Main Image: Wilde won in Toulouse last year wearing Sharks clothing but will be in Scorpions kit on Sunday. (Photos – Super League Triathlon)
By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
Hayden Wilde isn’t the only heavyweight name set for his 2023 Super League Triathlon Championship Series bow in Toulouse on Sunday.
The Kiwi No.1 bypassed the opening round of SLT season V in London last weekend as a precaution following his slow-speed bike crash before the Paris Olympic test led to his WD just a few metres into the run courtesy of a hip injury.
But the Andorra-based 25-year-old is listed to make his Bahrain Victorious Scorpions debut in picturesque Toulouse alongside Kiwi team-mates Tayler Reid and Nicole van der Kaay on Sunday evening with the women off at 8.30pm and the men racing at 9:45pm (NZT).
The races are scheduled on both Sky Sports 3 (channel 53) and SLT Youtube channel (check listings and times).
An easy comeback it will not be for the reigning Super League champion even if runaway London winner Alex Yee is MIA. Matthew Hauser, Leo Bergere and Kristian Blummenfelt are all listed to start after missing London.
Blummenfelt astonished everyone by winning the inaugural PTO Open in Singapore – just two days after racing in Paris – but seemed to pay for all the global travel at last weekend’s 70.3 Worlds in Finland.
Big Blu’s manic schedule will again be under the microscope in Toulouse. Hauser is back after his Covid-enforced WD in Paris while Bergere is the sole Frenchman racing on home soil.
Reid will look to back up his brilliant 3rd placing in London behind Yee and Jonny Brownlee while van der Kaay is likewise hoping to better her 9th placing after a hectic schedule.
“Rounding up 3 weeks & 4 races in Toulouse this weekend!” van der Kaay said on social media.
“I’ve raced a lot this year & it’s definitely a challenge to maintain training load, fitness, health & be ready to race! But us SLT athletes are up for the challenge! Here we go again! ”
Another challenge on Sunday is the Triple Mix format after London’s “enduro”.
Throwing the traditional swim-bike-run sequence out the window, the Triple Mix shuffles the disciplines over three stages. It tests the versatility of the athletes and whether they can keep track of what comes next in the heat of battle.
Mistakes in this format are costly, and every second counts on stage one and two as they define stage three’s pursuit start. At the end of stage one and two, athletes have a two minutes to reset themselves and their equipment. Stage one and two are mass starts with the order of swim-bike run and run-bike-swim. The accumulated times across both set the timings for a pursuit start in stage three, which is bike-swim-run after a slightly longer four minute rest.
Triathlon.kiwi will bring you reaction from Toulouse.