The Great Britain mixed relay team of Tom Bishop, Sophie Coldwell, Grant Sheldon and Georgia Taylor-Brown secured silver to end AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds with three medals for GB.
This was the first time Leeds had hosted the elite mixed relay and thanks to a strong team performance, culminating in a superb final leg from Taylor-Brown, saw the British team on the podium, much to the delight of the home support around Roundhay Park.
Tom Bishop was first to take on the 300m swim, 6.9km bike and a 1.9km run, and positioned GB towards the front of the race throughout his leg.
Bishop handed over to Coldwell eighth having been in the main chasing pack on the bike. Coldwell had one of the strongest swims on leg two, moving Great Britain into second place heading out of transition one.
Coldwell remained well-placed on the bike within the front group of around 10 athletes and headed out onto the run in second place. As the individual bronze medallist headed back towards Waterloo Lake to where the athlete changeovers occurred, Coldwell had taken over the race lead with the fastest run split of the second leg.
Sheldon took over at the halfway stage of the race and after the swim remained in a strong position in third, behind the teams of Belgium and Germany. On the bike, Jelle Geens (BEL) and the bronze medallist from the individual race Lasse Luhrs (GER) became a leading duo, chased by another individual medallist Leo Bergere of France.
Great Britain remained in contention, with Sheldon working hard on both the bike and run to tag Taylor-Brown in eighth.
By the time, Taylor-Brown, who claimed individual silver on Saturday, entered transition one she had already gained three places and exited transition leading a chase group of three behind the leaders of Belgium, Germany and France.
With the chasing group closing the gap on the leaders, it all came down to the final 1.9km, and Taylor-Brown moved up into second in the early stages of the run.
Taylor-Brown posted the fastest female split of the day as she came past the grandstand and across the finish line to claim silver, 14 seconds behind race winners Germany and six seconds ahead of bronze medallists France.
Reflecting on the race and crossing the line, Taylor-Brown said: “It felt incredible. It was nice for the girls to bring it home with the change to the format. The crowds around the run were ridiculous and it just gives you that little bit extra. You can’t even hear yourself breathe.
“I think we’re quite lucky that in the Great Britain team we can chop and change things around and still get on the podium so we’re quite fortunate.”
Coldwell added: “I think my legs were suffering a bit from yesterday, but I think you always find a bit extra for the relay and it was just about stepping up and just as close to the front as possible. It was a good day out there. I definitely wasn’t expecting to get on the podium yesterday and obviously getting on the podium today was a complete bonus.”
After receiving a late call-up to race in the elite mixed relay, Bishop said: “I was so nervous. I just had to step up didn’t and do what I could. I got in the race and handed over to Sophie just within grasp of the front of the race. I’m really proud of the medal, it’s been a while so great to be back on the podium.”
Grant Sheldon, who was racing in the elite mixed relay for the first time at a World Triathlon Championship Series race, commented: “It was pretty special to be part of such a strong team and to have this as a semi-home atmosphere, the crowds were amazing. It was really good fun. To have two such strong girls in your team and I was trying to keep in the race to do them proud.”
Full results from the elite mixed relay are available here.