Team Triathlon keeps gaining momentum as a total of eight teams from eight different South American countries helped the mixed relay triathlon format make its debut at the 2nd South American Beach Sports Games, on Saturday December 3 in Manta, Ecuador.
The triathlon event was the first medal event of this year’s games and was decided over a 250swim, 5.8km bike leg and a 1.8km run. Argentina won the overall Team Triathlon gold medal, but medals were also awarded for the best men’s and women’s pairs, with Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Colombia all collecting medals. Other participants’ countries were Brazil, Uruguay, Peru and Chile.
Carlos Froes, the President of the Brazilian Triathlon Federation and COSUTRI threw his support behind the format after the Games. “This was a success, a show worthy of an Olympic Games. We have to work for establish the team relay triathlon in Rio 2016.”
The first leg was led off by the women and ITU development athlete Elizabeth Bravo led from the start at home in Ecuador, closely followed by Romina Biagioli from Argentina and Mayra Vargas from Colombia. After an intense cycling leg, Chilean Andrea Llongueira joined the first pack with the Venezuelan Rafalix Martinez and then worked together in the run chase, while Brazil’s Bender Estefanie, Peru’s Sandra Lazo and Uruguay’s Federica Frontini fell behind.
After Bravo comfortably led in the first leg, the next stage came down to a competition between Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Chile. Ecuador’s Landivar Luiggi emerged first from the water, followed by the Chilean Vicente Trewhela, Venezuelan Leandro Lobo and Argentinean Gonzalo Tellechea. Those athletes formed the first pack, which came together after three rounds of cycling, but Tellechea turned on his excellent run leg and took a 48-second lead into the third leg.
In that stage, Argentina continued to build on their lead through Rayen Asselborn, who rode and ran by herself. By the end of this stage though, Cristina Farez of Ecuador and Lina Raga of Colombia kept getting closer, and they were closely followed by the experienced Rosemary Lopez from Venezuela.
But Luciano Taccone held onto the lead his Argentian teammates had started, before extending it. Although he only had a few metres on Juan Andrade of Ecuador and Venezuela’s Carlos Perez at the end of the swim, he quickly turned that into a 40-second lead and an Argentian gold medal in a time of 1 hour 17 minutes and 3 seconds, 53 seconds ahead of the total time of Ecuador.
“I am very happy with the race, I thank the audience applauded, although I’m not Ecuadorian,” said Luciano Taccone.
“Very good race, very good track. I love this format, “said Gonzalo Tellechea.
Elizabeth Bravo said that she was happy with her performance. “Satisfied with the race and the gold medal of women. We have proven to be a great team and take the silver. I am very happy because this race was done in my country, and was a great race.”
The four person mixed relay format was introduced as a World Championship in 2009, and has enjoyed huge growth since then. This year, it has been officially accepted onto the programme for Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, and a record number of teams competed at the 2011 Team Triathlon World Championships. The ITU is bidding to get the discipline added to the programme of the Olympic Games and will submit its official bid early next year to the IOC. For more on triathlon mixed relay, please click here.