Russia dominates the Wintertri 2x2 Mixed Relay
Even with the decision of not aligning the current Queen of Winter Triathlon on any of the two Russian teams lining up for the 2x2 Mixed Relay Worlds, the country showed a magnificent dominance in the event, both Russian pairs of Pavel Andreev and Anna Medvedeva, and Dmitryi Bregeda and Julia Surikova, finishing in the first and second position. Silver medal in the World Championships was for the Italian team, while the Czech Republic took bronze, their first ever podium in this format.
Another cold and sunny day welcomed triathletes in Campolongo di Asiago for the 2x2 Mixed Relay World Championships, a format that was introduced a year ago and that has proven to be a delight for spectators and athletes alike. Teams of two athletes, one male and one female, did each one of two laps on a circuit of 1.5km running, 2.6km on a MTB and a final 2.8km of cross-country ski. The format allows countries to have more than one team competing, but only the first one crossing the finish line will be considered for the final podium results.
And that meant that Team Russia I and Team Russia II knew before starting that only one of them could be in the podium, even if both of them finished in the first places. So the race started with Medvedeva striking hard in the first meters of the run, to make a clear statement from the beginning that Team Russia I was going to be hard to beat. She finished her first leg in the lead, with Surikova tagging her teammate right on her heels.
In the second leg, eight times World Champion Pavel Andreev kept the situation under control, staying always some 50 meters ahead of Bregeda, with Guiseppe Lamastra representing Team Italy and Marek Rauchfuss from the Czech Republic moving quickly ahead of the rest of the teams, knowing that finishing ni these places will grant both of them a podium position, while Slovakia, Romania, Austria and Norway kept a close group behind them with constant changes in positions.
By the time Medvedeva went back on her second leg, she already had a 20 seconds lead over Surikova, a distance that she increased to almost a minute in the run, but Surikova had the best bike lek of the day and two impressive transitions to get on the skis for the last time of the day only 15 seconds behind Team Russia I. The effort paid its toll, though, and Medvedeva tagged Andreev for the last leg again with a clear lead, leaving the current World Champion an easy task: maintain the lead for the last leg.
And he did, stopping the clock with an impressive time of 1.21.08, with a minute over Team Russia 2. Claiming the silver medal in the finish line was Team Italy, with Guiseppe Lamastra and Sandra Meirhofer, while the Czech Republic hanged in for the bronze medal, which went to Aneta Grabmullerova and Marek Rauchfuss. Team Slovakia finished in fourth place, while Team Romania closed the top 5.
In the junior category, the gold medal was for Team Russia, with Polina Sadovaia and Yaroslav Kurilenok, while Slovakia rounded a perfect competition to have their two young triathletes, Zuzana Michalickova and Dominik Dupej, claiming the silver medal, while the bronze was for Team Italy, formed by Gaia Tormena and Pietro Santini.