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Who could become the supertri E World Champion this weekend? Tim Don and TRI247 make their predictions

There's a title on the line, and plenty of podium favourites and stars in the making ready to grab it with both hands. But who will come out on top at the supertri E in London this weekend? Triathlon legend Tim Don and TRI247's John Levison give us their pre-race predictions.

Writer & Long Course Triathlete
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With the supertri E World Championship powered by Zwift just days away, the countdown begins as we wait to see who will be crowned this year’s world champion in London.

The fast and furious race format which blends real life racing with virtual E sports is no stranger to drama. From blisteringly quick run battles to unorthodox swim stroke choices, the world of triathlon E racing is one where anything can happen. With some super strong up-and-comers due to toe the start line along with some of the world’s top short course athletes, it’s hard to predict just what might go down at the Olympic Park in London this Saturday.

Nevertheless, we’ve been talking to triathlon legend Tim Don and our very own triathlon knowledge guru, John Levison, to get some insight on who might be in contention for that all-important world title.

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Women’s race: the top contenders

In the women’s race, both Tim and John agree we’re in for a showdown between Cassandre Beaugrand and Beth Potter – a familiar sight from the last few years of supertri’s indoor racing format. “For the women, you can’t look past Beth and Cass” says Don.

Levison echoes that thought: “Surely it’s Potter vs Beaugrand for the top spot. The first of likely a small number of match ups before they meet in Paris.”

Arena Games Triathlon London 2023 - Beth Potter, Cassandre Beagrand, Sophie Linn
Photo Credit: Super League Triathlon

But who will take the top step? For John, the money’s on Potter. “The UK is ‘home’ now for Cassandre, and her recent record of success here is exceptional. But I still think it will be a silver lining for the French star. Potter is among the most experienced and consistently successful indoor racers, and was dominant last year. Her transitions are typically exceptional, and her year-on-year development as an athlete – even in a first hit of the season – will see her wanting to make an early mark, even though there are bigger battles to follow.”

Podium challengers and the ones to watch

The Beaugrand vs. Potter battle aside – who else is in with a shot of making the podium? Katie Zaferes and Vicky Holland are both taking on the supertri E format for the first time, but these are certainly no rookies. “Could this be third time lucky for Vicky Holland?”, John wonders. “Sickness in Hong Kong where she finished in 11th place, followed by that DQ in Lieven have left her needing a reset. Success at supertri E London could be just the tonic she needs.

“Holland is joined in experience by the likes of Zaferes – but both will certainly be challenged by the Hungarian phenom, 16 year old Fanni Szalai. She recently continued her domination of European Junior racing in Quarteira, stepping up to Sprint distance in style. With previous Arena Games (podium) experience and another year older – I make her a very realistic podium contender.”

Szalai also features in Tim Don’s list of potential challengers for the podium, alongside Lena Meißner, Nora Gmür, Vicky Holland and Katie Zaferes. “These women are so good, if they have a good day they could really challenge Beth and Cassandre.”

Men’s race: favourites for the win

Unlike the women’s race, which seems to have at least gold and silver locked in for some configuration of Potter and Beaugrand, both John and Tim think the men’s race is much more open.

“A lot of men will start on Saturday thinking they can win!” says John. “U23 World Champ Simon Henseleit wears #1, Chase McQueen has won previously in Montreal. But I don’t think there is a clear favourite. That will likely make qualification through the heats tough. That in turn could lead to some surprises, but also make recovery for the final key.”

Chase McQueen Arena Games Triathlon London 2023
Photo Credit: @That Cameraman

For Don it’s “an open book” with Chase McQueen, Hugo Milner and Max Stapley among the names in with a shot. “There’s so much to play for, so it will be close racing. You might be looking at just a handful of seconds separating the top five in the final. It’ll all be about measured effort and saving something for that pursuit stage.”

Could vying for the attention of Olympic selectors see the Brits take the pace out hot?

We’ve mentioned that the supertri E is one of our first opportunities this year to see the likes of Paris qualified athletes Beaugrand and Potter go head to head on the road to Paris. But don’t forget, there are still athletes vying for their place at the 2024 Olympics.

In the absence of triple Olympic medallist, Jonny Brownlee, there’s a whole host of potential young challengers who will be keen to display their Mixed Team Relay potential.

“I expect strong racing from the Brits here. That second Olympic men’s spot behind Alex Yee is still up for grabs, and British Triathlon will surely have their eyes on who could perform well in the team relay,” John suggests. “If you’re Sam Dickinson, Max Stapley, Hugo Milner, Jack Willis et al., and you’ve got a chance to display your short distance skills – you are going to try and take it.”

Tim Don also has his eye on Stapley as someone who could push the pace. “I think Max will take the men’s race out hard. Hugo could surprise us all with this pool swim, and if that happens we know he is the quickest runner in the sport this year.”

“Marcus Dey is also a powerhouse of a swimmer. He’s so strong on the bike, so will also be out front pushing hard. They all could surprise us.”

Don on what it will take to seize the victory

Having raced this format himself back in 2021, Tim Don is no stranger to the full gas effort the supertri E will entail. So for those would-be podium contenders – how do they need to play it to be in with a shot?

“For the men, it’s going to take a top three swim, bike and run split. Consistency across the board and not losing too much time in the first two races will be key, so they’re in striking distance for the pursuit start in the final race.”

Beth Potter Arena Games London 2023
Getting out of the water ahead of Beth Potter could be the key to winning the women’s race, says Tim Don. [Photo @That Cameraman]

“In the women’s race, it’s either going to come down to out-swimming Beth and running really well. Or having a stellar bike leg to get a buffer over Cassandre and Beth.”

“I would love to see Fanni on the podium, but Vicky Holland and Katie Zaferes have a lot riding on the race as well, so it will be close.”

A record breaking year for supertri E?

We recently spoke to supertri’s data guru, Graeme Acheson, to get an idea of how fast these athletes have to go to be in contention. With the bar in triathlon, across all distances of racing, constantly being raised. We asked Tim if this year’s supertri E could see some of those previous course records tumble.

“I think the men are really knocking on that sub-2 minute barrier in the swim. Chase and Max will have their eye on that, and it will also put the pressure on the rest of the field from the start.”

“I can see Beth and Cassandre running quicker than ever before. 2023 was a massive confidence year for both of them, going 1-2 at the Olympic test event, and in the World Championships.”

Popcorn at the ready then, and all eyes on London to see how the story unfolds as these short course stars battle it out to take home the World Championship title.

Jenny Lucas-Hill
Written by
Jenny Lucas-Hill
Jenny Lucas-Hill is a writer, content creator and communications professional. A long-distance triathlon enthusiast, she has three full Iron-distance finishes to date & also loves watching the sport.

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