Third-place finish marks first medal for U.S. in mixed team relay format
The U.S. team of Sarah Groff, Ben Kanute, Gwen Jorgensen and Cameron Dye raced their way to a bronze medal on Sunday at the 2013 ITU Mixed Relay World Championships.
Each member of the team completed a 300-meter swim, 6.6-kilometer bike and a 1.6-kilometer run to post a final finish time of 1 hour, 18 minutes, 19 seconds en route to bronze, the first medal for the U.S. in this unique and thrilling event.
The home team from Germany sprinted to first place, using the final run leg to move into the lead and finish in 1:17:55. New Zealand was second in 1:18:14.
Groff (Hanover, N.H.) kicked off the day’s action with a strong first leg, leading out of the water and powering through on the bike to leave transition to the run in the top four. She then ran right to the front of the group and refused to give up her lead to Great Britain’s Jodie Stimpson into the first tag.
Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) entered the water with Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain and was first to exit the swim. He and Brownlee were then joined by Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland to form the lead pack on the first lap of the two-lap bike course. Heading into transition, Kanute, Brownlee and Australian Aaron Royle were able to put a bit of distance on the other two teams. Brownlee broke away at the start of the run, but Kanute was able to hold on to a front position as Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.) entered the water.
After finishing sixth in Hamburg yesterday in the individual sprint event, Jorgensen was second out of the water behind Great Britain’s Non Stanford, who would eventually drop out due to a bike crash. Jorgensen then joined forces with Ashleigh Gentile of Australia and New Zealand’s Kate McIlroy, and though they were soon joined by Germany, Italy and France, Jorgensen was in an ideal position heading into the transition.
With the fastest overall split for the women (20:01), Jorgensen was able to move the U.S. back into the lead. Jorgensen gave Dye (Boulder, Colo.) an 11-second advantage entering the water, and he went to work at keeping the Americans at the front of the field. Dye, who typically races in non-drafting events, maintained his lead through the bike leg, but was unable to hold off Germany’s Franz Loeschke and Ryan Sisson of New Zealand heading into the finish.
“I got set up by three great teammates and I’m glad we could bring it home,” Dye said after the race.
Sunday’s bronze medal is the first medal for the U.S. in the mixed team relay event since the format was introduced in 2009. Previously the best finish for the U.S. had been fourth in 2009.
Only two races remain in the 2013 ITU World Triathlon Series, which resumes Aug. 24-25 in Stockholm, Sweden.
3. United States (Sarah Groff, Ben Kanute, Gwen Jorgensen, Cameron Dye), 1:18:19