The juggernaut that is the German Mixed Relay team added another European Championship relay gold medal to their collection with victory in Alanya. The 2011 winners, and 2012 runners up, claimed another title after a strong team performance from Anja Knapp, Jonathan Zipf, Rebecca Robisch and Sebastian Rank. Robisch was on the winning side in 2011 and Knapp was involved in Eilat last year.
Alexander Bruykhankov brought home the Russian team for the silver medal with Irina Abysova, Dmitry Polyanskiy and Alexandra Razarenova. Alice Betto, Alessandro Fabian, Annamaria Mazzetti and Davide Uccellari claimed the bronze medal for Italy.
Just as she did in the elite race on Friday, Carolina Routier (ESP) was first up for Spain and led the field out of the water. Margrit Vanek (HUN) followed quickly and Knapp was third out of the water for Germany.
A lead group of ten athletes grouped together after the first bike lap, led by Betto and including European Champion Rachel Klamer, Jess Harrison (FRA) and Ece Bakici keeping pace for Turkey.
Harrison, Klamer and Vanek made a breakaway halfway through the run and after maintaining their pace it was Klamer who passed onto Bas Diederen to give the Dutch the lead going into the second leg.
Harrison passed onto Pierre Le Corre and Gabor Faldum followed him into the water with a lead of twenty seconds over those chasing.
The lead group of three stayed together on the bike but the chase pack including Danylo Sapunov (UKR), Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS), Jonathan Zipf (GER) and Alessandro Fabian (ITA) were giving chase and cutting the lead.
Pierre Le Corre continued to look strong on the run and he broke away to build up a gap of ten seconds before passing onto Emmie Charayron. Shulgina, Mazzetti and Robisch followed one after the other into the water.
Razarenova gave a scintillating performance out on the course and the Russian really went for it. After entering the water in 5th place she had caught up with the leaders by the end of the first bike lap. She then continued to push the pace and built up a lead of twenty seconds on leaving T2.
Perhaps she pushed too hard as it was Mazzetti and Robisch who finished the run neck and neck and handed over to Uccellari and Rank. Razarenova came home in third as Bruykhankov took over and Luis picked up for France very much still in contention.
Rank, Uccellari and Bruykhankov led together around the bike course but a smooth transition gave Rank the advantage and he was composed on the run to deliver gold for Germany. Bruykhankov and Uccellari enjoyed a battle for second before the Russian pulled away on the final stretch to win the silver medal.
The victorious German team said their success in relay comes down to hard work and team spirit. “It was really great, the race was perfect for us,” said Knapp.
“It was a great race, it is always the team spirit from the Germans that make us so strong,” said Zipf.
Anchor man Sebastian Rank said: “I felt really strong during the whole race. It was hard to find a little gap but I had ten seconds on the run and I knew I could do it.
“I think it’s the team spirit and everybody fights for each other which makes us so strong and it is good for German triathlon.”