By Doug Gray on 25/10/18 at 1:59 pm
The first-ever series of the WTS Mixed Relay Series took place across three World Series weekends in 2018, making a splash in Nottingham before moving on to Hamburg and wrapping up in Edmonton, whetting appetites for ITU’s newest Olympic medal event.
It was Team USA who dominated the opening event in Nottingham from the outset, Kirsten Kasper taking control on the first leg before Cassandre Beaugrand and Pierre le Corre conspired to haul France into contention, only for Katie Zaferes to power the Americans back out front, handing over to Matthew McElroy to complete the job. Crowd favourites Team GB delivered silver after Jonathan Brownlee built on a strong leg from Vicky Holland, only to run out of course in his bid to catch McElroy, while behind him Leo Bergere (FRA) and Ryan Bailie (AUS) were locked into a sprint finish for bronze, Team France edging it by the slightest of margins. For the full race report click here.
The home of the Mixed Relay, Hamburg again delivered the perfect stage for some dramatic action as the teams were lifted by packed crowds lining the dive transition urging the athletes on. Rachel Klamer set the early pace for the Netherlands, but Laura Lindemanngave the crowds plenty to cheer on the bike section putting Germany into the lead before handing off to Jonas Schomburg. Dorian Coninx and Jonathan Brownlee had soon hunted him down however, and it was Team France who led as Cassandre Beaugrand, gold medallist the day before in the elite women’s race, took up responsibility and held off a stern challenge from Katie Zaferes, leaving Vincent Luis to dominate the final leg and secure gold. Jacob Birtwhistle’s trademark sprint finish helped Team Australia to silver, USA taking the bronze. For the full race report click here.
It was a strong Australian team that finally got their taste of Mixed Relay gold, Ashleigh Gentle taking the first leg, Aaron Royal and Natalie van Coevorden keeping the dream well and truly alive and Jacob Birtwhistle doing what he does best to put in the fastest run leg of the day. Gentle had work to do after the swim, with the likes of Taylor Spivey (USA), Claire Michel (BEL) and Sandra Dodet (FRA) all impressing, the latter handing off to Vincent Luis who then had a thrilling battle with Jonathan Brownlee after a great first leg for GB from Jessica Learmonth. Indeed, Georgia Taylor-Brown kept British medal hopes firmly alive heading into the final leg, only for Birtwhistle to prove in unstoppable form, followed over the line by Matthew McElroy for Team USA and Hayden Wilde keeping New Zealand noses ahead of Belgium to hold on for the bronze. For the full race report click here.
All of which left Team USA atop the first Mixed Relay Series rankings, followed by Team Australia, Team France, Team GB and Team Netherlands, and left triathlon fans desperate for more of the high-octane action that the new Olympic format delivered in spades across 2018.
For the final series standings, click here.