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7 May 2022
4 min read
Announcements ○ Arena Games ○ Athletes
Alex Yee secured the 2022 Arena Games Triathlon powered by Zwift World Championship title in Singapore. Like Potter, however, Yee would be outgunned for the Singapore stage title, this time by New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde, who put in an unstoppable swim, bike and run performance in front of the packed crowds of Marina Bay.
Today’s event, the climax of the Arena Games season that has also visited Munich and London in Europe, saw two races for the price of one. Both the 2022 World Championship crown and the Singapore Arena Games titles were on the line, with Alex Yee, the reigning Super League Triathlon Championship Series winner, and Justus Nieschlag vying for the former, a field of 10 international contenders for the latter.
Both titles would go down to the wire and the final of today’s nine triathlon stages. That final 1km treadmill run would witness New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde power to the Singapore title, with Yee holding off a chasing Nieschlag to take the 2022 world title. France’s Aurelien Raphael would take overall 2022 bronze.
“I came here to race the best that I could, and I’ve been rewarded for my performances here [and in London],” said Yee on making tri history. “My swim has been a massive project for me this winter and I’ve worked meticulously on it, so I’m really pleased that it paid off.”
Today’s format in Singapore’s Marina Bay saw Stage 1 host a 200m open-water marina swim, a 4km Tacx smart trainer bike and a 1km run on self-powered curved treadmills, before Stage 2 reversed that order with a 1km run giving way to a 4km bike and 200m swim. The classic tri format of a 200m swim, a 4km bike and 1km run would return in Stage 3 to decide the stage winner.
Olympic Games qualification points were also on offer and the new non-drafting format on the bike leg would also be maintained.
The 200m open-water swim was the first time that an athletic swim event had been hosted in Singapore’s Marina Bay. Arena Games Munich winner Aurelien Rapheal (FRA) would surge to the front, a messy chase pack battling in the swash behind him, yet the French athlete would ruin that clear advantage of around 8secs by running the wrong way in Transition 1.
New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde would take advantage of Raphael’s error and take to the front of the 4km bike leg, ahead of Japan’s Kenji Nener and Alex Yee (GB). That order would be maintained into T2, Nener and Yee 7secs adrift of Wilde.
Wilde’s transition wasn’t flawless but his treadmill running gait certainly was, outpacing Yee by 4secs to take the Stage 1 victory, some 17secs ahead of Justus Nieschlag (Ger).
Stage 2 reversed the tri classic order and began with a 1km run that gave way to a 4km bike and 200m open-water swim. The 1km run was led by Wilde, with Rapheal in contention and hoping to make amends for his Stage 1 T1 mishap. Surprisingly, World Championship contender Nieschlag was 8secs in arrears by T1, with Wilde holding a slight advantage over Yee.
Onto the 4km Tacx turbo trainer bike and Wilde’s Zwift avatar was straight into the lead, the Kiwi establishing a 7secs gap ahead of Yee by the halfway stage with Nieschlag just 9secs behind. An advantage Wilde would maintain until T2.
Onto the 200m swim and Yee began eating into Wilde’s lead before passing the Kiwi with 50m to go. That would be overshadowed by Nieschlag putting on the afterburners to take the Stage 2 win by just 1secs in a rare triathlon swim sprint finish.
Stage 3 would be a battle of two races in one. The first for the World Championship title, the second for the Singapore stage win. Alex Yee and Justus Nieschlag would feature in both, Wilde in the latter. The rest of the field were out of both reckonings.
The 200m open-water swim would begin the title tussle, Wilde with a 3sec head start in the pursuit format over Yee and 16secs over Nieschlag. Yee would establish the inside turn on the first buoy to take the lead, yet Nieschlag was soon beginning to emerge into the white-water wash of Wilde to claw back 8secs on Wilde and Yee. A major T1 would see Wilde start the bike 2secs ahead of Yee, 7secs ahead of Nieschlag. All was to play for.
Wilde’s watts were reaching 370W, Yee evidently suffering and already 8secs behind Wilde at the 2km stage. The World Championship drama was enfolding behind Wilde, with Nieschlag eating into Yee’s lead. By T2, Wilde’s lead was 15secs, bar disaster the Singapore title was his. The World Championship win would be less clearcut with Nieschlag just 7secs behind Yee…
The 1km run was conducted at a relentless speed, yet the pecking order wouldn’t change. Wilde would hold off both Yee (10secs behind) and Nieschlag (27secs) to deliver a major statement win, Yee another major title. With their careers in the ascendency, today won’t be the first time that the 24-year-old’s battle for major tri honours.
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