Murray and Schoeman claim incredible double podium at Malta Superleague
After three days of brutal, unconventional triathlon racing, South Africans Richard Murray and Henri Schoeman show Superleague format racing that they have the makings of complete all rounders at the second event of Superleague’s 2018/19 season in Malta.
Friday, 26 October 2018 started the weekend’s racing off with a 600m swim time trial. Schoeman proved yet again that there is no match for his swimming ability, clocking a 6:31 time for the ITT (individual time trial). France’s Vincent Luis had the second fastest swim, finishing 11 seconds down on Schoeman, followed by Germany’s Jonas Schomburg in third with a 6:46. Murray’s swim time was a 7:21, putting him 50 seconds back for the races to follow.
With the time trial behind them, athletes could focus on the next day’s racing. On Saturday, 27 October the eliminator event was underway. The time trial deficit would only come into play on Sunday, so Murray had a clean slate for racing the three stages of swim-bike-run that lay ahead. Stage 1 of the eliminator saw Igor Polyanskiy (RUS) out of the water 1 second ahead of Schoeman in a time of 3:05 for 300m. Murray swam a 3:17, but made his way back to the pack on the 4 lap of 1km bike course. Onto the 1,5 km run, New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde came storming down the finish chute first in a run time of 04:30. With just 10 seconds separating the top 7, Schoeman finished 6th ahead of Murray in 7th in a sprint finish also containing Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk and Schomburg. On the second stage, Schoeman was out the water first in a time of 3:00. With a 17 second gap to the leaders, Murray biked his way back up the ranks to the front pack with a fastest of the stage bike split, 06:41. On the run it was Mislawchuk who took the second stage victory, followed by Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee in second ahead of another SA sprint off between Schoeman and Murray- Schoeman claimed the bronze medal and Murray finished 4th. On the third and final stage for the day, only 7 athletes remained. Not surprisingly, Schoeman once again glided through the water with the fastest swim time of the day (02:59), followed by Luis in second and Murray some 18 seconds down. With another impressive bike from Murray he made up his lost time on Schoeman and Luis. Running for gold, Murray gave an incredible fastest run of the day in order to finish the 1,5km in just 04:10, 4 seconds ahead of Luis in 2nd and Schoeman in 3rd.
Sunday 28, October would decide the Super League Malta champion, as the second stage of the equalizer unfolded. Diving into the 300m swim in pursuit starts, Schoeman was first to take the splash into the swim-bike-run, swim-bike run equalizer, followed by Luis and Schomburg. Murray would have a hard time staying in the race at 50 seconds down at the start, as elimination was due to anybody who fell further than 90 seconds behind the leaders. Schoeman and Luis stuck it out together for most of the race, with the second stage run set to be the deciding factor as to who would win Super League Malta and a $20 000 cheque. In another fantastic sprint, Schoeman unfortunately yielded the victory to Luis, but could hold his head high for the silver medal and overall series 2nd place ranking. Murray crossed the line in 8th, maintaining his gap to the leaders. This meant he held onto his Malta Superleague overall third position, which he was ecstatic about.
The next Super League will be held in Mallorca on 3 November.