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  • Taylor-Brown inspires GB to Olympic spot as France win mixed relay


    Image: World Triathlon


    A stunning performance from Georgia Taylor-Brown in the 2022 World Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships has yielded Great Britain the first non-host quota of the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle.


    The winner of the event were to win two quota spots for each gender, automatically entering the winner into the Mixed Relay event in Paris. France, the hosts of the Games, already had these quotas, so if they were to win the race the places would instead go to the runner-up. With at most three athletes per gender qualifying for the individual events per NOC, all NOCs with at least two per gender will automatically enter the mixed relay. There are also eleven specific mixed relay spots, that will automatically qualify two men and two women for the Olympics, and the second of these (after the host spot) was up for grabs in Montreal, Canada on Sunday.


    With Belgium non-starters, sixteen teams entered the race. In the first leg, the whole field was together after the cycling portion but New Zealand's Hayden Wilde and Great Britain's Alex Yee left the field behind them during the run, just like the individual race, and were ahead going into the second leg. During the swim, Brazil, France and Australia caught up to make it a five-woman race, putting them twenty-five seconds ahead of the US in sixth. But the charge from the chasing pack was enough to slowly claw away at the leading five, and going into the final race there was a big pack. But they slowly broke away with France's Emma Lombardi being subject of a surprise challenge from Denmark's Alberte Kjaer Pedersen. But France were happy to cooperate, as they had Vincent Luis on the penultimate leg and as Denmark fell away Luis pulled twenty seconds clear at the end of his swim. With New Zealand's Tayler Reid and the American Kevin McDowell cooperating while fighting for second, Luis was still nineteen seconds clear after the cycle despite riding solo. There was a second pack of chasers: GB, Canada, Switzerland, and Denmark, but they were a further sixteen seconds back and couldn't make any inroads despite GB's newcomer Samuel Dickinson attempting a charge. Furthermore, Dickinson had a missed box ten-second penalty.


    Going into the final leg France were miles in front and all Cassandre Beaugrand had to do was take it home, and in fact all she did was extend her lead. But while there was no doubt who the winner would be, it was looking a tight battle for second. Summer Rappaport of the US was now eight seconds ahead of the Kiwis' Nicole Van Der Kaay, with Taylor-Brown nearly half a minute off that silver place. But a brilliant cycle let her catch them two up somehow, but that wasn't enough: she would have to find more than seconds to contend with the penalty. Van Der Kaay tried to stay with her but ran out of steam and Taylor-Brown took a clear lead. But Rappaport, who had stayed back, was a problem. It was unclear whether Taylor-Brown was clearly ahead: she had to slow down and speed up again while serving the penalty, so the penalty is in actuality more than ten seconds. But as Beaugrand crossed the line for gold, Taylor-Brown emerged just ahead of Rappaport and powered over the line for silver while the Americans got a bronze. It means that two British men and two British women will compete at the Olympics in Paris in the triathlon, which makes a mixed relay team.


    The British team were delighted with the performance despite being pre-race favourites. Alex Yee said he was "absolutely over the moon", while Sophie Coldwell says she was "really proud of everyone". Samuel Dickinson whose penalty nearly cost the team said that he would "buy [Taylor-Brown] some sunglasses or something" to make up for it, while Taylor-Brown joked:



    I was using some very strong curse words for little Samuel on that race there but I am glad we got there in the end!

    Georgia Taylor-Brown, Great Britain

    But Olympic qualification aside today was France's day, and they are worthy world champions. Pierre Le Corre, Emma Lombardi, Vincent Luis and Cassandre Beaugrand are a very good team and they will be relishing an Olympics in front of their home fans. The next chance for teams to qualify will be at the 2023 World event in Hamburg, Germany. The winner of that event (or more precisely, the highest-ranked finisher except for France and Great Britain) will qualify two men and two women, similar to this event.


    Top five times:
    1. France 1:27.14
    2. Great Britain 1:27.34
    3. United States 1:27.44
    4. New Zealand 1:27.53
    5. Canada 1:29.06


    Patrick Green

    Writer, Totallympics News


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