Team GB win mixed relay gold at WTCS Hamburg

A young British team execute a "textbook performance" with Australia taking second and Germany overcoming a 20s penalty to claim bronze

Team GB win mixed relay WTCS Hamburg

With big names like Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee sitting this race out on the run up to the Commonwealth Games, Team GB had a chance to showcase their younger talent at the sprint-format relay event today in Hamburg.

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Up first was 24-year-old Barclay Izzard, who led the start of the men’s run leg for almost 1km in the individual event yesterday. Following him was Sian Rainsley, one of the stronger swimmers in the women’s race and a top 10 finisher in the individual event. Taking up the metaphorical baton for the third leg was Sam Dickinson and the last leg was Kate Waugh.

What happened on the first leg of the 2022 Hamburg WTCS mixed relay race?

The mixed relay is a short-paced and intense event (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

After cheers of good luck from their teammates, the first male athlete for each of the 18 countries competing in the mixed relay event made their way to the starting pontoon, the 1A plastered on their swim hats indicating their important role in this relay to get their team in a good starting position.

For Team GB, this responsibility was down to Barclay Izzard. A different swim course awaited the athletes, who after a mere 45 seconds shot through the dark tunnel with a tight right-hand U-turn turn taking them immediately back under the way they came.

Leading the first leg swimmers was Chase McQueen (USA), but there wasn’t much in it, with the other athletes tightly packed behind him. After a 300m swim of just over 3mins, the athletes entered T1 with Brock Hoel of Canada leading the throng.

An initial group of four cyclists formed out on the bike, including Canada, Hungary, Spain and Germany. France’s Vincent Morlec just made the chaser pack, which quickly caught the group, with GB’s Izzard alongside him after having made up five places thanks to a swift 28s T1.

The bike leg’s comprised of two of the same 3.5km laps as the individual events the day before. Yesterday’s individual winner Hayden Wilde (NZ) quickly took dominance mid-way through the first bike lap, with Izzard sticking to his wheel in second position.

There was little in it between the first 12 teams, though, who kept together in one large peloton for the whole of the first short bike leg. First into T2 was Morlec, with several errant elbows and wheels causing some minor tumbles on the blue carpet behind him.

Onto the 1700m two-lap run, it was Switzerland’s Matthew Studer who pushed the pace at the front, with Wilde close on his heels, the two tearing away from the chasing athletes including Luke Willian (AUS), Izzard, Valentin Wernz (GER) and Morlec.

After only 19 minutes of intense racing, Wilde was the first to hand off to New Zealand’s second athlete, Nicole Van der Kay . Close behind him was Studer, with Willian and Izzard 10s back.

The rest of the teams handed off in quick succession to commence the second leg, that’s apart from Team America, who seemed to be having some difficulties, with Taylor Spivey sheepishly waiting in the wings for McQueen’s hand-off almost two minutes after the front racers had already departed.

What happened on the second leg of the 2022 Hamburg WTCS mixed relay race?

The teams hand off each leg with a slap of the hand (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

New Zealand and Switzerland dove in with a substantial lead, but they were quickly caught by the time they reached the first tunnel crossing, with GB’s Sian Rainsley amongst the front swimmers.

Rainsley managed to make up around 10s on the swim, pushing up into first position with a short gap between her and the rest of the pack by the time that T1 came around. Hot on her heels was Hungary’s Zsanett Bragmayer having made up five positions on the short swim, as well as Germany’s second leg athlete Lisa Tertsch.

Tertsch will later go on to discover that she’s accrued a penalty on the swim for her behaviour, officials picking up on her supposedly pushing down on the shoulder of Japan’s Yuko Takahashi mid-way through the 300m leg, swimming around and over the Japanese athlete.

A front group of six quickly formed with a seven second lead, made up of France’s Matilde Gautier, Rainsley, Australia’s Sophie Linn, Germany, New Zealand, and Hungary. The drive to push the pace seemed to be lacking though, with the peloton slowing to allow Switzerland, Denmark and Japan back into the fold.

Out of T2, the large pack of athletes was led out by Switzerland and Hungary, with Rainsley safely tucked into third position. A leading quartet of Hungary, Denmark, Great Britain and Germany formed by the end of the first lap, with Rainsley leading into the hand-over to Sam Dickinson and giving Team GB a great opportunity to push the pace at the front.

What happened on the third leg of the 2022 Hamburg WTCS mixed relay race?

Dickinson later admits it was a “textbook performance” from Team GB today (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

Dickinson managed to keep the lead during his swift initial swim leg, with the athletes behind him jostling for positions and the men’s individual runner-up Matt Hauser (AUS) quickly making up ground to reach the front pack of swimmers by the end of the swim.

Dickinson continued his winning performance by opening up a small gap right away on the 7km bike leg, forcing Hungary, Germany and Switzerland to work hard to chase him down. But catch him they do, with New Zealand’s Dylan McCullough going on to force a single break-away coming into T2.

It’s the Aussie Hausner who took dominance coming into the run, though, with Lasse Nygaard Priester from Germany having issues dismounting with a foot stuck in his bike shoe, gaining his team another 10s penalty on top of their current 10s.

By lap two of the 1700m run, Hausner created a sizeable advantage over the competition, but Dickinson managed to hold onto second position over the spread-out field.

What happened on the final leg of the 2022 Hamburg WTCS mixed relay race?

23-year-old Kate Waugh takes her first-ever WTCS win (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

Australia was first to hand over to their fourth and final leg athlete, Natalie Van Coevorden with a hefty 12s lead. Meanwhile, Dickinson left it all out on the field, leaving it in the hands of 23-year-old Kate Waugh to reel back the time to Van Coevorden in front. Starting the last leg in third was Switzerland, swiftly followed by Germany.

By the fourth leg the field had become decidedly strung out, the top six countries all within 30s of each other, working hard to chase down the gaps in front of them.

Waug worked hard to make up some distance on the swim, the Brit wading out of the water 10s behind the first-place Aussie athlete.

A lone bike chase group made up of Waugh and Germany’s Laura Lindemann worked together on the 7km leg to make up time to Van Coevorden.

The front three cyclists managed to open up a huge gap on the remaining competition, but a podium spot was not guaranteed for Lindemann, who still had to take Germany’s 20s penalty during the final run leg.

The final 1700m run leg saw Waugh tuck in behind the German athlete, the two dropping Van Coevorden as they powered through the short, final sprint leg.

Who won the 2022 Hamburg WTCS mixed relay race?

Fresh faces grace the podium in the shape of the young British team (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

Lindemann went on to take her 20s penalty at the last moment, watching painfully on as Waugh then Van Coevorden sprinted past. With free range to take the win, Waugh crossed the line in a team total of 1:20:50, winning the gold for Team GB.

Then it was Australia’s turn for silver, with Van Coevorden finishing a weighty 13s behind Waugh, and Lindemann, having been cheated of a finishing sprint for gold, took bronze exactly 20s after Waugh.

Switzerland came in fourth, with New Zealand taking fifth, Hungary sixth and France seventh.

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Top image: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images