Great Britain complete Mixed Relay hat-trick in Hamburg

Great Britain complete Mixed Relay hat-trick in Hamburg

By Merryn Sherwood on 13/07/14 at 1:11 pm

Team Great Britain asserted themselves as the most successful in Mixed Relay history in Hamburg on Saturday, collecting their third World Championship title on the back of two stellar performances...

Team Great Britain asserted themselves as the most successful in Mixed Relay history in Hamburg on Saturday, collecting their third World Championship title on the back of two stellar performances from the Brownlee brothers.

It means that Great Britain have won half the Mixed Relay world titles on offer so far, after the sixth world championship in the format. In Germany on Saturday, it was a brilliant second leg from Jonathan Brownlee to pull himself back up to the leaders on the bike and then surge on the run to put Vicky Holland into the lead, that helped set-up the final leg, when Alistair Brownlee outsprinted Vincent Luis for the second day in a row. While on Saturday it was to claim his 16th career WTS win, on Sunday Brownlee anchored home a brilliant team effort for Britain to claim gold ahead of the youthful French team.

“It was a great team performance, but Jonny to be honest had the stand-out leg today, that was absolutely phenomenal to get back that deficit, but everybody did great and we are really happy to win it again after last year,” Alistair Brownlee said.

The young French team, containing Audrey Merle and Cassandre Beaugrand, the silver and bronze medallists at the 2014 European Championships and 2013 ITU Junior Men’s World Champion Dorian Coninx, provided a perfect platform for Vincent Luis to anchor home the final run and collect the silver medal.

Behind them, the Hungarian team of Zsofia Kovacs, Tamas Toth, Margit Vanek and Akos Vanek all put in excellent all-round performances to claim a bronze medal. It was Hungary’s first medal at a Mixed Relay World Championships, becoming just the ninth team to reach the podium.

Under grey cloudy skies in Hamburg, the first wave of 2014 failed to split the field much. Lucy Hall, Claudia Rivas and Carolina Routier put Great Britain, Mexico and Spain in the front after the 300m swim, but they didn’t get away on the tight 6.6km bike and 16 of the teams entered T2 together. Hall’s transition was slowed slightly when she caught her shin on her wayward wheel, just enough that she missed the main group, and it allowed Germany, Hungary, Japan and the USA to take the lead through Robisch, Kovacs, Sato and Kaitlin Donner (USA) with Australia’s Charlotte McShane, Italy’s Annamaria Mazzetti and France’s Beaugrand not far behind.

That order played across to the next mens wave, and a group of seven went off the front, notably leaving Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee and Spain’s Javier Gomez Noya off the back. But an impressive solo effort saw Brownlee catch the leaders on the second of the two bike laps, putting great Britain right back into contention. Gomez struggled to make up ground while time trialling solo compared to the powerful lead group, which was led by Australia’s Aaron Royle, France’s Dorian Coninx and Italy’s Alessandro Fabian.

But perhaps the most race defining moment came next, when Brownlee surged ahead of the men’s run field across the two-lap 1.6km dash. He handed over a 10 second lead to Holland who parlayed that into a lead that she held through the first lap of the bike.

Behind Holland, a group of five formed a chase pack, including Australia’s Emma Jackson, Italy’s Mazzetti, Hungary’s Margit Vanek, France’s Audrey Merle and Germany’s Anja Knapp. The USA’s Gwen Jorgensen just missed that pack and instead found herself falling back, working in a group with Japan’s Ai Ueda and the Netherlands Maaike Caelers.

Just before T2 in the third leg, Holland came back into the group, and as Knapp fell off the pace, it became a five woman sprint to the handover. Australia’s Emma Jackson just won out to put Dan Wilson into the water first, but he was quickly followed by Luis, Brownlee, Vanek and Italy’s Davide Uccellari. It didn’t take long though for Brownlee and Luis to ride to the front to make it a two-nation battle for the 2013 title.

Luis had the edge at the start of the run, but Brownlee repeated his performance from Saturday - aiming to finish Luis early on rather than wait for a sprint.

This year marked the sixth edition of the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships. Switzerland won the first two editions in 2009 and 2010, before Great Britain triumphed in 2011 and 2012. At home in Hamburg last year, Germany took the title.

The format makes its debut at the Commonwealth Games in two weeks.

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Find more details about this event - 2014 Hamburg ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships