The Netherlands won the first-ever team time trial mixed relay at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in Harrogate, Yorkshire on Sunday.
The combined times of the three men and three women covered the 28km event (14km each lap) with the fastest time of 38:27. They beat Germany by 22 seconds and Great Britain by 51 seconds.
Great Britain's team of Harry Tanfield, Daniel Bigham, John Archibald, Lauren Dolan, Anna Hendersen and Joscelin Lowdon set the early benchmark with a time of 39:18. It held strong all the way until the final two teams crossed the line.
Germany's team of Tony Martin, Jasha Sütterlin, Nils Politt, Lisa Brennauer, Lisa Klein and Mieke Kroger stormed through the finish line with a time of 28:50, shattering Great Britain's time by 28 seconds. The new fastest time didn't last long, however, as the Netherlands finished shortly after with the winning time.
The Italian team of Elia Viviani, Davide Martinelli and Edoardo Affini, and Elena Cecchini, Tatiana Guderzo and Elisa Longo Borghini looked on track to beat Great Britain and secure the bronze medal. However, Longo Borghini suffered an untimely puncture, and despite her chasing back on, the team finished just off the podium in fourth place.
"It's amazing. It still needs to slide in a little bit because we just finished, but it's super cool," said Lucinda Brand after the finish.
"Straight away up its really hard to get into it and you think you have really bad legs. But once you're over you can keep fighting against the pain. It's short but hard."
Bauke Mollema, who like Amy Pieters and Riejanne Markus won the event at the European Championships, added to his burgeoning mixed relay medal collection in Harrogate.
"It's amazing. So fantastic to be world champion here," he said after the finish. "It was so hard to do a TTT with three riders, so much harder than with seven or eight
"The course was really hard with the rain, it was technical and up and down. I think we did a really good performance. Jos Van Emden and Koen Bouwman were pulling so hard. The women did an amazing job as well. We won! It was really nice."
How it unfolded
The first-ever team time trial mixed relay kicked off the World Championships on Sunday in Harrogate, Yorkshire. The event controversially replaced the trade team trial and instead saw national teams competing with two separate teams consisting of three male riders and three female riders, whereby their combined times are taken to determine the winning nation.
Under the new format, the male riders set off first, and upon their return to the finish line, the three women replace them on course as soon as the second male rider has crossed the finish line. Officials took the final times when the second female rider crosses the finish line, and the fastest team declared the winner.
Something akin to a traffic light – red, orange and green – will be positioned at the front of each team's lane. As soon as the men's team passed the 200 metres to go sensor, the light turned from red to orange. When the second rider of the men's team crossed the finish line sensor, the light turned green, and the women were permitted to start.
In Yorkshire, there were three waves of nations competing on course. Each nations' men's and women's team completed one lap of an undulating 14km course that included two longer straight sections followed by a more technical section of twists and turns through downtown Harrogate to the finish line.
The first wave of nations included the multi-national UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC), Spain, Belgium and Great Britain. WCC was the first team on the starting ramp with a team that included Petr Kelemen, Ben Katerberg, Dillon Corkery, and the women's team of Teniel Campbell, Anastasiya Kolesava and Fernanda Yapura. Their combined time set the first fastest mark of the day at 41:56.
It didn't hold for very long, however, as the Spanish team of Sebastian Mora, Lluís Mas, Jonathan Castroviejo, Lourdes Oyarbide, Sheyla Gutíerrez and Mavi García combined to knock WCC out of the hot seat by almost a minute.
Belgium's men lost one rider early on shedding some valuable time, but two riders was all that was needed to allow their women's team to start their effort. The Belgians finished with a time of 41:00 but they were quickly overtaken by Great Britain.
The home team included Harry Tanfield, Daniel Bigham and John Archibald set the early benchmark with a time of 18:24 before handing off the time trial to teammates Lauren Dolan, Anna Hendersen and Joscelin Lowdon.
The British women continued the overall fastest time, crossing through the third intermediate split with a total combined time of 28:08, and then the finish line with a time of 39:18, the first team to break 40 minutes.
Great Britain held the fastest time through the second wave of nations that included Slovenia, Switzerland, France and Denmark.
Slovenia's men's team set off first with a strong team of Jan Tratnik, Jaka Primožic and Tadej Pogačar and the women's team of Urska Pintar, Eugenia Bujak and Urska Bravec. Even though the team had a strong checkpoint times it wasn't enough to overtake the British team and they finished with a time of 40:25.
Switzerland's team included Joel Suter, Claudio Imhof, Robin Froidevaux, and Elise Chabbey, Marlen Reusser and Kathrin Stirnemann. As the women's team were coming into the finish, only two riders remained when Chabbey suffered a puncture, a bike change and then a crash into the barriers all in the final kilometre of the race. That cost the Swiss team dearly but they still finished in 39:54.
The French team looked the most cohesive of the first two waves of nations. The men's team included Romain Siegle, Bruno Armirail, Jérôme Cousin, who lost contact with the team early on, and the women's team of Aude Biannic, Coralie Demay and Séverine Eraud finished in 39:50.
The Danish team closed out the second wave of nations with a time of 40:31.
The third and last wave of nations included Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, with all three heading into the race as favourites.
Italy was the first off the ramp with the men's team led by Elia Viviani, Davide Martinelli and Edoardo Affini, who has the third fastest check point before handing the time trial off to the women's team that included Elena Cecchini, Tatiana Guderzo and Elisa Longo Borghini.
The women's team initially lost Longo Borghin to a puncture midway through their effort. She instructed her teammates to continue while she waited at the side of the road for a spare bike.
It was a serious setback for the Italians, who were in the running for the gold medal, but after a massive effort she managed to catch back on with enough time to give the team one big pull to the finish line. It wasn't enough to surpass Great Britain, however, and they finished 39:23, only good enough for fourth place.
Multiple-time former world champion Tony Martin led the German team off the starting ramp with Jasha Sütterlin and Nils Politt. They posted the fifth fastest time at the intermediate check point and relied heavily on the women's team to bring back time as a medal contender.
The German women's team included former world champion Lisa Brennauer, plus Lisa Klein and Mieke Kroger, who was the first to fall off the pace. Brennauer and Klein, two of the fastest time trialists in the world, continued a two-up effort toward the finish line and finished with a new fastest time of 38:50, 28 seconds faster than Great Britain.
The Netherlands, a team that won the test event at the European Championships, with several of the same riders, left the starting ramp led by Bauke Mollema, Jos van Emden and Koen Bouwman.
The men suffered a small bobble, but did not crash, after Mollema and Bouwman touched wheels. After the first two checkpoints they were clear at the top of the leaderboards before handing over to the women – Lucinda Brand, Amy Pieters and Riejanne Markus.
Despite losing Pieters halfway through the event Brand and Markus had enough to keep things ticking over. The pair sprinted for the line to finish with the fastest time of 38:27, sealing the first world title in the team time trial mixed relay.
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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