It came down to a photo finish, but in the end France's Dorian Coninx was able to outlean Great Britain's Alex Yee to take the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series Tokyo.
August 18, 2019 | NEWS|
There's something about 4 x 400 m relay events on the track and Triathlon Mixed Relay events - they almost always manage to end with lots of excitement. Today's ITU World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series Tokyo event, in essence the test event for next year's Tokyo Olympics, provided lots of excitement as France's Dorian Coninx managed to out-lean Great Britain's Alex Yee for the win, with the United States rounding out the podium.
For a while it looked like Great Britain might be able to run away with the race as Jessica Learmonth put together a stellar first leg. After leading out of the water, Learmonth (who was no-doubt a bit motivated after having her win at Thursday's individual race taken away when she was DQd for tieing with countrywoman Georgia Taylor-Brown) joined forces with American Summer Rappaport for part of the bike, then broke away with a half a lap to go to solo into the second transition and lead the way onto the run with a 15-second lead on Rappaport and about 30 seconds on the chase pack that included Germany's Laura Lindemann and France's Cassandre Beaugrand. Those two would scream through the run to catch Rappaport by the hand off, but Learmonth had put the Brits up by just over 20 seconds at that point.
Gordon Benson kept the Brits in front through his leg, but by then a pack of four were chasing hard including France, Italy, USA and Germany. For a while it looked like Belgium might get into the mix as Jelle Geens managed to join the chase group - as the women started the third leg it was Great Britain out in front with France, Belgium, USA, Italy and Japan all between 15 and 20 seconds down.
The other woman involved in that "tie then DQ" race on Thursday, Georgia Taylor-Brown, managed to hold her lead through the swim, but on the bike France's Leonie Periault and American Tamara Gorman managed to make some inroads on the bike and run to get things close.
So, starting the final leg it was Great Britain in front by a second over France, with the Americans five seconds down. Italy was now in no-man's land, 27 seconds behind, with Australia another 20 seconds back.
The final leg saw France's Coninx power to the front in the water, but as they hit the transition he, Yee and American Ben Kanute were all together. Coninx and Kanute did all they could to try and break away on the bike, no-doubt fearful of the fast-running Yee, but try as they might all three were together into the second transition.
Once on the run Yee immediately went to the front. Coninx stayed on his shoulder, but Kanute was dropped quickly. At the end of the first of the two one-km run loops the pair had 16 seconds on Kanute - it was clear this was going to be a two-man race for the gold.
Yee made his move with about 300 m to go and seemed to open a gap, but as they hit the final 100 m Coninx found another gear and managed to move next to the young Brit, then managed to get his chest ahead to give France the win.
2019 ITU World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series Tokyo
August 18, 2019 | Tokyo, Japan