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With all four of the Team Great Britain athletes placing on the podium in yesterday’s ITU WTS Hamburg race, the two-time defending champions were the heavy favorites heading into today’s ITU Team Triathlon World Championships, but it was not meant to be. Great Britain’s Non Stanford crashed while leading the third relay bike portion, leaving the race wide open. Ultimately it was Team Germany’s Anja Knapp, Jan Frodeno, Anne Haug and Franz who took home the gold.
Each team was made up of two female athletes and two male, with each individual completing a super-sprint triathlon before tagging his/her teammate to start the next leg. In Hamburg, the course was made up of a 300m swim, 6.6km bike and a 1.6km run.
American Sarah Groff led the women through the first super-sprint distance race from the swim all the way to the first hand off. She passed off to her teammate, up-and-comer, Ben Kanute. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) was right on Groff’s shoulder coming into the relay handoff, putting Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee in a prime position. Kanute maintained the American lead through the swim and then hung on the wheel of Alistair Brownlee through the bike portion. At this point only the U.S., team New Zealand, Team Australia and Team Switzerland were within striking distance of the powerhouse British team.
Once the front group started the run, Alistair Brownlee went to work out front. He tagged off Stanford with a 17-second lead to work with. Next into the third race were Team Australia (Ashleigh Gentle), Team New Zealand and then Team United States (Gwen Jorgensen). Team Germany was back a bit in fifth coming into the third T1, but as the strongest cyclist Anne Haug was quickly able to make up some of that time.
This is when the race was blown apart. Stanford crashed up front on her own, taking the heavy favorites out of contention. This put New Zealand, Germany, the United States, Australia, Italy and France onto the third run in a front group. Jorgensen immediately ran her way to the lead and worked to give her teammate Cameron Dye as big of a gap as possible. In the end, Dye, a swim and bike specialist, had a 10-second lead to start the fourth leg. He built that lead to 19 seconds on the swim to start the bike.
Dye wasn’t able to hold onto the gap on the bike ride and was caught by New Zealand’s Ryan Sissons and Germany’s Franz Loeschke by T2. Loeschke thrived on the noise of the home crowd and ran away with the race. He crossed the finish line to the delight of the thousands of supporters on hand and his three teammates. Sissons ran it in for silver, with Dye holding onto the bronze for the United States.
ITU Mixed Relay Team World Championships
Hamburg, Germany – July 21, 2013
4x (300m swim, 6.6km bike, 1.6km run)
1. Team Germany
2. Team New Zealand
3. Team United States
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