Germany become Triathlon Mixed Relay World Champions on home soil, New Zealand take silver and USA bronze
The mixed relay world championships once again provided a thrilling race as teams of two men, two women from each country did battle in Hamburg over a 300m swim, 6.6km bike and 1.6km run.
Defending champions Great Britain went into the race with the strongest team on paper; the Brownlee brothers being joined by the previous day’s second and third placed women’s finishers, Jodie Stimpson and Non Stanford.
The event seemed to be going Britain’s way as Stimpson raced hard to keep the team in second place at the end of the first leg, a whisker behind Sarah Groff (USA). Alistair Brownlee then took over, working hard on the bike with his American, Australian and Kiwi counterparts – Ben Kanute, Aaron Royle and Tony Dodds – before blasting away onto the 1.6km run to secure a lead of 17 seconds over Australia and 21 over New Zealand as he tagged Non Stanford.
Stanford led out onto the bike, time trialling solo as word came through of a 10-second penalty for the British team after Brownlee failed to fully dismount his bike before the line into T2. Stanford suffered a race-ending crash resulting in her being rushed by ambulance to hospital.
Following a deficit after the efforts of Germany’s Anja Knapp and Jan Frodeno, Anne Haug (GER) chased hard to come to the front of the race, putting the home team right into contention.
The German led Kate McIlroy (NZL), and Gwen Jorgensen (USA) onto the run, with the American coming to the front to put the United States 11 seconds ahead as Cameron Dye took over, with Franz Loeschke chasing hard. Ryan Sissons (NZL) was another 12 seconds back.
Dye began the bike with 19 seconds in hand and used his non-drafting race skills to drive hard and stay clear of Loeschke and Sissons, who were working together in pursuit of the American and managed to bring the gap down to just 5 seconds.
Loeschke immediately pushed ahead out of transition, the big man’s ungainly running style seeing him accelerate away from the competition. Driven on by the home crowd, the German stormed through the mile run to cross the line in first place in 1:17:55 and be swarmed by his teammates.
Sissions secured silver for New Zealand in 1:18:14, while Dye hung onto third for the USA in 1:18:19.
Loeschke, who raced the final leg for the victorious German team said: “We had an amazing day with lots of ups and downs. You only get that in a team relay. Anja – we call her our lucky girl – got us off to a great start.”
The German team also had Haug to thank for playing a crucial role in their win. Haug had won the women’s race on Saturday but still found enough energy to close a big gap during her leg to hand over to Loeschke in second place, behind USA.
“I was spot on,” Haug said. “I didn’t think, I just pushed as hard as I could to make the gap as small as possible. That’s racing – going all in.”