Hayden Wilde and Cassandre Beaugrand returned to the top step at the Super League Triathlon Championship Series over the weekend, winning the men’s and women’s races in Malibu.
Racing across the Eliminator format – three stages of swim-bike-run where the slowest three are eliminated each round, with a pursuit start final stage – the two Bahrain Victorious athletes led the charge of the Bahrain Victorious Scorpions on Zuma Beach.
In Beaugrand’s first appearance in this year’s series, the French star got straight to work winning Stage 1 and putting a Short Chute in her back pocket to set the tone for the Scorpions’ racing. Stage 2 saw her finish in sixth comfortably to set up Stage 3 where she started third just 6 seconds back of the first athlete.
Over the final 300-metre ocean swim Beaugrand narrowed the difference to just 2.4 seconds at swim exit. She then worked with compatriot Emma Lombardi to break away from the chasers by 12 seconds at the end of the 3.6-kilometre bike leg. With both athletes using their Short Chute on the two-lap 1.6-kilometre run to negate any advantage, Beaugrand turned on her afterburners to take the day’s win.
Beaugrand said, “I’m not used to swimming in these waves and I was sick during the first choppy swim of the day… It was also a technical bike leg, but I’m happy to bring the points for the Scorpions team as we needed the points.”
After a controversial previous race in Toulouse where he mistakenly attempted an extra bike lap, Wilde found redemption in Malibu with a perfectly executed race. A Stage 1 win on the run granted him a Short Chute to add to the one Schoeman earlier secured coming out of the water first. Stage 2 saw further Bahrain Victorious Scorpions domination with Wilde, Schoeman and Tayler Reid pushing on the bike leg with Wilde and Schoeman going 1 and 2 at the end.
When all the times had been reckoned, it was Wilde who would lead out the Pursuit start by 9 seconds, though by swim leg’s end it was Schoeman once again at the front. At the start of the bike leg Wilde, Schoeman, and Leo Bergere made up the front pack, but a near crash had Schoeman feeling tentative while Wilde and Bergere forged on. When Bergere chose to use his Short Chute on the first lap of the run, Wilde stayed with him and then put on a surge to put distance between them. He held on through the second lap to finish three seconds ahead of Bergere, while Schoeman finished in fourth.
Wilde said, “It was really nice to put together a race that I know I’m capable of and I’m stoked to do it here in Malibu. It was great to work with Henri [Schoeman] on the bike and try to secure some points for the Scorpions.”
This brings Wilde up to third and Schoeman to fourth in the individual championship standings, both still with a clear shot at winning the overall title at the finale.
Points earned by the Bahrain Victorious Scorpions for finish positions and bonuses helped them tie for second place on the day and hold onto second place in the team championship rankings, thus keeping the title defence alive for the final race in NEOM in two weeks’ time.