of Slovakia (3rd), Ryan Bailie of Australia (4th), and Jake Birtwhistle of Australia (5th). All are chasing the biggest shares of the $206,800 total prize purse.
The invitation-only multiple sprint format stage triathlon matching a field of 24 elite men will conclude Sunday with a Day 3 Eliminator Format contest which includes three swim-bike-run sprints separated by 10-minute breaks.
Murray was cautious after his second straight stage victory which left him tired and sweating heavily in the hot and humid conditions. "It was not easy," Murray told Super League media. "That was hard, man. Each day is getting harder and harder, and [Ryan] Bailie and [Jake] Birtwhistle, those kids can run. Give it to them. They can swim as well! I'm very stoked, but I'm going to pay tomorrow for sure."
Murray overtook the young Aussie duo halfway through the final 2k run leg and said he surged hard in an attempt to break them. "Two kilometers is really long after the last few days,” he told Super League media. “It wasn't as hot as yesterday, but it was definitely hard out there."
Day 2 wrap-up
Just 12 hours after the finish of the Day 1 action, the Super league competitors met at 6 AM for a cycling individual time trial over a point-to-point 6 kilometer course which featured an even steeper hill than the multiple loop affair run in all other stages.
After a discouraging 18th place finish on Day 1, Cameron Dye of the U.S. redeemed himself with a victory in the 6k individual time trial, posting a 9:40 split which gave him a 2 seconds advantage on Birtwhistle, 3 seconds on Ryan Fisher of Australia, 13 seconds on Jorik van Egdom of Netherlands, 14 seconds on Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway, 17 seconds on Josh Amberger of Australia and 19 seconds in Ryan Bailie of Australia. Strong overall contenders included Murray (9th at +20s), Mola (10th at +24s), Javier Gomez (11th at +25s) Igor Polyanskiy (13th at +32s), and Richard Varga (18th at +43s). While he looked fresher than his 19th place finish on Day 1, two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee could manage no better than 17th best in the time trial, 38 seconds down to the leader.
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Eleven hours later, the elites lined up for a rolling start in pursuit format of the opening leg – a 300 meter swim. Dye led off, followed by the rest of the field at intervals matching their deficit to the leader after the morning’s individual time trial. Dye held the lead until the final meters when he was overtaken by Birtwhistle and Fisher, while Murray maintained his 8th place finish in the morning ride.
With just a 25-seconds difference between the fastest and slowest in the top 10 men out of the swim, a tight pack of top runners quickly formed. After some back-and-forth, Javier Gomez led the front pack into the run-to-swim transition. Kristian Blummenfelt dove into the water first on this second swim leg, but was passed by Igor Polyanskiy who led into the swim-to-bike transition. Polyanskiy’s 6th-fastest 3:48 swim split was quick enough to eliminate three men - Brent McMahon, Terenzo Bozzone and Siggy Ragnarsson - who were not able to finish the leg within the allotted one minute of the second swim leader.
Ryan Bailie surged to the front on the second lap up Mango Tree Hill, joined by Gomez. On the 5th of 6 laps on the bike leg, Birtwhistle and Bailie passed Gomez and carved out a 10 seconds lead at the final transition.
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Murray hung close and passed Gomez into transition, starting the run in 3rd place. On his way to the day’s-fastest 2k run split of 6:07. Murray passed Birtwhistle and Bailie on the first lap and hit the finish in the day’s-best overall time of 33:17 with a 6 seconds advantage on runner-up Birtwhistle, 7 seconds on Mola, 10 seconds on Blummenfelt, 12 seconds on Gomez, 18 seconds on Bailie and 24 seconds on Varga.
Super League Triathlon Day 2
Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia
March 18, 2017
Individual Time Trial – B 6km
The Equalizer – S 300m / R 2k / S 300m / B 6k / R 2k
Individual Time Trial
1. Cameron Dye (USA) 9:40
2. Jake Birtwhistle (AUS) 9:42 + 00:02
3. Ryan Fisher (AUS) 9:43 + 00:03
4. Jorik van Egdom (NED) 9:53 + 00:13
5. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 9:54 + 00:14
6. Josh Amberger (AUS) 09:57 + 00:17
7. Ryan Bailie (AUS) 09:59 + 00:19
8. Richard Murray (RSA) 10:00 + 00:20
9. Ben Shaw (IRL) 10:03 + 00:23
10. Mario Mola (ESP) 10:04 + 00:24
11. Javier Gomez (ESP) 10:05 + 00:25
12. Crisanto Grajales (MEX) 10:12 + 00:32
13. Igor Polyanskiy (RUS) 10:12 + 00:32
14. Brent McMahon (CAN) 10:16 + 00:36
15. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 10:17 + 00:37
16. Andrea Salvisberg (SUI) 10:17 + 00:37
17. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 10:18 + 00:38
18. Richard Varga (SVK) 10:23 + 00:43
19. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 10:26 + 00:46
T20. Daniel Hoy (NZL) 10:29 + 00:49
T20. Siggy Ragnarsson (ISL) 10:29 + 00:49
22. Matt Hauser (AUS) 10:32 + 00:52
23. Alessandro Fabian (ITA) 10:38 + 00:58
24. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 10:46 + 01:06
Equalizer – S 300m / R 2k / S 300m / B 6k / R 2k
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1. Richard Murray (RSA) 33:17
2. Jake Birtwhistle (AUS) 33:23
3. Mario Mola (ESP) 33:24
4. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 33:27
5. Javier Gomez (ESP) 33:29
6. Ryan Bailie (AUS) 33:35
7. Richard Varga (SVK) 33:41
8. Igor Polyanskiy (RUS) 33:43
9. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 33:54
10. Ryan Fisher (AUS) 34:01
11. Andrea Salvisberg (SUI) 34:08
12. Matthew Hauser (AUS) 34:10
13. Ben Shaw (IRL) 34:31
14. Jorik Van Egdom (NED) 34:41
15. Alessandro Fabian (ITA) 34:47
16. Daniel Hoy (NZL) 34:55
17. Crisanto Grajales (MEX) 35:13
18. Josh Amberger (AUS) 35:20
19. Cameron Dye (USA) 35:44
20. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 35:56
21. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 36:14
22. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) DNF
23. Sigurdur Ragnarsson (ISL) DNF
24. Brent McMahon (CAN) DNF
1. Richard Murray (RSA)
2. Mario Mola (ESP)
3. Richard Varga (SVK)
4. Ryan Bailie (AUS)
5. Jake Birtwhistle (AUS)