Yee, Potter, Van Riel and Knoll among headliners at Arena Games Triathlon Munich
Could we be about to witness an Olympic Champion become an ESports World Champion in the space of 10 months? The anticipation has been building from the moment that the partnership was agreed between World Triathlon and Super League Triathlon to crown triathlon’s first ESports World Champions with the Arena Games World Championship Series powered by Zwift. Finally, this weekend, the athletes will line up in Munich for the first steps down that title-winning road that blends virtual and real-life racing and that stops next in London (23 April) before the finale in Singapore (7 May). Full start lists can be found here.
Among the more experienced men on the start list with previous Arena Games golds to their names are Alex Yee (GBR), Marten Van Riel (BEL) and Justus Nieschlag (GER). It was the German who won the pioneering inaugural event in Rotterdam back in August 2020 with a massive final bike effort to edge out Vasco Vilaça.
It was Van Riel who picked up the baton in March 2021 when the Games returned for a second year, narrowly defeating double Olympic medallist Yee as the order for the final stage flipped to bike-swim-run… all part of the exciting unpredictability of the format.
It was a result that Van Riel was able to match back in Rotterdam a month later, Nieschlag this time with the silver ahead of Johnny Brownlee. The Belgian displayed his remarkable versatility across the short distance as he will have to once again if he is to succeed this weekend, coming off the back of a record-busting 70.3 gold in Dubai last month.
Plenty of exciting new faces will be poolside in Munich’s Olympiapark too, alongside some experienced hands. Portugal’s João Silva and Frenchman Aurelian Raphael will be out to show the young guns that they still have the explosive power over short sharp racing to hit the podium, the latter scooping bronze last year.
USA’s Chase McQueen will be looking to pick up where he left off after an excellent 2021 that included Mixed Relay gold at the WTCS Montreal, while Max Stapley (AUS) is out to make a name for himself alongside more experienced Europeans including Russell White (IRL), Alois Knabl (AUT) and Gianluca Pozzatti (ITA).
Men’s Heat 1: Marten Van Riel, Alois Knabl, Chase McQueen, Gianluca Pozzatti, Simon Henseleit, Max Stapley, Russell White, Aurelien Raphael.
Men’s Heat 2: Alex Yee, Gordon Benson, Joao Silva, Darr Smith, Tjebbe Kaindl, Justus Nieschlag, Jannik Schaufler, Donald Hillebregt.
With some of the bigger names in the women’s side waiting to make their 2022 debuts in London later in the month, the stage could be set for another 2021 winner, Beth Potter (GBR) to continue her rich form. A double World Cup winner in Korea at the end of last year and with a Europe Cup under her belt at the end of March, a repeat of that dominant Arena Games London display could well be on the cards.
Italy’s Ilaria Zane is no stranger to the demands of the format, however, and will be eager to build on her strong showing at the indoor Europe Cup Lievin last month. Teammate Luisa Iogna-Prat could be among the surprise packages to challenge for the medals, too.
Comfortably the youngest in the field is Netherlands’ Barbara De Koning. Still only 19 years of age, she has multiple Junior and Youth titles to her name and will relish the chance to race with some of the biggest names on the circuit following her 11th place in the U23 World Championships in Edmonton.
Anna Godoy Contreras stars for Spain, 10th at both the Rotterdam and London Arena Games events last year, while Zsanett Bragmayer, 12th at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and just off the podium in 4th at WTCS Hamburg, could be lining up an explosive performance on her debut.
Women’s Heat 1: Beth Potter, Lena Meißner, Luisa Iogna-Prat, Gina Sereno, Ilaria Zane, Barbara De Koning, Iria Rodriguez.
Women’s Heat 2: Zsanett Bragmayer, Anabel Knoll, Alissa Konig, Petra Kurikova, Romana Gajdošová, Anna Godoy.
Related Event: 2022 Arena Games Triathlon Series Munich powered by Zwift
|Results: Elite Men|
|Results: Elite Women Heat 1 Stage 1|
|3.||Barbara De Koning||NED||00:12:57|
|Results: Elite Women Heat 2 Stage 2|
|3.||Anna Godoy Contreras||ESP||00:13:42|
|Results: Elite Men Final Stage 2|
|Results: Elite Women Final Stage 2|
|5.||Anna Godoy Contreras||ESP||00:13:11|
02:58 - 07 Oct, 2021
05:17 - 22 Apr, 2021