Derby triathlete Barclay Izzard revelled in a taste of the big time and posted his best-ever World Championship Series result in Sunderland.
Roker Beach welcomed the best triathletes from around the world as well as thousands of amateur participants over a weekend festival of swim, bike, run.
Izzard took his chance, finishing eighth and rubbing shoulders with the likes of world champion Léo Bergère and Commonwealth silver medallist Hayden Wilde on the bike leg.
“I came out of the water and ended up in the front pack somehow!” said the 25-year-old.
“I was just chilling there and it was pretty unreal to be in that position when I’m normally the guy chasing behind.
“On that bike, I was on the limit the whole time. I found myself in the front pack where I’m not normally, but I just stuck in there and worked as hard as I could.”
The lead pack, that also included Britain’s WTCS debutant Max Stapley, was caught by the chasers and team-mate Jack Willis with one lap to go on a technical bike course.
It meant a chaotic downhill run into transition onto the bike leg that saw Wilde, Bergère and Pierre Le Corre of France take the lead onto the final 5km run.
Izzard was cheered to a top ten finish by an adoring home crowd in a time of 54 minutes and 32 seconds, with gold going to Le Corre who outsprinted compatriot Bergère in a thrilling finish.
“The course was insane,” said Izzard. "The corners were so sketchy and I was just flying around them holding on for dear life. The hill was good and it was really fun.
“When I came down, there were so many fans there cheering me on and it motivated me to keep going.”
It was another confidence boost for Izzard in his first full season on the WTCS circuit, having won mixed relay silver on Team GB debut at June’s European Games in Krakow.