For Australia, this mornings Mixed Relay provided another opportunity to build experience leading into next months' Commonwealth Games, where Australia will be the defending Champions from Gold Coast 2018.
The Mixed Relay World Championships came at the end of an intense few days of action for many of the athletes off the back of the individual World Triathlon Series Championships Montreal Super Sprint Eliminator format.
Montreal racing has proven it's going to be a tough competition in Birmingham, with Commonwealth Games bound teammates Brandon Copeland, Natalie Van Coevorden and Jake Birtwhistle, alongside Tokyo Olympian Jaz Hedgeland featured in the 10th placed Australian team.
France was a runaway winner, taking out their fifth crown in today’s exciting 2022 World Championship relay race and 2024 automatic Olympic qualifier, ahead of Olympic champions Great Britain and Tokyo silver medallists the USA.
Games rookie Brandon Copeland, 11th in the Elite Super Sprint over the weekend, got the Aussies off to a solid start in the 300m swim leg.
After riding through with a full compliment of 16 on the 7.2km bike course, Copeland handed over to Natalie Van Coevorden (also 11th in the women’s event) in seventh after his 1.9km run.
Van Coevorden then swam the Aussies back into fifth, before being trapped in no-man’s land on the bike - stuck in between the leading four teams and an energetic chase pack, doing well to hold her own before eventually coming back to the field in a frustrating leg for Australia’s most consistent female.
Jake Birtwhistle and Jaz Hedgeland were forced to play catch up for the remainder of the race as France, with Cassandre Beaugrand leading the way and the Brits, with a remarkable finish from Georgia Taylor-Brown to secure the silver, USA finishing with the bronze.
Australia, World Champions in 2017, will have Matt Hauser, Charlotte McShane and Sophie Linn in the selection mix for Birmingham alongside Copeland, Birtwhistle and Van Coevorden.
Meanwhile in the Junior/Under 23 Mixed Relay the Australian quartet of three Juniors Toby Powers, Brad Course and Chloe Bateup with emerging Under 23 talent Matilda Offord finished seventh with France, Great Britain and Germany taking the medals.
Offord, who produced an encouraging 17th in her WTC Series debut in the Super Sprint Eliminator in Montreal, ran the young Aussies from just outside the top 10 into seventh in another encouraging performance in the anchor leg from the Sydney youngster.
It’s the Hamburg WTCS next up for the Australians over the Sprint Course on July 6 and 7 with another Mixed Relay opportunity to fine tune their skills before triathlon kick-starts the 22nd Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on July 29.
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