Australia celebrates World Mixed Relay Championships win

In a brilliant come from behind performance, Team Australia took the Hamburg ITU Triathlon World Mixed Relay Championships today in Hamburg, Germany.

| July 16, 2017 | NEWS

Charlotte McShane, Ashleigh Gentle, Jacob Birtwhistle and Matt Hauser take gold.

Charlotte McShane, Ashleigh Gentle, Jacob Birtwhistle and Matt Hauser take gold.

Photo >Frank Wechsel / spomedis

Jacob Birtwhistle did it again. After sprinting his way to a silver medal yesterday (for the second year in a row, no less), the young Aussie did one better today, anchoring the Australian team that included Charlotte McShane, Matt Hauser and Ashleigh Gentle to the gold medal during the final leg of the race.

After McShane managed to keep Australia neck and neck with the Americans through the first leg of the 300 m swim, 7 km bike and 1.6 km run, the American team managed to open up a bit of a break during the second leg as Ben Kanute and France’s Dorian Coninx managed to pull away from a group that included Canada (Tyler Mislawchuk), Great Britain (Gordon Benson), Netherlands (Marco van der Stel) and Australia (Matt Hauser).

During the third leg, though, American Katie Zaferes blew things apart, pulling clear of the rest of the women and giving her team-mate Mathew Mcelroy a lead going into the final leg. A solid leg by Canada’s Joanna Brown, who was only two seconds slower than Zaferes for her split, put Canada into second, while the Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer was right on Brown’s heels at the final exchange. Gentle, too, had a great leg and kept the Aussies in the hunt as she tagged off with Birtwhistle in fifth, just behind the British team.  

Canadian Alexis Lepage had an amazing swim to get himself close to Mcelroy out of the water, then joined up with the American on the bike. The two enjoyed a sizeable gap on the rest of the field until disaster struck for Lepage on one of the 180 degree turns on the wet pavement during the first loop of the bike – the Canadian’s rear wheel slipped out from under him. He got back on his bike and rode hard to try and get back up to Mcelroy, but the damage was done.

“We had the podium,” Lepage said after the race. “I know we can be there and run with the best. I know I could have done more, but I guess unexpected stuff like this happens. When I got back on my bike I tried to stay positive, bike as fast as I could to get back to the American, but I had to save some energy.” 

Suddenly there were five together into the final transition as Birtwhistle, Lepage, Mcelroy, Thomas Bishop (GBR) and Jorik van Egdom (NED) all hit the carpet and scrambled into their running shoes at the same time.

Charlotte McShane, Ashleigh Gentle and Matt Hauser wait to greet Jacob Birtwhistle at the finish line.

Charlotte McShane, Ashleigh Gentle and Matt Hauser wait to greet Jacob Birtwhistle at the finish line.

Photo >Frank Wechsel / spomedis

Both Lepage and Mcelroy looked good in the early going (Bishop had a bump in T2 and had to scramble back to pick up a cycling shoe), but, in the end there was no touching Birtwhistle as he sprinted away over the final few hundred meters to give Australia the world title. Mcelroy hung on for second while a thrilled van Egdom managed to net the Netherlands the bronze. Bishop got Great Britain to fourth while Lepage came across the line in fifth.