Super League Triathlon: A Guide to the Equalizer Format

In triathlon, being first off the bike has almost a mystical quality to it. The athlete who takes his chance and rides the legs off everyone else must then hold onto his lead as estate, but it is the common thought that that an uber biker will not have the legs to stave off the fleet of foot. The traditional swim-bike-run format, especially across the short distances, rewards those who can stay within striking distance of the front on the bike and then finish it off on the run.

Super League Triathlon is not traditional swim, bike and run. Super League Triathlon’s unique race formats across super-sprint distances eliminate predictability and provide variability and excitement from start to finish.

The Equalizer is one of the featured formats in Super League Triathlon’s inaugural event on Hamilton Island. It is a two-stage race comprising an individual cycling time trial in Stage One and a swim-run-swim-bike-run sequence as Stage Two. To make it really interesting, athletes must serve a time penalty in Stage Two that is equivalent to any time lost to the winner of Stage One.

Stage One of Equalizer, an individual cycling time trial of some 6km, will take place from 6am AEST onSaturday March 18, 2017. The individual time trial starts on the tarmac of Hamilton Island airport for a flat out and back section, but then it’s all uphill. The climb to the finish line at One Tree Hill is a brutally steep ascent where athletes will be tested to the limit.

“It may be one of the prettiest finish lines I’ve ever seen at a sporting event, but you’ve got to work your backside off to get there,” explained Super League Triathlon co-founder, Chris McCormack.

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In the last 1.4 kilometres of the Equalizer time trial course athletes will gain 121 metres in elevation with a maximum gradient of 24.4 percent.

“The time trial course may be only six kilometres but the last kilometres are as tough as I’ve seen in triathlon. Athletes will need to put it all on the line here to minimize any time losses. They’ve already raced Triple Mix the afternoon before and some will have tired legs. We’re going to see some real damage done here and the stronger bikers are going to have a huge advantage and an opportunity to really set up the win leading into Equalizer Stage Two,” said McCormack.

At 1700 AEST athletes will begin Equalizer Stage Two which is a continuous swim-run-swim-bike-run sequence. Athletes will pay the penalty for any time losses in Equalizer Stage One on the start pontoon of Stage Two. The winner of Stage One will start Stage Two first and all other athletes will start at the equivalent to the time lost to the winner in Stage One.

“If Javier Gomez Noya wins Stage One and Alistair Brownlee finishes Stage One eight seconds behind Gomez Noya, Gomez Noya will start from the gun at Stage Two and Alistair Brownlee will not be able to dive into the water for a further 8 seconds. This is repeated for all time gaps for all athletes, depending on their individual time losses to the winner of Stage One,” explained McCormack.

Each swim, bike and run section of Stage Two is 300 metres, 6 kilometres and 2 kilometres respectively. The winner of Equalizer is the first athlete to cross the finish line in Stage Two.

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Who will be the King of the Hill, and will their lead on the bike be enough to stay in front all the way to the Equalizer finish line? You can see for yourself. The Equalizer race at Super League Hamilton Island will be broadcast live on www.superleaguetriathlon.com from 1700 AEST on Saturday March 18 including a highlights package of the Stage One time trial.

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