September 25, 2017 / 4:24 AM / a month ago

Triathlon: Zaferes takes first women's Super League title

JERSEY, Channel Islands (Reuters) - Katie Zaferes led an American one-two at the first women’s triathlon Super League on Sunday after a weekend of high-octane racing across various formats in the sport’s newest competition.

2016 Rio Olympics - Triathlon - Final - Women's Final - Fort Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 20/08/2016. Katie Zaferes (USA) of USA, Claudia Rivas (MEX) of Mexico and Rachel Klamer (NED) of Netherlands compete. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt won the men’s event, with Britain’s double Olympic medallist Jonny Brownlee finishing second and Richard Murray, the South African who won the inaugural Super League competition in Australia in March, third.

Super League was launched with only a men’s event and proved popular with athletes and fans as short-distance races, a shake-up to the traditional swim-bike-run order and new ideas such as an eliminator race gave the sport a new, and lucrative twist over a two-day competition.

The second event in Jersey featured men’s and women’s races, with Zaferes following a consistent season on the International Triathlon Union (ITU) circuit by taking home the top prize of $18,000 - a considerable drop from the $100,000 scooped by Murray on Hamilton Island.

2016 Rio Olympics - Triathlon - Final - Women's Final - Fort Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 20/08/2016. Katie Zaferes (USA) of USA competes. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Zaferes’s compatriot Summer Cook took second spot ahead of Switzerland’s 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Spirig - also the finishing order in Sunday’s final eliminator race.

”It’s just so cool, it’s a different style of racing,“ said Zaferes. ”It’s a fun style but it is so painful and you cannot hide anywhere. I would love to do more of these.”

On the men’s side Blummenfelt, who has also enjoyed a stand-out ITU season, was in dominant form all weekend as he took top spot in five out of six stages to keep Brownlee behind him and take the $18,000 pot.

“Kristian was far better than us all the whole weekend and I was absolutely nowhere near him today,” said Brownlee, whose double Olympic champion brother Alistair missed the event through injury.

”Well done, and well done to Richard as well. It’s great fun, it’s great racing and hopefully everyone’s enjoyed it.”

Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Toby Davis

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