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Netherlands open the world championships with victory in the mixed relay

Powerful Dutch squad beat Germany and Great Britain in the first-ever world championship mixed team time trial relay.

The Dutch squad took the first gold medal of the Yorkshire 2019 world road cycling championships on Sunday with a win in the mixed team time trial relay. Germany placed second, with home nation Great Britain taking third.

The strong Dutch squad of Lucinda Brand, Riejanne Markus, Amy Pieters, Koen Bouwman, Bauke Mollema, and Jos van Emden were among the pre-race favorites to take the first world championship edition of the discipline and didn’t disappoint, beating Germany by 23 seconds and Great Britain by 51 seconds.

“It’s fantastic to be world champions here,” said Dutch rider Mollema. “It’s so hard to do a team time trial with three riders. The course was really hard with the rain, and being really up and down. I think we did a really good performance technically, and Jos van Emden and Koen Boeman were pulling so hard. The women did an amazing job to finish off, it was really nice.”

Great Britain set the fastest time early on in the race. Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Each nation’s race took part in two stages, with three men riding a team time trial for one 14-kilometer lap before handing over to three women, who then raced another lap. The cumulative time was taken as the final result.

10 nations took part, along with the UCI World Cycling Centre team. The United States did not field a team.

After heavy rain fell in the hour before the race got underway, the circuit was sodden, leaving teams taking the technical twisting course very cautiously. The constantly undulating route and greasy surface saw many teams losing riders off the back as they struggled to hold wheels on the sharp ramps or lost contact with teammates through corners.

Great Britain were the fastest nation of the initial group to take to the road, posting a time of 39:18.

The Italian team’s men put in a fast first split, beating the British men’s split time. The Italian women’s trio lost Elisa Longo Borghini for almost 8km but managed to maintain their nation’s advantage over Great Britain as they continued as a pair. However, when they decided to sit up and wait for Longo Borghini, who had been chasing hard and wasn’t far back, they lost valuable seconds and finished down on Great Britain, five seconds off the home squad’s time.

The German women’s trio secured a silver medal for their nation. Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The German and Dutch teams were pre-race favorites thanks to the strength across all six of their riders, and were the last two squads on the road. Having won the same event at the European Championships this year, the pressure was on the Netherlands in particular.

The German men looked set to beat the British men’s split time but faded at the last, with the women’s trio going out with a handful of seconds to make up in order to beat Great Britain. The trio of Lisa Brennauer, Lisa Klein, and Mieke Kröger put in a blistering performance however, and left their nation with the provisional fastest time, 28 seconds up on Great Britain with just the Netherlands yet to finish.

The Netherlands’ men of Koen Bouwman, Bauke Mollema, and Jos van Emden came home 20 seconds up on the time set by Great Britain. That left the Dutch women Lucinda Brand, Riejanne Markus, and Amy Pieters to battle to beat the time Germany had set, and they rode faultlessly, building on their male teammates’ performance to deliver the gold medal.

The racing continues Monday with the junior women’s and men’s individual time trials.

World Championships Mixed Team Time Trial Results:

  1. The Netherlands    0:38:28
  2. Germany               +0:00:23
  3. Great Britain        +0:00:51
  4. Italy                      +0:00:56
  5. France                    +0:01:23
  6. Switzerland           +0:01:27