Quick bounce in tactical victory

Men's Enduro race winner and overall champion Vincent Luis at a changeover. He was pushed hard by others like Jonathan Brownlee.
Men's Enduro race winner and overall champion Vincent Luis at a changeover. He was pushed hard by others like Jonathan Brownlee.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Luis wins Super League Triathlon despite earlier flat tyre, Zaferes earns women's title

Vincent Luis had thought his hopes of winning the overall Super League Triathlon men's crown were "definitely gone" after a flat tyre in the first round had put him out of contention in the Eliminator race on Saturday.

But the Frenchman, who was the men's leader of the four-stop series ahead of the two-day Singapore finale, mounted a spectacular comeback yesterday to win the men's Enduro race and clinch the overall title with 107 points - just two more than his closest challenger Henri Schoeman of South Africa.

Yesterday's Enduro race at One°15 Marina featured 23 male competitors in three continuous rounds, each comprising a 300m swim, a 5km bike ride and a 1.6km run. The two slowest athletes at the end of each discipline were eliminated.

The 29-year-old Luis, who was the overall winner in three previous legs in Jersey, Malta and Mallorca, was in disbelief after his triumph as he was unsure about racing yesterday after Saturday's setback.

He said: "You work so hard for months and some bad things happen like a staple on the road.

"But that's racing, you can have a puncture yesterday and win today. That's sport and that's why we love it."

Yesterday's race was a tactical one for Luis, who led for most of the final 1.6km run and finished eight seconds ahead of runner-up Jonathan Brownlee.

ALL'S FAIR

You work so hard for months and some bad things happen like a staple on the road. But that's racing, you can have a puncture yesterday and win today. That's sport and that's why we love it.

VINCENT LUIS, who thought his chances for the overall crown had gone after fumbling in Saturday's Eliminator race.

The Englishman, who won the Eliminator race on Saturday, was third in the overall series standings with 96 points.

Rio Olympic bronze medallist Schoeman, who finished third in the Enduro race, was pleased with his consistent performance in Singapore despite struggling with a sinus issue since he arrived earlier last week.

"To round out a solid second - I'm happy with that. What happened yesterday with Luis was definitely mine to lose," said the 27-year-old, who was leading throughout the Eliminator race on Saturday until a botched attempt at breaking away saw him fall to fourth.

"Jonny and Vincent made me work extremely hard."

Women's series leader Katie Zaferes was the overall champion with 113 points, despite coming in second to Cassandre Beaugrand of France in the women's Enduro race yesterday. The latter finished third overall with 65 points, while Dutchwoman Rachel Klamer was second with 76 points.

Zaferes and Beaugrand took turns exchanging the lead in the final stretch yesterday and appeared to cross the finish line at the same time, with Beaugrand taking the win in a photo finish.

Said American Zaferes, who won the women's Eliminator on Saturday: "I'm both really happy and a little disappointed because it was so close and I gave everything I had.

"It's always nice to come out on top, but it was a good weekend, it's been a great series and I'm happy with finishing second today but first overall for the series.

"I was trying to figure out whether it was better to be at the front or better to be on her shoulder to attack, or whether to wait.

"I wasn't sure if she would be able to come with me if I attacked it and I just tried to go all the way to the finish and she obviously was right there."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2019, with the headline 'Quick bounce in tactical victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe