Potter, Raphael Prevail at Arena Games Munich

Men’s heavy favorites Alex Yee of Great Britain and Marten Van Riel of Belgium took surprising back-of-the-pack defeats as longshot Aurelien Raphael of France edged Max Stapley of Australia by 1.2 of a second and won $5,000 at the Arena Games Triathlon in Munich.

Meanwhile, prohibitive favorite Beth Potter of Great Britain captured $5,000 in a wire-to-wire victory over two Germans – by 1:30 over Lena Meissner and 1:46 over Anabel Knoll.

The race was contested indoor over multiple stages and captured in a virtual manner for live spectators and streaming by internet. The format, identical for men and women, was Swim-Bike-Run in Stage One, Run-Bike-Swim for Stage Two and Swim-Bike-Run for Stage Three. The Stage 3 Run Finale was held in a pursuit fashion in which competitors began in the order established by their combined times for the first two stages.

The swim course was 200 meters (four lengths) in a 50-meter pool; Bike was 4km, ridden on Zwift, using Tacx NEO 2T smart trainers; ands Run was 1km run on a self-powered curved treadmill. Linked to Zwift.

Women’s Race Recap

Stage One

Spain’s Anna Godoy led the swim in 2:18 which gave her a one second lead on Hungary’s Zsannett Bragmayer. Leading a close pack of six, Potter quickly took the lead on the bike over chasers Gina Sereno of the U.S. and Luisa Iogna-Prat of Italy. Potter arrived at T2 just ahead of Knoll, Meissner, Bragmayer and Godoy. On the 1-kilometer run, Potter established a 10 seconds lead at halfway. At the finish, Potter had acquired an 18 seconds margin over Meissner with Knoll and Godoy a few seconds further back.

Stage Two

Top runners Potter and Sereno zoomed to the front with Meissner moving to second at the midpoint. At T2, Potter led by 9 seconds over Meissner, 13 seconds over Knoll and 14 seconds over Sereno. Running freely with the lead, Potter led by 18 seconds halfway with Knoll, Meissner and Sereno chasing. By T2, Potter stretched her lead to 25 seconds. After the swim, Potter led by a few ticks under a minute.

Stage Three

Potter stretched her lead over Meissner and Knoll on the swim, while Godoy made up some ground on the two chasers. Midway through the 4km bike leg, Potter increased her lead to 70 seconds. As she finished the bike, Potter led by 80 seconds on Meissner and Knoll. Cruising to the finish, Potter led Meissner by 1:30 and Knoll by 1:46. One sport off the podium, Godoy took 4th place 2:22 off the winner.

Women's Final Results

1. Beth Potter (GBR) - $5,000
2. Lena Meissner (GER) +1:30 - $4,000
3. Anabel Knoll (GER) +1:46 – $3,400
4. Anna Godoy (ESP) +2:22 - $2,600
5. Ilaria Zane (ITA) +2:28 - $1,800
6. Gina Sereno (USA) +2:30 - $1,400
7. Luisa Iogna-Prat (ITA) +3:10 - $1,200
8. Zsanett Bragmayer (HUN) +3:30 - $800

Men’s Race Recap

Stage One

After the first stage, pre-race favorites Marten Van Riel and Alex Yee clearly demonstrates they were off their games as they finished 6th (three seconds arrears) and 8th (7 seconds back). By contract, Raphael took a brief early lead, then Chase McQueen of the U.S. and Australian Max Stapley closed in second and third. On the bike leg, Yee stayed close to a front group of 7 through the halfway mark – 4 seconds back. As the lead group finished the bike, Yee fell 10 seconds back. At the finish of the stage, Raphael led Van Riel by 1.5 seconds and Stapley by 5 seconds, while Yee brough5t up the rear with an 11 seconds deficit. Meanwhile Gordon Benson incurred a technical problem – his avatar did not pick up – so he was given the same time as Yee – in last place.

Stage Two

In the early meters, Yee and Stapley were out front of a closely packed group of seven who were all within 2.5 seconds of one another. Early on the bike, Nieschlag moved to the front while Van Riel settled into last. By the final kilometer of the bike leg, the front seven were all within a single second while Van Riel fell to last place, 22 seconds arrears. On the swim leg, Nieschlag led the swim to win Stage 2 over McQueen, Stapley and Raphael with Ye 5 seconds behind.

By overall accounting, Raphael led the field by 3 seconds over Stapley with McQueen and Nieschlag on their heels in 3rd and 4th. Yee was in 6th place, 13 seconds down, while Van Riel was hopelessly ensconced in last place, 27 seconds behind the leader.

Stage Three

Raphael maintained the lead on the swim by three seconds over Stapley, McQueen, and Nieschlag. Quickly on the bike leg, Raphael and his chasers formed a group of four and Gianluca Pozzatti joined them in a group of five. Yee and Van Riel then formed a duo in 6th and 7th.

The Gang of Five began the run together with Nieschlag first on the treadmill. Midway through the run, Raphael and Nieschlag ran elbow to elbow, until Nieschlag fell off the pace. With 500 meters to go, Raphael led Stapley by two seconds. While Stapley gave it his all, Raphael stretched out his winning margin to 1.2 seconds at the line, as Nieschlag took 3rd place 5.33 arrears.

Final Results – Men

1. Aurelien Raphael (FRA) - $5,000
2. Max Stapley (AUS) +1.2 - $4,200
3. Justus Nieschlag (GER) +5.3 - $3,400
4. Gianluca Pozzatti (ITA) +10.6 - $2,600
5. Chase McQueen (USA) +13.9 - $1,00
6. Alex Yee (GBR) +27.3 - $1,400
7. Gordon Benson (GBR) +37.4 - $1,100
8. Marten Van Riel (BEL) +44.2 - $800