Races › Arena Games
18 Apr 2021
4 min read
#Anna Godoy Contreras
Sophie Coldwell became the new SLT Arena Games Powered by Zwift champion in Rotterdam, edging her British compatriot Beth Potter to win a thrilling Triple Mix showdown.
After securing a victory each in Stages 1 and 2 of the Arena Games, the final bike-swim-run of Stage 3 would be a battle between the Brits for the overall title. And it’d be the 26-year-old Coldwell who’d take control on the swim at the Zwemcentrum, before extending that advantage over the former Olympic Games track star Potter, 29, on the final and decisive run leg.
Three weeks after the SLT Arena Games made an enthralling season debut in London, the format returned in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, which also played host to the debut SLT Games in 2020. All eyes were on the Arena Games London champion Beth Potter, who’d knocked out the second-fastest road running 5km of all time in the intervening period.
Also in the mix were the top ten regular on the Super League and ITU circuit, Sophie Coldwell, Spanish star Anna Godoy, and a host of home favourites in Rachel Klamer, Maya Kingma and Rani Skrabanja.
The action in the Netherlands saw triathletes tasked with the SLT’s innovative Triple Mix format. The breakdown saw a swim-run-bike followed by a run-bike-swim before a deciding bike-swim-run.
The 50m Olympic pool swim legs were 200m, the Tacx turbo/Zwift bike legs were 3km and the run was 1km, the latter on the unique curved treadmill.
Formidable British tri swimmer Sophie Coldwell was straight to the front in the 50m pool of the Zwemcentrum. The 26-year-old held that advantage for the rest of the 200m swim and was first out of the water before transitioning well to the run leg, just ahead of Beth Potter and Maya Kingma.
Onto the 1km run and the merging of the real world and the virtual environment of Zwift began. Coldwell lead Potter at the 500m mark, but Potter would soon move into the lead after the halfway stage. The Brit duo would duke it out for the next 400m and as the rest of the field disappeared into their rear-view mirrors, with Dutch athlete Rani Skrabanja the closest rival some 15secs behind.
Onto the bike and it was Potter, the London Arena Games champ, who’d take control. The 29-year-old instantly created 5secs of daylight between herself and Coldwell, with the rest of the field 20secs or more behind, including home favourite and strong Super League contender Rachel Klamer some 25secs in arrears. By the end of the 300m bike, Potter had scooped the full 10 points, 10secs ahead of Coldwell and 20secs in front of Kingma.
Stage 2 began in a similar vein to Stage 1, with Coldwell and Potter pushing the power at the front of the 1km run. And yet it would be Coldwell who’d control the tempo at the front and exit the curved treadmill in pole position, nearly 3secs ahead of Potter and Spain’s Anna Godoy.
By the halfway stage of the bike, Godoy, Coldwell and Potter were in the leading train of athletes, 10secs ahead of the chasing pack and utilising the advantage that drafting can provide on Zwift. Onto the gruelling cobbled section to finish the bike, and Godoy would lead the charge into T2.
Godoy was first into the water ahead of Potter, but Coldwell had already surged ahead at the 50m mark of the 200m swim. That lead had been extended with 50m to go and Coldwell would claim the Stage 2 win ahead of Potter and Godoy. The battle was on for Rotterdamglory in Stage 3.
Stage 3 kicked off with everything to play for on the 3km bike. Tactics came into play as the 10 athletes rode in a pack around the Zwift criterium course, with a Potter breakaway quickly shut down by Godoy at the 1.3km mark. That pack would stay as one into Transition1, with Kingma marginally leading the field.
After a crucial T1 where Potter went from tenth to first, Coldwell’s swim efficiency would soon come into play, with the Brit leading the field into T2 by 2secs ahead of the chasing trio of Kingma, Godoy and Potter.
Into the decisive run and Coldwell had instantly created a 5sec advantage over Potter and Kingma, running at a 17km/h pace. That daylight was still at 5secs by the 500m-to-go mark and never looked like being overcome, with Coldwell breaking the virtual tape with a 6.8sec advantage over Potter and the Arena Games title in the bag. Potter would take second overall and Godoy would scoop third in Stage 3 to secure bronze overall.
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