In a follow-up to the March inaugural of their mixed format, short course series held on Hamilton Island in Australia, Super League Triathlon announced today that they would hold round two late September in Jersey, United Kingdom, an island in the English Channel off the northwest coast of France.
Super League Triathlon announced that this time the invitation-only field will consist of 25 elite men and 25 elite women (including 25 Olympians) competing for equal $130,000 shares of a total $260,000 purse.
The inaugural event was for a men-only field of all-stars competing for a total purse of $206,800. While organizers met criticism for excluding the women, Super League Triathlon claimed it was a test event and said they would invite elite women as well for their next contest.
While the release did not specify what the first prize will be for the men’s and women’s winners, the Hamilton Island event offered $100,000 to winner Richard Murray, roughly half of the total purse. If Super League Triathlon in Jersey follows that formula, the winners will each get about $65,000.
Super League Triathlon announced the Jersey event will be contended on September 23 and 24, taking into consideration that several stars in their field will be competing at the Ironman 70.3 Worlds on September 9 or the WTS Grand Final on September 16 - as well as giving contenders two weeks before the Ironman World Championship in Kona.
Super League Triathlon co-founder Chris McCormack touted the superstar-filled field which will include two-time British Olympic Triathlon medalists and ITU world champions Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, 5-time ITU World Champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Javier Gomez of Spain, 2016 WTS World Champion Mario Mola of Spain, and Hamilton Island Super League winner Richard Murray of South Africa. Top up and comers include Jacob Birtwhistle of Australia, who won the final day at Hamilton Island and was second at the most recent WTS event in Hamburg, and 18-year-old Ben Dijkstra of Great Britain.
Jonny Brownlee, who missed Hamilton Island due to injury, is looking forward to his Super League debut: "I had to miss Hamilton Island because of injury but I watched the races and know that the Super League Triathlon format will suit me as an athlete. Jersey will be brilliant, with the conditions not as humid as Hamilton Island.”
Murray commented: "Super League Hamilton Island changed triathlon racing and showed fans how exciting it can be when showcased properly. I can't wait for round two at Super League Jersey.”
The women’s field is led by 2016 ITU World Triathlon Series World Champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, but also favors home country stars such as Rio bronze medalist Vicky Holland, 2013 WTS World Champion Non Stanford, and Commonwealth Games double gold medalist Jodie Stimpson. Stimpson missed out on 2016 Olympic selection to rivals Holland and Non Stanford, who finished 3rd and 4th at Rio, but had a strong start this year with a second place at WTS Abu Dhabi. Holland says she is very motivated to make up for early season woes: “Having spent a lot of this season sidelined due to injury, the prospect of being back on a start line to race in Jersey in September is really motivating.”
Current WTS series women’s leader Katie Zaferes of the U.S. will also be contending.
Once again, Super League Triathlon will feature high speed short course action but there will be several differences.
While Hamilton Island had basic distances of a 300 meter swim, 6 kilometer bike and 2 kilometer run shuffled in various orders, the Jersey course distances have yet to be determined. While Hamilton Island was contested over three days, the Jersey event will be decided over two days. The reasoning? Hamilton Island is an isolated resort in the Great Barrier Reef which has total control of the roads and facilities while the Jersey event is held on the streets of Saint Hilier, the capital town of the island with a population of 33,000.
Day 1 will be a Triple Super Mix format in which athletes will tackle three stages with alternating sequences and 10 minute break between stages. Stage 1 is swim-bike-run, Stage 2 will be run-bike-swim and Stage 3 will be bike-swim-run.
Hamilton Island's Day 2, which included an individual time trial bike and a 5-leg Equalizer, will be dropped.
This time, Day 2 will be an Eliminator format in three stages, each in a swim-bike-run format with a 10-minute break in between. Athletes finishing 16th and above in Stage 1 are eliminated. Athletes finishing 11th and above in Stage 2 are eliminated and do not progress to Stage 3, where contestants battle it out for the title.
Terrain will also be different. The Hamilton Island bike course had a steep uphill testing strength and a super-fast downhill which tested nerve and bike handling skills. But Saint Hilier is located on the south end of the island where the terrain is quite flat and offers cyclists a different sort of challenge. McCormack describes the 5-lap bike course as “super-technical with hairpin turns, narrow passages through high-rise apartment blocks and a cobblestone surface.”
The unique feature of Saint Hilier is its huge tides which vary as much as 14 meters in depth. The races will be started at low tide and competitors will have to ascend 12 meters on a path to their bikes.