Raphael rolls back the years to produce shock win as Yee and Van Riel struggle

by Olalla Cernuda on 09 Apr, 2022 08:31 • Español
Raphael rolls back the years to produce shock win as Yee and Van Riel struggle

Aurelien Raphael (FRA) sprinted to the Arena Games Munich title in Germany, the French star finally delivering on his promise as the pre-race favourites failed to deliver. Australia’s Max Stapley and home hero Justus Nieschlag completed the podium.

“It was a great competition and I was really happy to win,” said Raphael, 33, at the finish, the oldest athlete in the field showing the multi-national field a clean pair of heels on the final run leg to secure the victory, yet another for France in SLT history.

The men’s race came down to a showdown on the final 1km run leg of Stage 3. Five athletes were all in contention, but 2007 junior world champion Raphael powered to the front, rolling back the years as the pre-race favourites Alex Yee and Marten Van Riel, languished in the final places.

Stage 1’s 200m swim witnessed Aurelien Raphael control the pace at the front, but America’s brilliantly-named Chase McQueen was first to exit the water ahead of the Frenchman.

Onto the Tacx turbo trainers, and the big news was Tokyo Olympics gold and silver medallist Alex Yee dropping off the rear, 4secs adrift at the 1km stage. Bar Yee, the contenders were all in a group, a magnificent multisport seven drafting together on the Zwift circuit in a bid to drop the formidable runner. The 24-year-old’s deficit was 10secs onto the run. How much would riding alone without the benefit of slipstream harm Yee’s chances on the run?

Raphael would lead the field ahead of Super League regular Marten Van Riel of Belgium on Stage 1’s 1km run, but the big talking point was Gordon Benson’s technical treadmill troubles.

A pause in proceedings gave both athletes and spectators a breather on Stage 2’s 1km run as Gordon Benson’s treadmill was experiencing technical difficulties. All were running faster than 20km/h and Yee was instantly back in the mix – also present was Aussie Max Stapley, but Yee would be first onto the turbos for Stage 2.

As Benson and McQueen pushed the tempo, Belgian star Marten Van Riel was a casualty of the 4km bike’s frenetic pace, falling off the back and some 20secs down by the finale. There would be much to play for on the final 400m swim.

German star Justus Nieschlag had been lurking out of the lead positions but came to the fore on the swim, the 2020 Arena Games Rotterdam champion touching the wall first to win Stage 2 ahead of McQueen.

The Pursuit-style start of Stage 3 would see Raphael hold a 4sec advantage over Stapley and McQueen, with Nieschlag also within touching distance. The two pre-race favourites had plenty to do, with Yee 13secs back and Van Riel 27secs in arrears.

That order of Raphael, Stapley, McQueen and Nieschlag would remain at the end of the 200m pool swim, the athletes taking to the bike without even clipping into the bike shoes, such was the intensity of the racing. Also in the reckoning was the reigning Italian national champion, Gianluca Pozzatti. In contrast to the women’s event, the Arena Games Munich victory would come down to a 1km all-out sprint between five international contenders from Germany, Italy, France, Australia and the USA.

To raucous home applause, Nieschlag was first to launch onto the treadmill ahead of Raphael. Yet it was the French star who powered to the front by the halfway stage and continued to hold the advantage to the finishing line, holding off Stapley by just 1.2secs and Nieschlag by 5.3secs. Pozzatti and McQueen would complete the top five, but the bragging rights would belong to Raphael. A fascinating battle awaits in London on the 23rd of April.


Two-time Arena Games champion Marten Van Riel had to produce a big Stage 2 of the first Heat to ensure qualification for the finals of Arena Games Triathlon powered by Zwift in Munich after a shaky start.

Van Riel, who won back-to-back Arena Games in 2021, struggled with his shoes in Stage 1 and dived in for Stage 2’s pursuit start in fifth place. However, he managed to overcome his deficit with a huge swim and went on to finish second to the dominant Aurelian Raphael and secure and an automatic qualification for the final along with Italy’s Gianluca Pozzatti who was two seconds ahead of Chase McQueen.

Heat 2 was a more straightforward affair for the big favourite Alex Yee. He did enough to win with gas still in the tank. Fellow Brit Gordon Benson, who impressed in Arena Games action in London in 2021, stuck with him most of the way for second while Justus Nieschlag, the 2020 champion, was third in what was somewhat of a shut-out.

The two fastest losers both came from Heat 1 with Chase McQueen joined in the final by fifth place Max Stapley.

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Related Event: 2022 Arena Games Triathlon Series Munich powered by Zwift
09 Apr, 2022 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men Final Stage 2
1. Justus Nieschlag GER 00:11:26
2. Chase McQueen USA 00:11:27
3. Max Stapley AUS 00:11:28
4. Aurelien Raphael FRA 00:11:29
5. Gianluca Pozzatti ITA 00:11:31
Results: Rankings Only Male
1. Aurelien Raphael FRA 00:34:20
2. Max Stapley AUS 00:34:21
3. Justus Nieschlag GER 00:34:21
4. Gianluca Pozzatti ITA 00:34:21
5. Chase McQueen USA 00:34:21
Results: Rankings Only Female
1. Beth Potter GBR 00:37:10
2. Lena Meißner GER 00:37:11
3. Anabel Knoll GER 00:37:11
4. Anna Godoy Contreras ESP 00:37:11
5. Ilaria Zane ITA 00:37:11
Results: Final Women
1. Beth Potter GBR 00:37:22
2. Lena Meißner GER 00:38:53
3. Anabel Knoll GER 00:39:09
4. Anna Godoy Contreras ESP 00:39:44
5. Ilaria Zane ITA 00:39:51
Results: Final Men
1. Aurelien Raphael FRA 00:34:20
2. Max Stapley AUS 00:34:21
3. Justus Nieschlag GER 00:34:26
4. Gianluca Pozzatti ITA 00:34:31
5. Chase McQueen USA 00:34:34
Results: Elite Women Heat 2
1. Zsanett Kuttor-Bragmayer HUN 00:26:34
2. Anabel Knoll GER 00:26:36
3. Anna Godoy Contreras ESP 00:26:46
4. Romana Gajdošová SVK 00:27:09
5. Alissa Konig SUI 00:27:28
Results: Elite Women Heat 1
1. Beth Potter GBR 00:25:25
2. Lena Meißner GER 00:26:02
3. Gina Sereno USA 00:26:15
4. Ilaria Zane ITA 00:26:15
5. Luisa Iogna-Prat ITA 00:26:23
Results: Elite Men Final Stage 3
1. Max Stapley AUS 00:11:35
2. Aurelien Raphael FRA 00:11:37
3. Justus Nieschlag GER 00:11:38
4. Gianluca Pozzatti ITA 00:11:40
5. Chase McQueen USA 00:11:47
Results: Elite Women Final Stage 3
1. Beth Potter GBR 00:12:38
2. Lena Meißner GER 00:13:21
3. Anabel Knoll GER 00:13:30
4. Gina Sereno USA 00:13:36
5. Ilaria Zane ITA 00:13:45
Results: Elite Women Final Stage 2
1. Beth Potter GBR 00:12:25
2. Lena Meißner GER 00:12:55
3. Anabel Knoll GER 00:13:01
4. Gina Sereno USA 00:13:06
5. Anna Godoy Contreras ESP 00:13:11
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