Triathlon stars past, present and future coming out for Arena Games Finals London
Saturday evening in the London Aquatic Centre will see the culmination of the 2023 Arena Games Triathlon Series powered by Zwift and almost certainly the crowning of two brand new World Champions in the unique hybrid racing format.
As always, the action will be intense, with two sessions of qualifier heats and repechages boiling the 30 athletes on the men’s and women’s start lists down to the 10 who will go all in for the prizes from 5.30pm Saturday.
But who has drawn who in the three 10-deep qualifiers, who are the favourites for golds and who stands to be crowned World Champions? Buckle up, this will be quite a ride…
Sereno draws Beaugrand, Bragmayer vs Potter
Friday’s three heats of 10 athletes will see the top two automatically into Saturday’s Finals, with positions 3-7 into the morning’s repechages plus the five fastest – meaning 20 in total head into the play-offs.
For the two female athletes in pole position for the title with wins under their belts already this year, Gina Sereno (USA) and Zsanett Bragmayer (HUN), the instant qualification question got a notch tougher with the arrivals of Cassandre Beaugrand and Beth Potter onto the start lists.
Beaugrand won here last year, Potter took the overall title, both are in flying form and all four will want to go through without worrying about a morning alarm for the repechage.
In Heat One, Potter and Bragmayer will also face Australian star Emma Jackson and in-form Dutch talent Barbara De Koning, while heat two sees Beaugrand and Sereno facing down Eva Daniels (LUX) and Fanni Szalai, the 15-year-old Hungarian who was a revelation in Switzerland last month.
Iden joins Stapley, Schoeman and Abdelmoula in Group of Death
Of the three men’s heats going out on Friday, it’s impossible not to be drawn to the names in Heat Two and the intrigue of seeing Norway’s long-course world-conquerer Gustav Iden tackle the shortest, sharpest format around.
His chances of an easy ride into the finals were dealt a blow by being drawn with GB’s past Arena Games high-flyers Daniel Dixon, Jack Stanton-Stock and Max Stapley, Sursee champion Henri Schoeman and Moroccan revelation Jawad Abdelmoula.
Of course, entry to the finals via the repechage may not be the worst thing for the Norwegian as he gets used to the format, but even that won’t be a foregone conclusion with Jamie Riddle (RSA), Valentin Wernz (GER) and Lasse Nygaard Priester (GER) and Kyle Smith (NZL) on his shoulder.
Men’s Heat One boasts the mighty Frenchman Aurelian Raphael, Montreal champion Chase McQueen (USA) and the Italian bullet Nicolo Strada, while Heat Three welcomes Bence Bicsak (HUN), Maxim Hueber-Moosbrugger (FRA) and the format’s most successful athlete to date, Germany’s Justus Nieschlag to the pool as well as Team World Triathlon development squad’s Badr Siwane.
Arena Games: the drama is in the details
The three qualifiers and two repechages will be decided by a two-stage swim-bike-run contest, a pursuit start to the second based on the time difference from stage one. In each instance, the top two will progress to the Final
Saturday’s finals start at 5.30pm for the women and 6.30pm for the men. The ten athletes in each will now face THREE stages - swim-bike-run / run-bike-swim / swim-bike-run – with the final stage pursuit start based off the cumulative time differences from the first two.
Confused? You won’t be. Just tune in to TriathlonLive.tv on Saturday from 5.15pm local time and let the Arena Games magic sink in as we crown our 2023 World Champions.
Full start lists can be found here.
Related Event: 2023 Arena Games Triathlon Finals London powered by Zwift
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|Results: Final Women|
|Results: Elite Women Final Stage 2|
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