If the Arena Games format of triathlon is unpredictable, then clearly nobody had told Germany’s Justus Nieschlag. Three times he has raced before today, with a record of 1st, 2nd, 3rd. He really is the podium king.
That sort of consistency doesn’t happen by accident and his victory today at the Arena Games Triathlon Series powered by Zwift London, was a richly deserved one. Using his cycling strength, he took control on Stage 2 of the final, and never looked like losing it.
Stage 1: Yee takes a narrow lead
The ‘Best Breakthrough Act’ from Munich where he finished second overall, Max Stapley (AUS) lead the way through the opening 200m swim in Stage 1, a regular swim/bike/run. Unofficially, we recorded him at around 2:03, with Alex Yee a little further back, but still dipping under 2:10 on our clock. He was going to be right in the mix from the start.
Impressive in the heats, Nicolo Strada (ITA) was showing no fear in the finals, inspired perhaps by the youthful success of Stapley in Germany. Hitting the front on the bike, he had a clear lead of around seven seconds as head made the transition. Behind, Alex Yee, Justus Nieschlag (GER) and Takomi Hojo (JPN) set off in (virtual) chase.
We know Yee can run, but seemingly motivated by his underperformance in Munich, he was absolutely flying on the treadmill, well over 21 km/h and intent on making the most advantage of his incredible run skills. A 2:36 run took Yee to the front, with Nieschlag (third in Munich), still only three seconds behind.
Stage 2: Justus (bike) powers back into contention
Nieschlag has plenty of experience and success in Arena Games events, and will the reverse order Stage 2 started with a run, he wasn’t going to let the fleet feet of Yee simply run away with it.
Always impressive on the bike, Justus went all-in on the run and then upped the tempo on the bike, using the non-drafting setting to his advantage with some huge watts/kg figures. With a deficit to make up from Stage 1, the German was intent on spoiling the homecoming party of local hero Yee, and built a lead of 10 seconds on the bike.
Typically quicker in the water than the Brit, was Nieschlag setting himself up for a race winning advantage ahead of the pursuit-style start of the third and final stage? When the scores were added up, he would start Stage 3 with a lead of 16 seconds. That was going to require something extraordinary (and unlikely) from the ‘Yee Boy’ to overturn that deficit, given the form the German was showing.
Behind the leading duo, third place was up for grabs with Strada, Stapley, Heuber and Henseleit all just seconds apart in positions three to six.
Stage 3: Nieschlag brings it home in style
A strong swim to start the final race of the day from Nieschlag only extended his advantage over Yee, and when the lead expanded further to approaching 30 seconds during the bike leg, there was going to be no fairy tale win for Alex in London today, despite the best efforts of the large, partisan crowd.
With a big lead, Nieschlag had the race in his pocket with just 1km to go and Yee – clear of the battle for third place – knew that second place was assured, with the win now out of the question. Even a miracle run now wasn’t going to cut the mustard.
The London title duly went to the impressive German, Justus Nieschlag, who continues to prove that he is one of the most consistent races in the Arena Games Triathlon format. Winner of the inaugural event in Rotterdam (2020) second in London (2021), third in Munich (2022) and now topping the podium in London. Four podiums from four starts.
He will be a serious contender for the eSports World Championship title in Singapore, two weeks from now.
Arena Games London 2022 Results
Final, Men: Saturday April 23, 2022
- 1. Justus Nieschlag (GER)
- 2. Alex Yee (GBR) +0:29.3
- 3. Nicolo Strada (ITA) +0:53.2
- 4. Maxime Hueber-Moosbrugger (FRA) +1:01
- 5. Simon Henseleit (GER) +1:09
- 6. Max Stapley (AUS) +1:13
- 7. Takumi Hojo (JPN) +1:25
- 8. Jeremy Briand (CAN) +1:38
- 9. Gordon Benson (GBR) +2:06
- 10. Harry Leleu (GBR) +2:24