Great Britain win mixed relay bronze as Netherlands seal Road World Championships gold
Netherlands add World title to victory at European Championships last month
Last Updated: 23/09/19 10:24am
Great Britain won bronze in the team time trial mixed relay in the opening race of the UCI Road World Championships in Harrogate.
The British team of Dan Bigham, John Archibald, Harry Tanfield, Anna Henderson, Lauren Dolan and Joss Lowden finished behind winners Netherlands and Germany.
The event, which features three male and three female riders, was being held at world level for the first time.
The host nation finished four seconds ahead of Italy, whose race was wrecked by a puncture for Elisa Longo Borghini, the strongest rider in their women's team.
"We never anticipated getting a medal," Tanfield said. "From the start we knew it could be close, but, with the teams Italy, Germany and the Netherlands have, we knew they were going to be super strong."
Tanfield was competing only three weeks after the sudden death of his mum Clare.
"For my family and stuff to come and watch, to come away with a medal is fantastic," the 24-year-old said. "That's why I wanted to do it, for my mum to be proud of me."
The event, new to the world championships in place of the trade team time trial, saw teams of three male riders tackle the 14km course around Harrogate, with the women setting off in relay once the second man had crossed the line.
Britain set the fastest time from the first wave of teams to take to the roads in damp conditions, and remained top of the time sheets after the second wave of four teams completed their runs.
Italy, Germany and Netherlands, who named Bauke Mollema, Jos Van Emden, Lucinda Brand and Amy Pieters in their team, were all that remained, but the odds were still against Britain until Borghini suffered a puncture.
Italy had been 14 seconds up on GB's pace at the time, but, as Borghini battled to catch her team-mates after a bike change, that advantage disappeared and they crossed the line just four seconds off the podium.
"It's a really tricky one," said Lowden. "Obviously we want to win, but you don't want to see people fail. What an amazing ride to get back on. She deserved a medal for that really."
The Dutch, who won the event when it was staged for the first time at the European Championships last month, finished in a time of 38 minutes 27.60 seconds, 22.75 seconds ahead of Germany and 51.27 seconds ahead of Britain.
"We like it of course, because we won," Mollema said of the format.
"The UCI I read are thinking about making (it) for the Olympics 2024 and of course that will be a big step for this event, then there will be more countries focusing on it.
"I think it is nice, it is something different, something new. We have to give if a few years to see what it brings."