It was a winning weekend for Bahrain Endurance 13 as Vincent Luis took the men’s title at the Super League Triathlon Grand Final in Singapore, and Lauren Parker shone at the Oceania Paratriathlon Championships Newcastle, her first race in the campaign to qualify for the Olympics in 2020.
Luis’ win was a triumphant comeback after a punctured tire on Saturday took him out of the race with no points collected for the season ranking. He needed to win on Sunday to collect enough points to be in the running for season champion.
He proved the toughest and strongest in the field on the Enduro, a non-stop swim-bike-run done thrice over with the two slowest athletes in each leg eliminated. As the field shrank through each leg, Luis stayed in the lead group then struck out for the front in the final run and never looked back to take the win on the day and 50 points for the overall season win.
The margin between him and nearest challenger Henri Schoeman was only two points. Bahrain Endurance 13 teammate Ben Kanute’s 5th place finish behind Leo Bergere alongside Schoeman’s 3rd behind Jonathan Brownlee determined the final season rankings.
“This morning I woke up and my coach and assistant coach asked me if I would like them to do the maths [for the ranking] and I said, no, I just want to race. I want to win the race and that’s the only thing I can do and let’s see what happens after,” Luis said post-race. “Honestly when I woke up this morning I did not expect that. It’s crazy!”
He added, “I knew I was fresher as I didn’t race as much as them yesterday, so I was waiting for the last run. I saw that Henri wasn’t at his best, so I tried to keep with Jonny as much as possible.
“I was so down after yesterday, I didn’t know if I wanted to race this Sunday. I still can’t believe it I’ve won. You never know – anything can happen.”
In the women’s race, Ashleigh Gentle placed third on Saturday but was eliminated on Sunday in the third swim. She and Kanute end the season ranked 7th with a guaranteed contract for next season’s racing.
The Oceania Paratriathlon Championships Newcastle offered massive points for athletes to qualify for Tokyo 2020. Parker capitalized on the hometown race by winning in 1:26:29.
Parker said, “(it was) very windy it was definitely tough conditions. You know that I love tough conditions that’s what racing’s about and I had my first win over Emily Tapp today – the world champ, so I’m so proud that I raced my home town and to take the win.”
She will attempt to back up by racing in Devonport, Tasmania for the ITU World Cup Paratriathlon next weekend.