EDMONTON, Alberta — The U.S. team of Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.), Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) and Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) took silver at the final stop of the ITU World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series in Edmonton on Saturday. With that effort, Team USA has reached the podium in all three stops of the inaugural series — winning the season opener in Nottingham, England, and taking bronze at the ITU World Mixed Relay Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
Saturday’s race was held at Hawrelak Park, and 22 teams competed for top honors. In the mixed relay format, teams are comprised of two women and two men from the same country. Each athlete completed a super-sprint triathlon featuring a 300-meter swim, 6.6-kilometer bike and 1.6-kilometer run before passing off to the next teammate, alternating women and men. The fast-paced, spectator-friendly discipline will debut as a medal event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Australia came away with the win in a combined time of 1 hour, 19 minutes, 29 seconds, while the U.S. finished a close second in 1:19:31. New Zealand rounded out the podium in 1:19:39, the first time that country has been on the mixed relay medal stand this season.
Spivey started things off for the U.S., finishing the swim in second place just behind Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth. The two teamed up on the bike, riding slightly ahead of the rest of the field — but the gap closed on the run, and Spivey tagged off to Rider in a crowded tag zone with five other teams.
Rider had a smooth swim and found himself in a strong bike pack with France’s Vincent Luis, Great Britain’s Jonny Brownlee, Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk, Australia’s Aaron Royle, Belgium’s Marten Van Riel and New Zealand’s Tayler Reid. The group separated on the run, but Rider kept the U.S. in the mix. He tagged off to Kasper in fifth place, 23 seconds back from leading teams Great Britain and France.
The third leg saw Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown go for a solo breakaway on the bike, while Kasper and the chase group reeled in France’s Mathilde Gautier. Taylor-Brown held onto her lead on the run, tagging off to teammate Christopher Perham for the anchor leg. New Zealand’s Nicole Van Der Kaay had been chasing the Briton, and was in second place just 13 seconds back when she handed off to teammate Hayden Wilde.
McElroy, Belgium’s Jelle Geens, France’s Simon Viain and Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle dove into the water together about 10 seconds back from Wilde. The four men caught the New Zealander by the first transition, and soon reeled in Perham on the bike.
The medals would come down to the final run, and Birtwhistle and McElroy had the legs to pull ahead. The Australian used his signature finishing kick to pull away from McElroy in the final 200 meters, securing gold for his team. McElroy crossed the line just two seconds later for silver, and Wilde finished eight seconds after that to claim bronze for New Zealand.
With the ITU World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series concluded for the season, the world’s top triathletes will turn their focus to the remainder of the individual ITU World Triathlon Series. The series heads to Montreal, Québec, from Aug. 25-26, the last stop before September’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.
2018 ITU World Mixed Relay Edmonton
4x300m swim, 6.6k bike, 1.6k run
1. Australia, 1:19:29
2. United States (Taylor Spivey, Seth Rider, Kirsten Kasper, Matt McElroy), 1:19:31
3. New Zealand, 1:19:39
4. Belgium, 1:19:48
5. France, 1:19:54
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).