Schoeman comeback complete as he is crowned Arena Games king in London

by doug.gray@triathlon.org on 08 Apr, 2023 08:14 • Español
Schoeman comeback complete as he is crowned Arena Games king in London

The 2023 Arena Games Triathlon Series Powered by Zwift Finals London saw Henri Schoeman crowned the new men’s world champion over the fast and furious hybrid format after taking silver behind Nicolo Strada of Italy.

Two sessions of heats and repechages had boiled the 30 men starting Friday’s heats down to 10 for the three-stage finale at London Aquatics Centre, and the athletes delivered a big finish for the packed crowds.

Having been the last name on the start list, Gustav Iden grew into the race to eventually finish fifth, with New Zealand’s Kyle Smith in third and Switzerland’s Simon Westermann in fourth.

That saw Westermann join Schoeman and Strada on the overall podium at the end of a 2023 series that took in Montreal and Sursee on route to London.

Smith and Strada set the pace

Just five seconds separated the top seven at the end of the first 200m swim, but Strada was soon to the front on the first 4km bike, Smith in hot pursuit as he continued his impressive first dose of super-sprint action.

Out and onto the 1km run, Iden found himself some 16 seconds back in 8th position as the front pair of Strada and Smith couldn’t be contained, even by the mighty Schoeman, Chase McQueen finding himself 30 seconds back and his world title hopes already dashed.

Vogel steps into reckoning

The second stage began on the treadmills, where it was again Smith and Germany’s Johannes Vogel into their stride and pulling away from the field, Fabian Meussen also going well and Iden staying in touch.

Iden put on a show for the crowds on the middle bike, he and Strada showing those trailing in their wake how to dig deep, Smith and Jeremy Briand giving their all to keep them in sight, Schoeman six seconds off the front.

For the swim, though, it was the Strada and Schoeman show, the Italian bullet just managing to keep his rival at bay to give himself a precious seven-second advantage on the pursuit start but knowing second would still give Schoeman the overall title.

Strada stretches out

Into the water for the final time, Iden was 30 seconds off Strada but only nine off Smith in third, and able to stay in touch this time in the water as the New Zealander tired.

Strada took a 6-second lead onto the bike, but it was the 7 seconds separating Smith, Westermann, Vogel and Iden in the hunt for third that was heating up, and even though Iden found the reserves to record the fastest run split of the stage, it was Kyle Smith who put in a huge sprint finish over the final 200m to win the bronze.

Out ahead, Strada was delighted to take the race gold, but Schoeman had already allowed himself a smile on the treadmill as he knew that the title was his and his return from injury had made another totemic shift forward.

“There’s no words to describe it,” said Schoeman. “I wanted to get into racing and sharpen up the body with Arena Games and I fell in love with the format. The crowd was amazing and pushed us to the limits. Biggups to Nicolo Strada and Simon too. From the get-go I was cramping and just had to manage my effort, I got back close in stage two and was just hard racing for second and get to the end.”

“It’s an honour to be second overall and first today, I love the indoor format and I’m super happy,” said a smiling Strada. “I was feeling super good today and when you feel good, it’s easier!”

For the full results, click here.

Related Event: 2023 Arena Games Triathlon Finals London powered by Zwift
07 - 08 Apr, 2023 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Nicolò Strada ITA 00:33:41
2. Henri Schoeman RSA 00:34:04
3. Kyle Smith NZL 00:34:11
4. Simon Westermann SUI 00:34:12
5. Gustav Iden NOR 00:34:14
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