It was to be a day for the ages for Australia’s Sophie Linn as she secured the Arena Games Triathlon Series powered by Zwift world title after a flying finish to a hard-fought final on Saturday evening at London Aquatics Arena.
Roared on by the crowds, Beth Potter may have pulled clear of Cassandre Beaugrand to claim the gold, but from the moment Gina Sereno had to serve a five-second penalty heading in the final stage, the world title door suddenly looked open, and Linn was able to take full advantage.
That also allowed the Netherland’s Rani Skrabanja to finish a surprise second in the overall standings, Sereno finishing third thanks to her Montreal win.
Beaugrand off to flyer
It was Beaugrand who blew apart the field early on with a 2m10s time on the first 200m swim of the three ahead, only for Britain’s Olivia Mathias to pull alongside on the bike. With Zsanett Bragmayer also close to hand, it was suddenly Potter bursting through to the front, putting in 10 seconds to Beaugrand and Mathias, title-challenger Sereno already finding herself 10 seconds off the pace.
The first run belonged to Potter, another title hopeful Bragmayer falling back, Beaugrand finishing 10 seconds back, Skrabanja 14 and Linn 19 seconds off the front, Mathias and Bragmayer looking out of the hunt.
Potter takes control
It was run-bike-swim for Stage Two, Potter, Beaugrand and Sophie Linn the fastest through the Zwift Crit City 1km opener before hitting the bikes, Sereno hanging tough 10 seconds off the front.
Back in the water, though, it was another masterclass from Beaugrand to take to the front, Potter impressively sticking to the task to finish a stroke behind and ensure a very useful 7-second lead from the pursuit-start Stage Three.
Linn digs in for the win
Sophie Linn dived in 30 seconds off the front, Rani Skrabanja 8 seconds off the Australian, Sereno now a minute back and needing a miracle.
As it came to pass, Potter was slick through the first transition once again and then extended her lead further with a brilliant bike segment to put enough daylight to start the 1km run with gold in her grasp.
It was the fourth Arena Games win for potter but the first time she had beaten the French star in the format, adding to the satisfaction of the 20-second win margin. A further 20 seconds back, Linn was cruising, safe from the marauding Skrabanja, Emma Jackson with fifth.
“That feels really good. It’s next level racing,” said a thrilled Sophie Linn. “You have to make peace with the fact youre going to be in a lot of pain.”
“That was very hard, thanks to everyone cheering me on it really helped get me over the line,” added Beth Potter. “I do this a lot in my training programme but I’ve actually never beaten Cassandre so that’s a big win for me and I held tight.”
For the full results, click here.