Leeds I won the first ever Accenture British Triathlon Mixed Relay Cup in Nottingham in front of a packed crowd on the Victoria Embankment. The all-star team of Georgia Taylor-Brown, Aaron Royle, Jessica Learmonth and Tom bishop lifted the Cup ahead of Loughborough I, followed by Canada as seventeen teams raced in perfect conditions.
Mixed Relay is set to feature for the first time at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and five Olympians were part of the action in Nottingham. An initial 300m swim in the River Trent was followed by a 7.5km bike ride and 1.5km run before athletes handed over to their next team mate to do the same again. In total, seventeen teams of four athletes took part, including international teams from Japan, Germany, Australia and Canada.
Japan made the strongest start through Fuka Sega’s leading swim, but the race soon turned into a battle between two Leeds teams, Loughborough and Canada. Coming into the final leg, Jessica Learmonth of Leeds I was running shoulder to shoulder with Canada’s Paula Findlay and handed over to Tom Bishop just centimeters in the lead.
Bishop’s bike leg made a certainty of his team’s victory, and Ben Dijkstra put in a huge swim leg to move Loughborough I into contention. Bishop had time to celebrate with the finishing line crowd before Dijkstra finished in second place followed by Canada.
Bishop said: “We put the pressure on ourselves just because we wanted to take the win. When I realised the gap was opening up on the bike I just thought ‘keep on pushing,’ and at the end we came home with the win. The whole team carried us really well.”
Jodie Stimpson did Loughborough’s third leg and said: “We are all happy. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come out with a win, but we couldn’t have done anything more, so we are all happy.”
Chris Perham, Loughborough’s second leg athlete added: “The atmosphere throughout the whole competition has been outstanding, and I hope to come back and do it again.”
Jeremy Briand, who did the final leg for Canada, said: “It was fun being back in the UK as we were here for nationals earlier this year. It’s a fun type of racing and we’re all still young.”
British Triathlon CEO, Jack Buckner, said: “There are always nerves when there’s a brand-new event, with a new format, in a new location; but everything went well. It was a great atmosphere and early estimates are that the event attracted up 20,000 spectators and had a fantastic response via the live BBC TV coverage. The energy from the crowd was electric.”
“It’s been a fantastic day at the Accenture British Triathlon Mixed Relay Cup. We’re so proud to support British Triathlon as they develop new and innovative events in which to showcase the sport, and Nottingham was the perfect host city in bringing triathlon fans together.”
Emma McGuigan, Group Technology Officer for Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology operating group, said: “It’s been a fantastic day at the Accenture British Triathlon Mixed Relay Cup. We’re so proud to support British Triathlon as they develop new and innovative events in which to showcase the sport, and Nottingham was the perfect host city in bringing triathlon fans together.”
Results; Accenture British Triathlon Mixed Relay Cup; 4x 300m swim, 7.5km bike, 1.5km run; Saturday 2 September; Nottingham, UK:
- Team Leeds I, 1:18:59 (Taylor-Brown, Royle, Learmonth, Bishop)
- Team Loughborough I, 1:19:40 (Sophie Coldwell, Perham, Stimpson, Dijkstra)
- Team Canada, 1:20:28 (Joanna Brown, Matt Sharpe, Findlay, Briand)
- Team Leeds II, 1:21:05 (Non Stanford, Gordon Benson, Lucy Hall, Mark Buckingham)
- Team Japan, 1:22:06 (Sega, Ryousuke Maeda, Minami Kubono, Koki Yamamoto)
Full results here.