14 Apr 2022
6 min read
Announcements ○ Arena Games ○ Athletes ○ Races
Arena Games Triathlon powered by Zwift made a triumphant return as the first ever esports Triathlon World Championship Series kicked-off in Munich.
There were dominant wins, shock victories, and surprise struggles as the athletes started their bids to win the inaugural titles.
The Garmin ecosystem played a vital role in not only supporting the event via the Index S2 Smart Scale, Tacx NEO 2T and HRM-Pro, but also produced some fascinating data to give a glimpse into the performances of the star athletes.
Super League’s data guru, Graeme Acheson, the man behind the Stats Hub, has crunched the numbers to highlight where the races were won and lost, and some of the most remarkable performances of the day.
Beth Potter was untouchable. I don’t think we’ve ever had such a dominant performance.
Out of the 15 available sections in the final (swim, T1, bike, T2 and run – all x3) she was fastest in 10 of them.
Out of the 9 ‘athletic’ disciplines (swim, bike, run – x3) she was fastest in 7 of them. And, in the others, she was only behind by a second or two.
She was fastest by almost a full 30 seconds in each race with a combined athletic time 82 seconds faster than Lena Meissner who was second over all.
She was also fastest through transition. She had the 3 highest power outputs across the whole final. She had the 3 fastest run splits across the whole final. I could go on and on.
Out of the list of heart rate data, supplied by Garmin, she had nearly the lowest measurements. So, it looks like she did all this without even trying that hard!
Meissner was the best of the rest, finishing nearly 20 seconds up on Anabel Knoll in 3rd place. Both German, and both making their debut at Arena Games Triathlon Powered by Zwift, they performed well in the final, finishing well ahead of the experienced Anna Godoy and Ilaria Zane who finished 4th and 5th. They just stayed ahead of the fast closing American Gina Sereno on the final run.
Sereno left it just too late, finishing the final run in 3:19 to Godoy and Zane’s 3:39s, and just missing her chance to finish higher up the roster. Sereno’s transitions were actually the worst of the day, a full 40 seconds down on Potter’s.
Zsanett Bragmayer was perhaps a little disappointing in the final, after winning her heat (following Kurikova’s disqualification) but fading in the final. It could be that the heat format at Arena Games Triathlon Powered by Zwift took its toll and she just had nothing left in the tank.
Beth had the fastest combined transition time, although they were a lot more even across the board here, with the top 3 all within 4 seconds. The importance of transition in the Arena Games format, is clearly being learned.
Fastest swim of the day was Zsannett Bragmayer – 2:17 – in the second heat, although Godoy swam a 2:18 in the final and Potter, De Konig and a few others swam 2:19.
2:12, by Jess Learmonth and Lucy Charles – Barclay jointly, remains the Arena Games record.
The highest bike power of the day was Petra Kurikova at 4.8 w/kg in heat 2, with Beth Potter leading the charge in the final with 4.6, 4.6 and 4.5.
However, this remains some way off the 5.2w/kg record set by Jess Learmonth in Rotterdam back in ‘20.
3:06 was the fastest run of the day, set by Beth Potter. The next fastest run time was 3:14 by Lena Meissner, nearly 10 seconds back, in the same race.
3:06 by Sophie Coldwell was previously the fastest Arena Games run time, and Beth matched that in the second run of the final. However Coldwell ran 3:11 and 3:12 in the other runs in that event (Rotterdam 21), and Beth ran 3:07 and 3:09 in Munich, recording the fastest average run splits we’ve seen in this race format.
The men’s race was super tight, with the top 5 finishing within 14 seconds of each other. Aurelien Raphael took the win in the end, but it was close throughout. It’s tough to say exactly where he won it, but I’ll have a go …
Firstly he had the fastest athletic times of the day, more than 6 seconds up on Max Stapley in 2nd. Justus Nieschlag had the fastest transition of the day, 7 seconds faster than the best of the rest but he didn’t have the firepower to match Raphael, and was more than 18 seconds back ‘athletically’.
Although he improved his time in transitions on his previous races, he actually still wasn’t that good. He was middle of the pack and 12 seconds down on Nieschlag. However this was vastly improved on his Rotterdam race where he lost close to 20 seconds on Alex Yee and Marten Van Riel.
Thirdly, his likely closest challengers, Yee and Van Riel, both had issues at some point. Yee lost out by being fractionally behind on the swim in stage 1. He was just 2 seconds down on the swim – after swimming a 2:11 – but that’s all the margin that is required to lose a bike pack, especially against the swim calibre in this final. Yee was 15 seconds down after the bike, and that effectively ended his challenge for the title.
Van Riel made a minor mistake jumping on his bike in stage 2, and also missed the bike pack by a similar margin – just a second or two – and couldn’t make it up. That was game over for him.
And finally, Raphael was nearly the most efficient biker in the pack. Whilst the top power outputs in the bike field topped 5 w/kg and most were averaging 4.6 or above, Raphael’s power output was 4.1, 4.1 and 3.9. He was one of the heaviest in the field, and so this is likely to be lower, but this still shows very tactical and astute racing. Gordon Benson was also notable in this respect, recording the highest efficiency in the field.
The men generally were very, very close. 5 took to the treadmills on the final run within a second of each other and had the chance to win. Yee and Van Riel lost out with the tiniest of mistakes, and Benson had a bad swim (4 seconds down…) in stage 2 where he lost time.
A few small things either way and any one of 5 athletes could potentially have won the race. Raphael’s race craft, tactics, consistency across the board and perhaps a little luck, won him the day.
Nieschlag was by far and away the fastest through transition. Again the men were fairly similar, with 2-7 within 8 seconds of each other, but Nieschlag was 7 seconds up on 2nd place.
Fastest swim of the day was 2:02 by Max Stapley in heat 1. However the swim times across the board were very fast, with nearly all the men swimming within about 7 seconds of each other in the final in all 3 swims.
Stapley’s 2:02 matches Raphaels 2:02 set in Rotterdam ‘21. Somebody, sometime, will go sub 2!
Alex Yee set the highest power of the day with 5.6w/kg in stage 1 when he was trying to make the bike pack and limit his losses. Chase McQueen and Justus Nieschlag consistently recorded the highest power across all 3 stages.
Arguably however, it’s the lowest w/kg that may be the noteworthy thing here, with Benson and the winner Raphael setting the lowest w/kg in the field, as mentioned above.
Alex Yee’s 2:41 in the last run in the final was the fastest run of the day, which broke his own record of 2:42 set in Rotterdam last year.
Again however, all the men were very even across the board here with all setting times within 10 seconds of each other on the runs. Fine margins.
For a full break down of all the splits and stats from Arena Games Triathlon Powered by Zwift Munich, visit Stats Hub.
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