Great Britain’s Mixed Relay team delighted the large crowds in Nottingham by winning silver behind Team USA as qualification opened for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The British quartet of Non Stanford, Tom Bishop, Vicky Holland and Jonathan Brownlee performed exceptionally well, but just fell short of catching the Americans at the Accenture World Triathlon Mixed Relay.
Non Stanford took the opening leg, diving off the pontoon and into the River Trent in front of thousands of fans lining both sides of the river. USA got into an early lead after the 300m swim through Kirsten Kasper, who maintained her lead on the 14km bike and 1.5km run. However, it was all change on the second leg, where France got in front through Pierre Le Corre.
Leg three saw USA regain the lead as Katie Zaferes put in a monster swim before powering away on the bike. Vicky Hollandmoved the British team up to third and then handed over to Jonathan Brownlee. USA’s Matthew McElroy claimed the victory, despite losing a bit of time to Brownlee, who looked to be in excellent form with the ITU World Triathlon Leeds ahead of him on Sunday.
Katie Zareres, USA said: "It was just so much fun with so much energy, it was tough and you never really know what is going to happen. You don’t know how you will do until the end when you come across the finish. It’s great passing the grandstand, the crowds were huge."
Brownlee said: “Unfortunately, the Americans were just too good for us today, the women especially were very very strong and the men finished it off very well. It’s probably the worst position to be in, leading with everyone chasing you, but he was strong and I couldn’t catch them.”
He added: “We need to learn things about aerodynamics, about order, about who are the best athletes to be in the relay, and hopefully today we started to do that.”
Vicky Holland said: “Today was a really good start to our campaign to get our team into the Olympics. Being on the podium, you can’t ask for too much more than that. Obviously, we would have loved to be on the top of the podium, but the Americans were really strong.”
As the light and temperature faded in Nottingham, athletes were already focusing on getting ready for the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds on Sunday afternoon.
Brownlee said: “I'm looking forward to it, I’m a lot fitter than I was in the Gold Coast. I'm ready to race and a lot more confident.”
Highlights from the Accenture World Triathlon Mixed Relay are available at 1:20pm on Saturday on BBC One. Live coverage from the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds starts at 1pm on Sunday 10 June on BBC2.
Inspired by all the action? Pre-register to be the first to know about next years event entry and spectating at nottingham.triathlon.org/2019
Esther Britten, Head of Major Events at UK Sport:
“Tokyo 2020 feels one step closer, with our elite athletes competing in the first qualification event and working hard to ensure GB is on the start line at the Games. Event hosting partners should feel very proud today, the atmosphere across Nottingham has been fantastic with the city really embracing the event and providing their support to both the mass participation and elites races.”
Emma McGuigan, Accenture Senior Managing Director:
“From crowning our Accenture Mixed Team Challenge winners to cheering on the top triathlon nations as they battled it out for the podium, the City of Nottingham has been treated to a fantastic display of triathlon action today. We are proud to have championed mixed gender team participation in the Accenture World Triathlon Mixed Relay Nottingham and are delighted to increase opportunities for everyone to take part in the sport.”
Andy Salmon, Chief Executive of British Triathlon:
“From triathlon beginners crossing the finish line for the very time, all the way to our elite stars going head-to-head for glory, the Accenture World Triathlon Mixed Relay Nottingham has truly been a day to remember. The city of Nottingham has whole-heartedly got behind the sport’s newest discipline and it was fantastic to see Great Britain put in a show-stopping performance in front of a home crowd.”