A total of 22 teams will be lining up in Edmonton this Saturday for the last leg of the 2018 ITU Mixed Relay Series, with all the countries on top of the current Olympic Qualification Ranking trying to get some valuable points in the last Mixed Relay event of the season. And with most of the teams lining up slightly different athletes than in previous races, the fight for the podium will be wide open.
Current World Champions, the French team will be saving their best bullet for the end, with Vincent Luis doing again the last leg, the same one he did in Hamburg two weeks ago to claim the title, although this time it will be Sandra Dodet and Mathilde Gautier accompanying Luis and Dorian Coninx. All of them are great swimmers and pretty strong in sprint distance, which puts again Les Bleus among the favourites.
But the battle will most likely be fierce with the current silver medallists, the Aussies, with the same team in Edmonton that the one that performed extremely well in Hamburg. Natalie Van Coevorden, Aaron Royle, Ashleigh Gentle and Jacob Birtwhistle are ready to be in the podium again, and it will be hard to beat this squad, with two of the best swimmers of the field and two of the best runners.
All eyes will be set also on the British team, after the extraordinary performance of the Brit women in the individual race, claiming four out of the first five places. Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jessica Learmonth will team up with Jonathan Brownlee and a newcomer in the team, Christopher Perham, who didn’t compete in the individual race to save some energy for the Relay. The Brits, seconds in Nottingham, were left out of the podium in Hamburg, and will be trying to get back in to show that they are still to be considered one of the strongest teams in the world.
Another team that has changed their formation for Edmonton is the USA. Only Kirsten Kasper will be racing this Saturday, in this occasion with Taylor Spivey, Seth Rider and Matthew MacElroy, all ready to keep the Americans in the top places of the ranking.
Racing on home soil will probably give some extra power to the Canadians, but New Zealand -with Andrea Hewitt back in the team-, Netherlands -with Rachel Klamer, who really enjoys and performs well in this format- and Germany will be hard to beat and are getting more and more experience in the Mixed Relay, which makes the thrilling format even more engaging.
Edmonton will have the largest field of the seasons, with teams like China, Hong Kong and Poland doing their debut in the Series.
This innovative format, who will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020, comprises of two men and two women from the same country each completing a “mini” triathlon before tagging off to a teammate. By executing a super-sprint distance race, the relay begins when a teammate completes a 300m swim, 6.6km bike and 1.km run course and then tags off to a teammate in a female-male-female-male alternative format.