Beth Potter (GBR) convincingly beat Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) and was in a different class to the rest of the field as she won the Arena Games Triathlon in London by almost twenty seconds.
Australian Sophie Linn, chased the leading pair throughout, and was rewarded for her efforts with the Esports World Championship title, as she took the crown from Potter and held of a strong challenge from Dutch athlete Rani Skrabanja and American Gina Sereno.
Potter, who has won four out of six races at the Arena Games in her career, looks to be the in-form athlete on the world triathlon stage at the moment and will be the firm favourite to win her second consecutive WTCS race in Cagliari at the end of May.
[Click here to read how the men’s race unfolded as Nicolo Strada took the race win and Henri Schoeman the Esports World Championship title]
Stage 1: Potter sets the tone early on
(Format – 200m swim / 4km bike / 1km run)
Beaugrand showed her pedigree in the water by swimming an incredible 2:11 200m to really set the tone for the final as she came on to the bike with close to a four second gap over Olivia Mathias (GBR) and Zsanett Bragmayer (HUN).
Out into the world of Zwift on the bike, Montreal winner Sereno was over ten seconds back, as Potter made her way back up to the front three over the course of the 4km bike. Aussies Linn and Emma Jackson also worked hard on the bike to put themselves in a good position out on the run.
Potter was quickest off the mark as she got on to the treadmill, setting a rapid pace to gap Beaugrand and open up some big buffers on the rest of the field. By the end of the 1km run, the WTCS leader put close to ten seconds into Beaugrand and over 15 seconds into the rest of the field.
World Championship favourite Bragmayer, unfortunately, lost almost 35 seconds on the first stage, leaving the Hungarian, who won in Sursee, with a mountain to climb over the second and third stages.
Stage 2: Beaugrand responds but Potter stays strong
(Format – 1km run / 4km bike / 200m swim)
Back on to the treadmill, Beaugrand sprinted out the gates after an uncharacteristic run in the first stage. The French Olympic hopeful, who will be one of the home nations main medal hopes in Paris 2024, went 2:50 for the 1km leg to gap Potter heading on to the bike.
Potter, however, showed once again just how important transitions are in Arena Games racing, as she hopped on to the bike behind Beaugrand but quickly made her way back up to within two seconds of the Frenchwoman.
Behind, Sereno chased hard to get up to third, only to find out she had a penalty to serve which at this stage of the competition is incredibly costly. The NASA employee, after leaving her shoes outside the box, served a five second penalty between the bike and the swim leg.
Into the pool, Beaugrand had a second over Potter, but the Brit again made up that time in transition, meaning the two favourites entered the water together. As hard as Beaugrand tried, she couldn’t shake Potter in the pool, as the 2016 Rio Olympics runner held strong to keep the gap at just two seconds.
Heading into the last stage then, Potter held a slim advantage over Beaugrand, with Australian Linn setting herself up perfectly to take the world title sitting just 30 seconds behind Potter and eight seconds ahead of her nearest rival for the overall title.
Stage 3: Potter dominant at the front
(Format – 200m swim / 4km bike / 1km run – Pursuit start based on aggregate Stage 1 plus Stage 2)
With a seven second advantage, defending champion Potter took out the swim hard as she tried to stay ahead of the fast swimming Beaugrand. Linn, with the knowledge that a world championship title was within her grasp, covered the 200m swim sensibly, knowing the biggest threat to her championship win came from behind.
On to the bike, Potter looked fresh and primed for a hard bike-run, whilst Beaugrand seemingly struggled with the accumulated fatigue of the first two stages. Linn, who kept the gap at 30 seconds to the front, crucially came into the world of Zwift with a twelve second advantage over nearest world title rival Skrabanja.
As they neared the end of the bike, Potter had opened up almost ten seconds over Beaugrand, with Linn closing the gap to the Frenchwoman with a fantastic effort on the bike. As the athletes entered the crux of the race, Skrabanja and Mathias moved through the fields as the pair solidified their world championship podium hopes.
With almost a ten second lead over Beaugrand, Potter looked poised to take the win on the run, as she flawlessly executed her transition once again. Linn looked strong in third, a significant distance behind the first two but with a little breathing space to Skrabanja.
In the end, Potter beat Beaugrand by close to twenty seconds, with Linn rounding out the podium. Behind, Sereno made up for her costly mistake by running her way into sixth as she secured second behind Linn in the overall world championship standings.
Potter, who throughout showed her class by nailing all very aspect of the race, was modest in victory, as she praised the great support in London and shared her happiness to finally take down Beaugrand over this format.
“I’ve actually never beaten Cassandre at this, so that’s the biggest win for me. I really pushed the end there, she’s incredible at swimming and running and knew it would be tight, but just kept pushing.”
Arena Games Triathlon London 2023 Results
Final – Elite Women: Sunday April 8, 2023
- 1. Beth Potter (GBR) – 36:17
- 2. Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) – 36:39
- 3. Sophie Linn (AUS) – 36:59
- 4. Rani Skrabanja (NED) – 37:17
- 5. Emma Jackson (AUS) – 37:26
- 6. Gina Sereno (USA) – 37:28
- 7. Olivia Mathias (GBR) – 37:28
- 8. Fanni Szalai (HUN) – 37:40
- 9. Petra Kurikova (CZE) – 38:09
- 10. Zsanett Bragmayer (HUN) – 38:59
Esports World Championship Overall Standings
- 1. Sophie Linn (AUS) – 659 points.
- 2. Gina Sereno (USA) – 589 points.
- 3. Rani Skrabanja (NED) – 579 points.