France retains world title in mixed relay triathlon in Hamburg

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France retained its title at the 2020 International Triathlon Union (ITU) Mixed Relay Triathlon Championships after a final neck-and-neck leg with the United States and Great Britain.

Dorian Coninx anchored the quartet of Léonie Periault, Leo Bergère and Cassandre Beaugrand to finish ahead of a peloton of 19 teams in 1 hour 18min 25sec.

The United States were only eight seconds behind as they took the silver while Great Britain finished the race 34 seconds behind the winners.

Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown showed the chasm of talent after the first leg, finishing 13 seconds ahead of a chasing pack one day after her World Championship victory in the women’s individual race.

In this group were the United States, Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway and the Czech Republic, followed closely by Brazil and the Netherlands.

Barclay Izzard was tasked with keeping Great Britain in the lead, but was trapped in swimming with the French Shepherdess being the first to emerge from the water and enter the transition to the bike course.

France returned to second place after Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt passed him on the pedals, before extending their lead to 15 seconds at the end of stage two.

Bergère finished her round with Belgian Jelle Geens, American Kevin McDowell and Izzard to complete the top five.

Stina Dale had a good lead for Norway, but was quickly swallowed up and dropped in the standings when Beaugrand and Belgium’s Claire Michel overtook her.

However, two of the world’s fastest triathletes, Britain’s Jessica Learmonth and American Katie Zaferes, firmly put their teams in contention for the title, making their way to the podiums and, along with the French athlete, moved away from Michel.

Just a matter of seconds separated the three, but Zaferes was the first to switch to the anchor leg.

Morgan Pearson was the first to come out for the United States and was quickly followed by Coninx and Briton Alex Yee – the latter was fifth yesterday at the World Championships.

Still, Coninx was the best in the water with Pearson on his shoulder and a good transition to keep Yee in touch.

Coninx, aware of Yee’s speed as a racer, put the hammer down to give himself a huge gap on the bike – having 16 seconds on Pearson and 31 on Yee.

During the 1.3-kilometer race, Pearson got close to the Frenchman, but not enough to stop France from claiming the title ahead of the United States and Great Britain.

Norway finished strong to take fourth place and were followed by Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy to round out the top ten.

France’s victory made it their third consecutive title and fourth overall – a new record.



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