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In June, the ITU announced triathlon mixed relays will officially be a part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This past weekend’s mixed relay World Champs in Hamburg gave tri-fans a taste of what’s to come when the event gets its Olympic debut in three years: fast, exciting, heart pounding competition. Just like we like it. Check out the photos and read the race recap from ITU below.
(Quick reminder: In mixed relays, teams of two men and two women completing each a short-course triathlon (300m swim, 8km bike, 2km run) before tagging off to their teammate to take over.)
Sunday’s Race Rundown:
In a fight to finish line, USA scored the silver medal, while the Netherlands crossed over for the bronze.
“I feel like there is a lot more pressure on you when you race because you aren’t just racing for yourself,” McShane said. “You are racing for your whole team, but it is definitely so much fun to be able to come out here and win together.”
It was anyone’s title after the first leg of the relay, which saw Spain, USA, Belgium and Yuka Sato of Japan neck and neck as they tagged off to their teammates.
As the first group of men took off, it was the bike leg that ended up being the crucial part of the story as Ben Kanute (USA) and Dorian Coninx (FRA) took off together as a breakaway pair. Upon entering the run they had a healthy lead of 11 seconds that they passed on to the second group of women.
While France looked to be a top contender for a medal in the third heat of the race, a penalty inside the second transition took them out of the running.
A swift solo ride and run from Katie Zaferes put USA ahead of the bunch and looking confident going into the final tag off. However it was the competitive spirit of Joanna Brown (CAN), Rachel Klamer (NED), Gentle and Lucy Hall (GBR) that made sure that the final leg of the race would not be an easy one.
While at first a breakaway from Matt Mcelroy (USA) and Alexis Lepage (CAN) made it seem that the gold and silver were guaranteed for the two nations, Lepage suffered a slip on the bike that caused Canada to be caught by the fiery chase.
Hard pushes from the Aussies, Brits, and Dutch meant that the final transition would bring five nations together to compete for only three medals.
Mimicking the individual men’s race from the day before, Birtwhistle gunned it in the final meter to bypass the field and snag the finish line to be welcomed by his teammates as the Aussie nation collected the World Title for the very first time.
It was the USA who finished next to take the silver.
“This is my favorite race every year, I love it, I get pumped up for it. It seems that each year I need a little bit of redemption from the year before, but you aren’t just racing for yourself, you are racing for your teammates and I think everyone on our team stepped up today,” said Kanute.
The Dutch finished off the podium as the young Jorik Van Egdom closed it down and gave the Holland nation a first-time relay medal.