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Germany are the Mixed Relay Team Time Trial World Champions!

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The Netherlands are second, with Italy taking bronze. The Dutch women put in a monster ride but could only pull back three of the seconds they needed at the back end of the race.
Final standings:

Germany 50:49.10
Netherlands +12.79
Italy +37.74
Switzerland +37.79
Great Britain +54.99

Germany smash the time set by Switzerland

As a smiling Stefan Kung looks on, the German women destroy their time by 37 seconds. Realistically, only the Dutch can beat them now. Belgium and Denmark's women have all gone through slower than Great Britain, but the German ride has knocked Dowsett et all off the podium.

The dream is on for Germany

Their three women all rode in the track pursuit in Tokyo, so they know each other well, and they are flying, passing the time check twenty seconds ahead of Switzerland. Italy go through the same point 15.84 seconds back. The Dutch riding very short turns, not a great sign that they're in business, are less than a second quicker than Italy. They've brought back more than half the time they needed, but can they complete the job?

Belgium riding ragged

Halfway through the second half, they’re 23 seconds off the pace set by Switzerland. It’s safe to say, with 8.4km left of their race, they won’t be challenging for the medals. Denmark are similarly struggling to stay in touch, as they go through 4th so far.

Italy lead

They have twenty seconds over Germany, with the Netherlands a further twenty seconds to make up to challenge for the jerseys. Were it anyone other than Van Vleuten, Van Dijk and Markus, you’d say it was too large a deficit, but these are three of the strongest time triallists in the business. Two seconds per kilometre? Pah.

It’s very very tight at the top

As the final teams head to the handover and the second half of the race, there’s very little between them. Certainly it’s too close to call between Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. What can the women’s teams do? Shame the clock doesn’t manage to actually stop as Tony Martin crosses the line...

Germany go seven seconds faster than Belgium

Could the dream finish for Tony the Tank be on? My only encounter with him came at a Katusha training camp a few years ago, where I made the mistake of saying he only had two world TT rainbow jerseys, when he actually had four to his name. That didn’t go down very well, I can tell you. Despite the eternal cringe of that, I’ve been a huge fan of the way he’s wound down his career, as a true captain of Jumbo Visma, and I’d be pleased as punch if he were to close his career with a victory.

All teams now out on the road

The Italian men clip in, followed three minutes later by the Dutch. It should come down to these two teams, but Germany and Tony Martin might have something to say about that. Belgium’s men go through the time check one second faster than the time set by Great Britain, while Denmark are five seconds back.

Switzerland go supersonic

Not long after Anna Henderson leads Jos Lowden over the line in her bright yellow Jumbo helmet, taking 74 seconds off the time set by the USA shortly before, Switzerland bring their ride home with an advantage of 17.2 seconds. That's the fastest we've seen so far, but given the talent in both sides of the Swiss team, Great Britain have performed really well. Don't rule out a medal for them, even with five teams to go.

Wave three…

As the second wave teams arrive back in Bruges, Belgium are the first of the final set to start. Even without Remco and Wout they’re a strong team. I’ve long been a fan of Victor Campenaerts, and who doesn’t admire Yves Lampaert? Denmark go in three minutes time, followed by Germany, Italy and Netherlands at 14:52.

Switzerland in trouble

Elise Chabbey goes out the back with 11km to go. That’s a long ride with only two team-mates. Have things swung back in favour of the Brits, who still have all three riders?

The king of Belgium spotted at the start

And Philippe I, as well. You see the joke there is that Eddy Merckx is the true monarch and he’s on the screen as well. Probably more of a visual gag, that.

Switzerland lead going into the second half

Bissenger, Kung and Schmid end their ride and pass a seven second advantage to Reusser, Koller and Chabbey to defend. If anyone can do it, it’s these three. France hand their women a mountain to climb on this pan-flat course. They start their ride almost eighty seconds behind Switzerland.

Big advantage for the GB women

The men come through with 39.27 seconds over the USA, who were themselves comfortably ahead of the previous fastest time at that point so far, set by Spain. Those three demonstrably emptied themselves. What can Switzerland come up with in the second half of their run?

Great Britain set the fastest time at the first time check

15:38.62 for Bigham, Archibald and Dowsett is almost 23 seconds faster than the time set by the USA. Although they're within a second, the Swiss are still slower, which tells you how good that time is. Some speculation on the telly as to what Dan Bigham has protruding from the front of his suit, which Hutch describes as a "monoboob."
Back down the road Benjamin Thomas suffers a mechanical, which surely does for the French.

54:54.65 at the finish from Spain

The second team to complete their run, 2:23 faster than the UCI squad. No catch but a strong finish from the women from the north of the country. Poland's women come through to outdo them by 42 seconds. That’s a mighty mighty ride from the Poles.

Great Britain off and riding

Alex Dowsett we know lots about, and while Bigham and Archibald might not have ridden much at the highest level, if there’s any discipline both are suited to, it’s this one. “They’re going to punch above their weight,” says Dr. Hutch, “it’s just a question of how far above.”
The Swiss, with two strong Stefans, are on the road as well.

UCI down to two riders

It’s the Lithuanian who drops off with just under 10km left to ride. They went through the second intermediate split in 45:32, with Spain going through two minutes quicker than that. The Polish women have gained ground after taking over, and were eight seconds to the good at the time check.

The second wave is about to get underway

The men from the USA hit the beach at ten to the hour, followed by Great Britain, Switzerland and France. These are the first of the possible contenders, but see below for my assessment of these teams. The French team is probably the weakest of the lot.

Who are in the women’s teams?

The UCI team have Tereza Medveďová, the Slovakian national champion, 21 year-old Anastasiya Kolesava from Belarus, and Akvilė Gedraitytė of Lithuania.
The Spanish trio is made up of two riders from Movistar, Sara Martin and Lourdes Oyarbide, and Ziortza Isasi, who came 35th in the individual time trial on Monday.
Austria have the Schweinberger twins, Christina and Kathrin, and Sarah Rikes, who rides for Ceratizit-WNT. One of these three went a moment or two early, and had to track stand down the ramp. No danger of competing for the medals and no advantage gained, so I’d let that one go, if I was the commissaire. We'll see what happens.

The first handovers

The UCI World Cycling centre men come to the line with all three riders, and hand over to their female partners. Their time is 28:10.66, which Spain beat by 1:50 when they come through not long after. “There’s something a little underwhelming about the handover” says Michael Hutchinson. Meanwhile, the Polish men are labouring towards the line.

Puncture for Poland

Barely 10km into their ride and with Bartosz Rudyk suffering a mechanical Poland are already down to two riders. Fair to say not only is it gonna be painful for this pair, but that’s it for their ambitions of being competitive, and they’re already 8 seconds behind the time set by Spain. Channel the Trofeo Barrachi, advises Rob Hatch. The UCI trio are a further minute back, setting a time of 17:47 at the 14km time check.

Last of the first wave

Time to point out that the squads set off in three distinct waves, with the Austrians who have just started their ride, the last of the first one. The UCI team is making good progress through the Flandrian countryside, with their handover expected to come in about 12-15 minutes or so. There's no baton to physically pass, but the women will start when the second men crosses the line in Bruges.

Vamos, Espana

As the Spanish team get going, Rob Hatch points out that this is not the strongest teamthey could have put out. He’s not wrong, as only one of these three - Lluis Mas - rides for a WorldTour team, and even he's not one of their big names.

And they’re off…

The first riders take to the road. This is the Centre Mondial du Cyclism team AKA the neutrals, from the UCI cycling centre team, made up of pros from a few different countries.
The men are Paul Daumont from Burkina Faso, Jean Eric Habimana of Rwanda, and Ahmad Badreddin Wais of Syria.

Mixed relay TTTs, how do they work?

The UCI have produced a natty little animation to explain all:
Which I don't think it does, but it's still quite nice.

So who goes when?

PCS have the skinny on that one. That’s local time, so first riders roll in 30 minutes.

Go! Team

Welcome to live coverage of race number six from Flanders 2021. It’s Mixed Relay time, the newest of the World Championship events. This is only the second time it’s appeared at the Worlds, and the first since Harrogate 2019. The eagle-eyed of you will have spied it at the European Championships two weeks ago, while some might even remember it also featured in the African continental championships, back in March. In the Euros, Italy came out on top, while South Africa beat the Rwandan and Ethiopian teams to take that title. Of those, only Italy is on the ramp today.
The courses are similar to those already ridden over the first three days of competition, for a total distance of 44.5km. Each country’s trio of male riders will roll down the ramp in Knokke-Heist, along the beach, before making a beeline for Bruges, where they will hand over to their better halves. The women’s loop heads back down the road the men rode in on, turning right towards Damme, before rejoining the course at Dudzele.
It’s great to see both men’s and women’s individual TT world champions lining up for their countries. It only adds credibility to the competition and will be a draw to television audiences, as well as those who might consider watching from the road.
That said, it’s a little disappointing that neither of the home nation’s biggest two names have opted to ride this one. In Belgium at the moment, there’s Wout, Remco and the rest.
For not entirely that reason, though it plays a part, I’m going to rule Belgium out of contention before they’ve even rolled down the ramp.
When this event made its debut two years ago, I correctly called the Dutch and it would, as they say, be a fool who bets against them. Still, it’s not quite the foregone conclusion as it was in the women’s individual race, with the men’s trio not quite packing the same level of starpower.
While most of the teams are either much stronger in favour of one sex or another, there are several evenly balances squads that could well compete today. USA, with Leah Thomas, Ruth Winder, Brandon McNulty and Neilson Powless is one. Germany, who finished second in this race at the Euros, and who have Lisas Brennauer and Klein, plus Nikias Arndt and Tony Martin - in his last race before retirement - is another. The Swiss have Marlen Reusser and Stefan Keung among their number. Watch out for the British squad as well: John Archibald, Dan Bigham, Alex Dowsett… these boys know aero.

What is the mixed relay team time trial?

The mixed relay sees teams of three men and three women compete against each other in a team time trial. The men's teams start in Knokke-Heist and begin the charge towards Bruges, with the women's teams taking over after 22.5km and completing the final 22km.
The Netherlands won the first edition in 2019 in Yorkshire, with the event shelved last year as the event was hastily switched from Switzerland to Italy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

GB's Backstedt wins junior world time trial silver in Belgium

Zoe Backstedt won silver in the women's junior time trial at the Road World Championships.
The 16-year-old Welsh rider finished the 19.4km course in 25:16, 10 seconds behind Russian winner Alena Ivanchenko.
"The Russian rode so strong," Backstedt told Eurosport afterwards as Ivanchenko pipped her to the finish line.
"I don't know how she did it. I could not have gone harder. I was absolutely gasping by the end. I was seeing stars.
"I'm really happy with a silver medal. It's my first world championship so to be on the podium is amazing."
Backstedt's second-placed finish means her and her older sister Elynor, 19, have been on the junior women's TT podium every Championships since 2018.
Zoe's father Magnus, won the Paris-Roubaix classic in 2004, was calling the race on Eurosport commentary.

World Championships: Zoe Backstedt claims silver behind Ivanchenko in women's junior time trial

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