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Switzerland powered home the rainbow jersey in the mixed relay team time trial Wednesday in a race when both the men’s and women’s team dominated the field at the UCI Road World Championships.
Italy finished second at less than three seconds slower on the two-sector race.
Australia set an early marker thanks to a strong ride by the women’s team, and hung on to finish third.
“It’s amazing to win,” said Stefan Küng, who anchored the men’s leg. “We are a small country, but we’re a big nation in time trials. We knew we were going to be good, but it’s amazing to see that it worked out.”
The Swiss men set the fastest time to set up the women, and they finished it off to fend off a strong surge from the Italians by less than three seconds.
“Our strategy was to start strong and finish strong,” said Marlen Reusser. “We wanted to go only so hard so that we could all finish together.”
The third edition of the event at worlds competition was marked by a disaster ride by the favored Dutch team, which saw Bauke Mollema suffer a mechanical early in the men’s leg, and Annemiek van Vleuten crash moments after rolling down the start ramp.
The Dutch still managed to finish in the top-5.
Defending world champions Germany missed out on the podium with fourth.
How it happened
Some 16 teams started, and USA Cycling pulled its squad following a crash by Magnus Sheffield in the men’s time trial Sunday.
The European teams were heavily favored to win, but “home team” Australia put up an early marker that eventually stood up for a podium spot.
Luke Plapp, Luke Durbridge, and elite men’s road race favorite Michael Matthews paced to a steady time, but it was the women’s leg anchored by Alexandra Manly, Sarah Roy, and Georgia Baker that secured the Aussies their medal.
The Australians were getting uncomfortable in the “hot seat” once the favored teams rolled down the start ramp.
Switzerland, starting ahead of Italy, The Netherlands, and Germany, set the winning time thanks to precise riding across both squads.
Italy couldn’t better the men’s segment, but the women powered home to nearly tip the race their way, stopping the clock just under three seconds slow on the 28.2km course.
Australia’s time stood for third at 38 seconds slower.
The real drama came with the Dutch team. Mollema suffered a mechanical just three kilometers into the race, leaving Mathieu van der Poel and Daan Hoole to forge alone. Van Vleuten then crashed just seconds into her ride, leaving Ellen Van Dijk and Riejanne Markus to race their leg as a pair.
Even after losing two of their key riders, the Dutch still managed to stop the clock for fifth at 52 seconds slower.
Podium of the Team Time Trial – Mixed Relay pic.twitter.com/z0Kwy46yC6
— Voxwomen (@Voxwomen) September 21, 2022
World Championships - Mixed Relay TTT Results
Results provided by ProCyclingStats.