Gina Sereno and Chase McQueen surged to victory at the Arena Games powered by Zwift in Montreal while Canada’s triathlon legend Lionel Sanders proved he could mix it in the fast paced world of short-course triathlon.
Sereno, who combines triathlon with working at NASA, was dominant throughout, winning all three stages of the indoor event in the Parc Olympique in central Montreal to beat Australia’s Sophie Linn and Canada’s home favourite Dominika Jamnicky to claim her first Arena Games title.
“It was a really gruelling race but having so many people in the crowd behind us cheering was awesome,” said the American, who is based in the triathlon hotspot of Boulder, Colorado. “Having Sophie Linn in the race really pushed me as I’m used to competing with her. I’m so stoked to have won here. It’s really special.”
McQueen’s win in the men’s event was a closer-run contest, with the revitalised Olympic medallist Henri Schoeman (RSA) pushing the American all the way before finishing second. Great Britain’s Jack Stanton-Stock, 20, also won the day’s first stage before claiming third overall, while Lionel Sanders produced some of the most memorable cycling that the Arena Games has ever witnessed.
“The Arena Games is so hard and brings the best out of everybody. It challenges you in ways that other triathlons don’t. But the camaraderie and atmosphere in here are just amazing,” said McQueen at the finish. “Even if I hadn’t taken the win, I would’ve been so grateful that Gina (Sereno) came first. She’s so talented and works so hard. To do this together is a dream.”
True to form, Lionel Sanders, one of triathlon’s biggest and most beloved personalities, brought huge entertainment value with him on his debut short-course and Super League experience. A man used to racing 90km and 180km bike legs managed to produce a course record 4km bike leg of 5:06mins in one of Super League’s truly great moments. Sanders would finish sixth overall, just 38secs behind McQueen in first.
“That was a lot of fun and these athletes showed me what real top-end speed looks like,” said the 34-year-old Sanders at the finish. “But I transcended all of my pre-race goals. I didn’t know if I’d be invited back so I figured I’d soak all of this in every way I could. You have to evolve and that’s why I’m here. Super League was grander than I imagined, but I’d love to do our own walk-out song next time!”
The Canadian city of Montreal was making its Super League Triathlon debut for the opening leg of the three-date 2023 Arena Games Triathlon World Championship Series, with the Parc Olympique one of the venues used when the city hosted the summer Olympic Games in 1976.
Today’s action saw a mass start 200m pool swim, before a 4km Zwift bike leg and a 1km run on an elliptical running machine. Stage 2 would reverse that order, beginning with a 1km mass start run before a 4km bike and a 200m swim. The concluding Stage 3 would open with a Pursuit Start 200m swim, before the 4km bike leg and final 1km run to crown the overall winner.
The Arena Games 2023 series continues in Sursee, Switzerland on March 12 and London, England, on April 8.