Spain Scores Mixed Relay Win
In a thrilling hour of racing that saw constant lead changes until the very last second, Spain proved victorious in the 2016 ITU Under23/Junior Mixed Relay World Championships, just edging Great Britain and Australia for the win. The British team took silver, followed by the Australians.
Each relay member completed a 250m swim, 5km bike and 1.6km run tagging off in order of woman-man-woman-man.
It was then Australia, New Zealand, Japan and France that took off on their bikes first in the second leg, with a cluster of teams on their heels. Although Mathew Baker (AUS), Tom Richard (FRA), and Tayler Reid (NZL) got their relays a small lead onto the run, Great Britain’s Ben Dijkstra ran through the field to put the Brits back in the mix, tagging off in third just seconds behind.
Although Australia, Great Britain, France and Japan got to their bikes first with the third relay member, the women’s Junior World Champion Taylor Knibb (USA) worked her prowess on the bike to bridge up. She then bypassed the competition just like she did when she won her world title to tag off to Austin Hindman, himself also the 2016 Junior World Champ.
Hindman hung onto the lead through the swim and onto the bike for a four-second lead over Australia and Spain.
After a disappointing showing in the men’s Under23 race, David Castro Fajardo (ESP) redeemed himself with a dominating performance in Mixed Relay, moving Spain into the lead on the bike as the anchor of the Spanish team. Calum Johnson (GBR) joined Castro in passing Hindman when their feet hit pavement.
Castro and Johnson ran stride for stride on the short run, but Castro was able to hold off the Brit in a sprint finish to take the World Championships for Spain. Great Britain flew over next for silver, followed by Australia in bronze.