France outpaces Great Britain for gold in the Mixed Team Relay, Belgium secures bronze medal Cyclo-cross

France outpaces Great Britain for gold in the Mixed Team Relay, Belgium secures bronze medal

France outpaces Great Britain for gold in the Mixed Team Relay, Belgium secures bronze medal

On Friday afternoon, France clinched the gold medal in the Mixed Team Relay at the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Tabor. The French team, consisting of juniors Célia Gery and Aubin Sparfel, under-23 riders Martin Groslambert and Lauriane Duraffourg, Rémi Lelandais, and elite woman Hélène Clauzel, proved stronger than Great Britain and Belgium in the Czech town.

The British team aimed for a strong start, immediately putting star Zoë Backstedt in the opening position. The French, who were also favorites, had a slower start, with Rémi Lelandais slipping from his pedal and having to chase from behind. On the slippery course, Van den Boer did his utmost but had to close a gap to the Polish under-23 rider Marek Konwa and the Italian junior Filippo Agostinacchio.

Backstedt struggled to keep up with the pace of the nine men and finished her round forty seconds behind. During the handovers, no mistakes were made, and the French, Italians, Belgians, Poles, and Americans stayed relatively close to each other. The Czech Kristýna Zemanová, like Backstedt, faced a significant challenge against the male competitors and ended up with a considerable delay.

Mason struggles against young Frenchman

After the second round, different riders were sent into the field, creating an initial gap between the leading trio of France, Italy, and Belgium. This didn't last long, however, as the French under-23 rider Célia Gery put Valentina Corvi and De Schoesitter behind her. Elite woman Clara Honsinger then used her experience to close the gap.

Géery passed the baton to Lauriane Duraffourg with a thirty-second lead. However, the French U23 rider fell twice, sharing the lead with British Oscar Amey. The Belgians, in fifth place, faced a fifty-second deficit. They had only started with elite riders Cant and Vanthourenhout, but the gap to Anna Kay had already become too large. The 33-year-old Belgian did not let this deter her, however, recovering twenty seconds on her teammate, who had to relinquish the lead to the French.

Vanthourenhout began his stint with a 38-second deficit, which quickly proved to be too much. Meanwhile, Cameron Mason kept struggling against the young Frenchman Aubin Sparfel. The two entered the very last turn together, but it was Sparfel who outpaced Mason in the sprint.

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