Australia has come from behind to claim a top ten finish in the ITU World Teams Triathlon Championship in Lausanne tonight – finishing seventh in the event that looks almost certain to be included in the 2016 Olympic Games.
In what is best described as a â€œtriathlon relayâ€, each of the four-member mixed team (two men and two women) completes a â€œsuper sprintâ€ course of 500m swim, 5km bike and 1.2kn run â€“ a thrilling format of non-stop action which takes just over an hour to complete.
The Australia number I team of Emma Jackson, Brad Kahlefeldt, Emma Moffatt and Brendan Sexton were some 2 minutes 14 seconds behind the victorious Great Britain team of Helen Stimpson, Jonathan Brownlee, Helen Jenkins and Alistair Brownlee.
But their seventh place came after being well back early with Australia’s second team of Felicity Abram, Peter Kerr, Felicity Sheedy-Ryan and Mitch Robins finishing in 13th place.
Sexton stormed home as the Australian team played catch-up from the outset, which saw two-time winners and defending champions Switzerland take silver and Germany, despite a 15second penalty, third.
Jackson, obviously feeling the effects of yesterday’s heart-stopping finish where she finished second to Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz in the ITU World Sprint Championship (Click here), started out for the Australia I team.
She tagged Kahlefeldt in 16th place after Australia II’s Abram tagged Under 23 representative Peter Kerr in 11th.
It was a frantic pace from the outset and the two Australian teams were well back from the opening swim leg with Abram 17th and Jackson 24th.
It may have been the first time the Brits had entered a team in a World Championship â€“ which attracted 34 teams – but it certainly won’t be the last.
With Britain’s Jonathon Brownlee, who defended his ITU World Sprint Championship on Saturday very much in the hunt, it was always going to be a major task to beat the very inform Brits â€“ the dominant force in the world of triathlon in 2011.
Brownlee wasted no time in putting the Brits into the lead just after T2 before he and Frenchman Vincent Luis ran shoulderâ€“to-shoulder into the second change over, recording the fastest run splits of 4 minutes 01 secs and 4min 02 secs.
Kahlefeldt produced a brilliant solo ride and passed Kerr early in the run as he charged the Australia I team into tenth with a solid run before he tagged Moffatt who had her work cut out as Jenkins kept the British team in the lead, with Switzerland, Germany and France left to fight out silver bronze.
Moffatt caught up one place and sent anchor man Sexton into the final leg in 9th place and the emerging Victorian star again improved the Australians placing to ensure their top 10 finish, with Australia II in 13th.