Team Europe 1 are the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Mixed Relay Champions
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Just ahead of the Mixed Relay event at Xuanwu Lake on Thursday, Team Europe 1 of Germany’s Kristin Ranwig, Denmark’s Emil Deleuran Hansen, France’s Emilie Morier and Great Britain’s Ben Dijkstra had chalked each others arms with the flags of their respective National Olympic Committees.
Just over an hour later, that team spirit had helped catapult them to the top of the Youth Olympic Games podium in one of the most unique triathlon events.
With just one athlete per NOC competing in Nanjing, continental teams were formed based on the rankings from the individual race. On Thursday they raced as a team in the dynamic mixed relay format. Each athlete completed a 250m swim, a 6.6km one-lap bike and a 1.8km one-lap run before tagging the next member of their team.
And after a bike leg by France’s Emilie Morier pulled Europe 1 back into second on the third leg, individual gold medallist Ben Dijkstra pulled in Team Europe 3’s Lehmann Bence on the bike, and then ran away to claim gold.
“It was a great race. The teamwork was great, with Emil, Kristin and Emilie, and even though we are from different countries we have each others flags on, it was a great race,” Dijkstra said.
“Emilie had a great leg, but I think the whole team as a whole had a great performance. Kristin had a great start and then Emil delivered and got us back up the group and then Emilie closed the gap over the Oceania team, I think it was 20 seconds on the bike and but they bridged across and then outran them, everyone did a fantastic performance today and we should be really happy about it.”
Earlier in the race it was Team Oceania that had set the pace. Lead out by Australia’s individual gold medallist Brittany Dutton, she did exactly as she did in the women’s race and broke away on the bike. While she was initially around 10 seconds back from Team Europe 3’s Sian Rainsley (Great Britain) after the swim, Dutton finished the bike leg 30 seconds ahead of everyone else, although she did collect a penalty for a mount line infraction.
Dutton kept that lead for Team Oceania on the run and handed over to Australia’s Jack van Stekelenburg. He swam, ran and rode solo, but a team of chasers led by Team Europe 1’s Hansen, Team Europe 2’s Alberto Gonzalez Garcia, Team Europe 3’s Giulio Soldati and Team Europe 4’s Miguel Cassiano cut the gap down to 25 seconds at the handover.
But the third leg ended up being the defining one of the race. Team Oceania’s Elizabeth Stannard started the bike solo and still around 20 seconds in front, but a committed group that included Team Europe 1’s Morier, Team Europe 3’s Carmen Gomez Cortes (Spain) and Team Europe 4’s Amber Rombaut (Belgium) caught her coming in to the second transition.
On the run Gomez Cortes surged ahead to put Team Europe 3 into the lead with Hungary’s Lehmann taking the hammer, while Morier handed over to Dijkstra next. Team Oceania’s Stannard tagged her New Zealand teammate Daniel Hoy in third, but 30 seconds down on the leaders with the 10 second penalty still to serve.
From that final handover, Dijkstra ran away from Lehmann to win by 23 seconds. Team Europe 3 took the silver medal, with Sian Rainsley (Great Britain), Giulio Soldati (Italy), Carmen Gomez Cortez (Spain) and Lehmann Bence (Hungary).
Great Britain’s Sian Rainsley was thrilled with her team’s silver medal, after being ranked the third European team based on individual results.
“It was very exciting, the adrenalin was going. We were ranked third in Europe so we never knew how high up we would come,” she said. “To come second and beat the higher teams is absolutely amazing. And we didn’t have a good race until halfway round so that made it even better. We delivered what we could so you can’t knock it at all.”
Team Oceania, Brittany Dutton (Australia), Jack van Stekelenburg (Australia), Elizabeth Stannard (New Zealand) and Daniel Hoy (New Zealand) claimed the bronze medal.
“Really out there competitive. It’s still the Youth Olympic Games. We don’t finish until we cross that line in our last event,” Hoy said. “We’ve taken recovery seriously since our individual event. We pulled off a bronze today, maybe happier if we stood on top of the podium, but bronze is still good.
With additional reporting from the Youth Olympic News Service.
Related Event: 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games
|Results: 4xMixed Relay|
|1.||Team I Europe||ITU||01:22:17|
|2.||Team III Europe||ITU||01:22:30|
|3.||Team I Oceania||ITU||01:23:10|
|4.||Team IV Europe||ITU||01:23:54|
|5.||Team II Europe||ITU||01:24:15|
|6.||Team II America||ITU||01:25:40|
|7.||Team I America||ITU||01:25:41|
|8.||Team I Asia||ITU||01:26:40|
|9.||Team V Europe||ITU||01:26:46|
|10.||Team I World||ITU||01:29:04|
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