Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Australia Rallies for Mixed Relay Victory at World Triathlon Series

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Australia Rallies for Mixed Relay Victory at World Triathlon Series

Article excerpt

Australia rallies for mixed relay victory


EDMONTON - A spectacular final leg by Jacob Birtwhistle propelled Australia to a come-from-behind victory in the elite mixed relay at the ITU World Triathlon Series Edmonton on Saturday.

Birtwhistle was part of a group that erased a 26-second lead for Great Britain's Christopher Perham, who was swallowed up by the pack in the bicycle portion. The Australian then took off during the run, crossing the finish line in one hour, 19 minutes, 21 seconds -- two seconds ahead of American Matthew McElroy.

"I was confident we were going to catch that Great British athlete, and it was able to come down to a running race, which is how I like it, so I was able to finish off well for the team," Birtwhistle said after capturing gold teammates with Ashleigh Gentle, Aaron Royle and Natalie Van Coevorden.

New Zealand placed third, eight seconds back of the United States in an event scheduled to make its Olympic debut in 2020 in Tokyo.

Britain, which led for much of the first three legs, finished sixth. Host Canada settled for seventh.

Saturday's triumph capped a terrific two days for Birtwhistle in Edmonton. Less than 24 hours earlier, the 23-year-old won bronze in the men's elite race.

"I was looking to come here and race well, and thankfully I was able to do that and jump on the podium twice," said Birtwhistle, who is third in the WTS elite men's rankings. "After the individual (race), to get back up today with a win with the team is pretty cool."

Joanna Brown of Carp, Ont., led off for Canada, followed by Victoria's Matthew Sharpe. Cowichan, B.C., native Desirae Ridenour raced third before tagging to Tyler Mislawchuk of Oak Bluff, Man.

"We stayed in contact with the leaders, which is the game plan with this relay -- you're in until you're not," Mislawchuk said. "At the end it came down to a five-way sprint, so we just have to figure out a way to get ourselves into that five-way sprint. …

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