Great Britain’s relay team won bronze at the ITU Mixed Relay World Championships. The quartet of Vicky Holland, Gordon Benson, Non Stanford and Mark Buckingham finished behind the teams from France and Australia in wet conditions in Hamburg.
Vicky Holland got the team off to a great start, handing over in the lead after the 300m swim, 6.6km bike and 1600m run, despite a fall dismounting from her bike. Gordon Benson, the European Games champion, also slipped on wet tarmac during the run but kept the British team in contention.
Non Stanford had a stellar performance propelling Great Britain into a lead after a storming run. Mark Buckingham had the pressure of completing the final leg, and held the lead through the swim, but the teams from Germany, Australia and France joined him into the first transition and were all together at the start of the run.
Vincent Luis of France ran brilliantly to claim gold ahead of Australia’s Ryan Baillie. Germany’s Gregor Buchholz ran ahead of Buckingham, but had to serve a ten second penalty for an infringement by his team mate on the previous leg.
Buckingham knew the Germans had a penalty to serve, and commented: “I made sure I kept him in site. I struggled so much on the run. We’ve just come down from altitude, the four of us, Gordon and myself especially are struggling with the running at the moment. It was a really hard race.”
Vicky Holland explained that her tumble during the opening leg only spurred her on: “It was quite slippery at the dismount area. It didn’t cause me too many problems, if anything it just made me run faster.”
Non Stanford reflected on the depth of the British triathlon team, which was without the Brownlee brothers today, but still delivered a medal winning performance. She said: “That’s the beauty of British triathlon, we are really fortunate to have so many great athletes. They are big shoes to fill but the boys really stepped up today and I’m really proud of them and the team.”
British Triathlon Performance Director, Brendan Purcell said: “It was a good job by all of them after some tough racing, and it was so close. Today showed the depth we have, which is always a positive.”
He concluded: “It’s been a great weekend; this sets us up well, particularly the women, for the Rio Test Event in a couple of weeks.”
Results, ITU Mixed Relay World Championship: 300m swim, 6.6km bike, 1600m run:
1. France, 1:20:33
2. Australia, 1:20:42
3. Great Britain, 1:20:52