Henri Schoeman has finished behind Vincent Luis at all three stops of this season's US$1.5 million (S$2 million) Super League Triathlon, but the South African believes that he holds the advantage at this weekend's Singapore finale.
Schoeman told The Straits Times yesterday: "I love living in the heat; I come from Durban, very similar to this, maybe not as humid but it's certainly quite hot.
"I know the other athletes who are coming from winter in Europe are going to struggle, hopefully that's where I can come through."
The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist was speaking at One°15 Marina after the event's media launch and draw.
Frenchman Luis, who won all three legs in Jersey, Malta and Mallorca, will enter the finale with 75 points ahead of Schoeman's 63.
But, with double points on offer for this weekend's finishers, Schoeman has a chance to win the series.
BATTLE TO THE END
He really pushed me to the limit - several times after the finish line, I had nothing left. We provide people a great show with these battles.
VINCENT LUIS, Super League Triathlon leader on his rival Henri Schoeman.
Quietly confident, the 27-year-old said: "I just have to have my best race. Vincent's an incredible athlete, so to beat him it's going to take something special, especially if he's feeling good and ready to race.
"I'm just going to focus on my own race and have my best race."
But Luis is also confident of holding his own in the heat and against the competition.
"Henri will be good, he's a skinny guy and I'm sure he'll be great under the heat, but I have to keep an eye on him," said Luis, who considers his sprint-finish victory over Schoeman in Malta as one of his toughest moments of the season.
Then, in a staggered start decided by a swim time trial, he had 11 seconds to make up on Schoeman.
"We've had sprint finishes for two or three races and it's been really close," he added.
"He really pushed me to the limit - several times after the finish line, I had nothing left. We provide people a great show with these battles."
The eliminator race today has three stages, each comprising a 300m swim, a 5km bike ride and a 2km run, with a 10-minute break between each stage. The top 15 in the first stage advance to the next stage, where they will vie to be among the final 10.
Women's series leader Katie Zaferes, 29, will be "more conservative than normal", in part because of the heat and humidity.
"It's not going to be a slow race, it's still going to be hard and fast," said the American. "But I'm trying to balance that with what little bit I might be able to hold back... to make sure I can keep doing what I've been doing the past races, where I get better as I go."
Spectators will also get to see some familiar faces tomorrow, with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu teaming up with synchronised swimmer Lee Mei Shuang and Thaslim Hajanajubudeen from SportCares in the Relay Enduro category. The category involves a team of three (swim 300m, cycle 4km and run 1.6km). The cycle is repeated with a change of competitor after each event.
Said Ms Fu: "I look forward to completing the triathlon with my teammates and supporting one another throughout the relay.
"Singapore is hosting this event for the first time; it will add to our vibrancy as an international sporting destination.
"I hope that events such as this will encourage Singaporeans to get active and lead healthy lifestyles."