France retained its title at the International Triathlon Union (ITU) 2020 Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships after a neck-and-neck final leg with the United States and Britain.
Dorian Coninx anchored home the quartet of Leonie Periault, Leo Bergere and Cassandre Beaugrand to finish top of a field of 19 teams in a time of 1 hour 18min 25sec.
The US were just eight seconds behind as they won silver while Britain ended the race 34 seconds behind the winners.
Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown showed the gulf in talent after the first leg, finishing 13 seconds ahead of a pack of chasers a day after her World Championship win in the women’s individual race.
In that group were the US, Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway and the Czech Republic with Brazil and The Netherlands close behind.
Barclay Izzard had the task of keeping Britain in front, but was caught on the swimming leg with Bergere of France being the first out of the water and into the transition on to the bike course.
France dropped back into second place after Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt powered past him on the pedals, before extending his lead to 15 seconds at the end of leg two.
Bergere finished his leg with Jelle Geens of Belgium, American Kevin McDowell and Izzard rounding off the top five.
Stina Dale had a healthy lead for Norway, but was soon swallowed up and tumbled down the standings as Beaugrand and Belgium’s Claire Michel overtook her.
However, two of the fastest triathletes in the world, Britain’s Jessica Learmonth and the US’ Katie Zaferes brought their sides firmly into contention for the title, moving into the podium places and along with the French athlete, pulled away from Michel.
Just a matter of seconds split the three, but Zaferes was the first to pass over to the anchor leg.
Morgan Pearson was the first out for the US and was quickly followed by Coninx and Britain’s Alex Yee – the latter finishing fifth yesterday at the World Championships.
Yet, Coninx was the best in the water with Pearson on his shoulder and a good transition keeping Yee in touch.
Coninx, aware of Yee’s speed as a runner, put the hammer down to give himself a massive gap on the bike – having 16 seconds on Pearson and 31 on Yee.
Over the 1.3 kilometre run, Pearson closed in on the Frenchman, but not close enough to stop France winning the title ahead of the US and Britain.
Norway finished strongly to take fourth place and were followed by Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy to complete the top ten.
France’s win made it their third title in a row and fourth in total – a new record.