Stockholm, Sweden (Augus 26, 2012) - A stellar final leg from Jonathan Brownlee helped Great Britain defend its ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championship in tough wet conditions in Stockholm on Sunday.
After sitting in 14th after the first leg completed by Vicky Holland, Great Britain had to come from behind the entire race, but William Clarke and Non Stanford helped them edge back before Brownlee took the lead in dramatic fashion on the first lap of the bike and stormed home to help his team win in an overall time of 1 hour 26 minutes and 48 seconds.
France's team of Jessica Harrison, Tony Moulai, Carole Peon and Vincent Luis claimed silver, while Russia's Irina Abysova, Dmitry Polyanskiy, Alexandra Razarenova and Alexander Bryukhankov claimed bronze.
Brownlee was the only member of the team to back up from last year's world title, and said it was a thrilling event to be part of.
"It's a very exciting event to take part of," Brownlee said. "It would be great if we could get into the Olympics as well. It is very exciting, it changes so much throughout the whole race and it's good to watch. It's great to be part of the Team GB again, to only have two world relay championships and to be part of both of them is pretty cool, hopefully I can keep it going."
But Great Britain had to work hard from the start as just as they did on Saturday, Sweden's Lisa Norden and the Netherlands Maaike Caelers led out the first leg and put their teams in front at the first changeover. They were followed by Japan, Germany's first team, France and Spain, with Great Britain back in 14th place after Vicky Holland's first leg.
The swim played a pivotal role in the second leg, while the lead Norden gave to Per Wangel meant he exited the water first, he was followed quickly by Italy's Alessandro Fabian, France's Tony Moulai, Hungary's Akos Vanek, Spain's Fernando Alarza and New Zealand's Kris Gemmell.
Together they formed a tight lead pack of six, but it was Fabian, Moulai and Germany's Gregor Buchholz who took the upper hand on the run and handed off to Annamaria Mazzetti, Carole Peon and Anne Haug. Just behind them though was Great Britain's William Clarke and Russia's Dmitry Polyanskiy, who put Non Stanford and Alexandra Razeranova within touch of the leaders.
At the start of the third leg it was Spain's Caroline Routier who came out with the best swim, taking Spain from sixth to first out of the water. Routier, Haug and Peon then formed a small break off the front, before Haug powered off into the lead and time-trialled most of the 6km bike and then ran solo for the 2km to hand off to Steffen Justus who was the German team's anchor.
Behind Haug though, Stanford was running through the field to put Great Britain in second heading into the final leg, although Jonathan Brownlee started with a 28-second deficit.
But Brownlee halved that gap over the 300m swim and coming out of transition he and Luis, who had bridged up from fifth to third after the swim, were within sight of Justus. Then just a few hundred metres out of T1, the German slipped going around a corner and had to watch as Brownlee and Luis and then Russia's Bryukhankov rode past him. He then started riding with Germany's second team member Franz Loeschke, but slipped again not long after to fall out of medal contention.
Brownlee went hard from T2 and said that was his strategy to shake off Luis. He did just that, leading Great Britain to their second consecutive ITU Mixed Relay World Championship. Luis finished strongly for France, to put them into silver. Click here for full review
2012 Stockholm ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships - 26 August 2012
Final Results - 4x 300m swim, 6km bike, 2km run
1. Team I GREAT BRITAIN GBR 01:26:48
2. Team I FRANCE FRA 01:26:58
3. Team I RUSSIA RUS 01:27:31
4. Team II GERMANY GER 01:28:06
5. Team I SWITZERLAND SUI 01:28:38
6. Team I SPAIN ESP 01:28:43
7. Team I ITALY ITA 01:28:52
8. Team I HUNGARY HUN 01:29:05
9. Team I UKRAINE UKR 01:29:20
10. Team I NEW ZEALAND NZL 01:29:27