America’s Chase McQueen won an action-packed 2023 Arena Games Triathlon title in Montreal, beating returning tri superstars, Ironman champions and rising Super League tyros to record the biggest performance of his career.

Arena Games Triathlon Montreal 2023

“Montreal has been so good to me. I’ve great memories here and I’m so thankful this is another one,” said McQueen at the finish, soon after his girlfriend, fellow American Gina Sereno, had triumphed in the women’s event.

“The Arena Games is so hard and brings the best out of everybody. It challenges you in ways that other triathlons don’t. But the camaraderie and atmosphere in here are just amazing.”

McQueen, 24, didn’t have it his own way throughout, however, with the revitalised South African Henri Schoeman pushing him all the way before finishing second, British newcomer Jack Stanton-Stock, 20, winning the day’s first stage and then finishing third overall, and Lionel Sanders displaying some of the most memorable cycling that Super League Triathlon has ever witnessed.

Much of the pre-race talk centred on the Super League Triathlon rookie, Lionel Sanders. The Canadian is one of the sport’s biggest and most beloved personalities, but he’d never faced a Super League Triathlon showdown in a career that has included dozens of Ironman and 70.3 titles. Until today, that is.

And, true to form, Sanders brought huge entertainment value with him, his Stage 2 record bike leg being one of Super League’s truly great moments. The 34-year-old would finish sixth overall, just 38secs behind McQueen in first.

“That was a lot of fun and these athletes showed me what real top-end speed looks like,” said Sanders at the finish. “But I transcended all of my pre-race goals. I didn’t know if I’d be invited back so I figured I’d soak all of this in every way I could. You have to evolve and that’s why I’m here. Super League was grander than I imagined, but I’d love to do our own walk-out song next time!”

Canada’s city of Montreal made its Arena Games Triathlon debut for the opening leg of the three-date 2023 World Championship Series. Alex Yee, the Arena Games winner in 2022, and some of the European stars were absent, but Sanders and the appearance of 2016 ITU world champ and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Henri Schoeman on the starting grid were major stories.

It’s been a difficult couple of injury-plagued seasons for the South African, and his silver
medal performance here was an emotional one.

“It’s been a long road for me to get back to this point,” said the 31-year-old, “but I’m ecstatic and the crowd have been pushing us all race.”

The action saw a mass start 200m pool swim, before a 4km Zwift bike leg and a 1km run on an elliptical running machine. Stage 2 would reverse that order, beginning with a 1km mass start run before a 4km bike and a 200m swim. The concluding Stage 3 would open with a Pursuit Start 200m swim, before the 4km bike leg and final 1km run to crown the overall winner.


The mass start 200m pool swim was led by Aurelien Raphael, 34, of France, who finished third in the 2022 Arena Games Triathlon World Championship Series, and was first out of the pool narrowly ahead of McQueen, Schoeman and Daniel Dixon of the UK. Sanders would exit 30secs down.

The 4km Zwift bike leg saw McQueen push the pace at the front, with none of the chasing pack able to utilise the benefits of drafting in a change from the 2022 Arena Games. Raphael, Schoeman and Dixon regularly swapped places behind McQueen, but the American was in command and even Sanders, travelling at 47km/h, wasn’t eating into McQueen’s advantage by much.

McQueen’s lead was 7.8secs at the start of the 1km run on self-powered treadmills, with Schoeman, Dixon and 20-year-old Brit Jack Stanton-Stock, who trains with Dixon in America, his closest challengers. Stanton-Stock would power to the front by the end of the 1km leg, edging a shocked McQueen by 1.7secs to lay down a marker for the final two stages by producing one of the fastest Arena Games run legs in history (and in an opening stage, too). Schoeman and Dixon were a handful of seconds behind, with Sanders 24secs back.


The second stage flipped the usual triathlon order, beginning with a mass start 1km run on the treadmills. Stanton-Stock was now a marked man, but his long, loping stride had created a 5secs lead within 400m. Could he maintain this speed? He could, finishing the run 10secs ahead of Schoeman with McQueen 15secs and Sanders 18secs adrift.

The 4km bike saw McQueen move back into contention, moving into second by the halfway stage to reduce Stanton-Stock’s lead by 8secs. Sanders was flying as well, blasting his way into fourth by halfway, then third 500m later as the crowd noise intensified. With 1km to go, Sanders, complete with gritted teeth and game-face on display, every sinew straining, had moved to second. The pass to first came with 200m to go to ecstatic cheers. His time for 4km was 5:06mins, a course record once again. Pure box office!

McQueen and Stanton-Stock were involved in a bit of shoving to get into the water ahead of each other, yet both managed to dive ahead of Sanders, with Schoeman also overtaking the Canadian almost instantly. At the finale, McQueen was first just 2secs ahead of Schoeman, with a goggle-less Stanton-Stock 11secs behind and Sanders’ heroics seeing him just 20secs in arrears. All to play for in the final stage!


“This is where champions are made,” said McQueen ahead of the deciding leg.

The Pursuit start 200m swim witnessed the American enter the water first just ahead of Schoeman and
Stanton-Stock. McQueen’s advantage was 4secs over Schoeman at the end of the four lengths, Stanton-Stock 24secs down and Sanders on the bike a minute down. Could another record leg be in the reckoning?

The 4km bike leg saw McQueen’s advantage being 10secs at the halfway stage over Schoeman, with training buddies Stanton-Stock and Dixon 30secs behind, Raphael 34secs and Sanders 54secs in arrears. Into T2 and McQueen was 13secs ahead of Schoeman, with the chasers all over 30secs back. It would be America versus South Africa for the title.

Schoeman had chipped 3secs away at McQueen’s lead by the 500m mark on the run, but it wouldn’t be enough, with McQueen striding to victory 7secs ahead of Schoeman, 22secs ahead of Stanton-Stock, with Raphael 27secs back and Dixon 32secs behind in fifth. The biggest cheer would be reserved for Sanders, however, the 34-year-old producing one of the great Super League performances to finish in sixth 38secs back.

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