France dominate European Mixed Team Relay Championships Munich

Mixed Team Relay World Champions already this year in Montreal, the all-conquering French team delivered on their pre-race favourite status. They added the European Championships Munich 2022 title to their extensive MTR C.V. on another stunning evening at Munich’s Olympiapark.

Once again, the crowds were out in huge numbers for a third day, at an event which has looked nothing short of stunning for broadcast viewers. A potential future World Cup or WTCS venue? That would be a fantastic legacy.

The French quartet comprised of Leo Bergere, Emma Lombardi, Dorian Coninx and Cassandre Beaugrand – but as we have seen in recent years, they seem to be able to swap athletes in and out, and still always deliver in this format of racing, such is their strength-in-depth.

With France having also claimed four of the six individual medals on offer, a fantastic three days of racing from the hosts of the 2024 Olympic Games.

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Leg 1 – Studer the swift Swiss

Mark Devay lead Team Hungary first out of the water as he had in the individual race on Saturday, but Italy (Alessio Crocciani) and Portugal (Vasco Vilaca) were very quick through T1 to join him.

That trio gained a few seconds initially, but the chasing group had Norway (Vettle Bergsvik Thorn) leading the chase on a much tougher course than yesterday, as they used the same hills utilised on the run course during the individual events. 10 teams were soon together at the end of lap one, but Great Britain (Hamish Reilly) was 17 seconds back, along with Belgium (Jelle Geens) and Denmark (Emil Holm) amongst others.

Team Ukraine (Yegor Martynenko) had a big crash on the first lap, while news came through that Team Portugal had incurred a penalty. The cause? Leaving baby/talcum powder outside of the box in transition…

Team France had men’s individual champion Bergere on leg one, and he split the field on the second lap of the bike, which left four nations to arrive at T2 together – Portugal, France, Switzerland and Norway. Switzerland’s Studer hit the front immediately on the run, and only Portugal’s Vilaca was able to stay close to him.

Switzerland handed over first a mile later, followed by Portugal (+0:03), France (+0:14), Norway (+0:16), Spain (+0:32) and Hungary (+0:39). Behind, the gaps were significant, perhaps reflecting the hills on both the bike and run.

Leg 2 – Lombardi leads as France take over

Switzerland had Cathia Schar on leg two, but after 300m of swimming she was down to fourth, overtaken by Portugal (Melanie Santos), France (Lombardi) and Norway (Lotte Miller).

Spain, Germany, Belgium, Hungary and Sweden exited the water almost together, which potentially offered a great opportunity for them to work together and chase the leading quartet.

One lap in on the bike, and individual bronze medallist Lombardi had given France a lead of around 15 seconds, with Schar showing that while she may have lost time in the swim, she was fighting back on the bike.

Starting the run, it was France leading the way, followed by Switzerland (+0:19), Norway (+0:36) and then Spain, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and Portugal all locked together, around 55 seconds back.

Lombardi handed over the Coninx with a lead of 36 seconds over Switzerland (Simon Westermann), but Nina Eim had moved Germany into third. 51 seconds back. They had European U23 Champion, Simon Henseleit on the third leg. He would have the massive home crowds cheering every stroke, pedal revolution and stride.

Leg 3 – Henseleit helps home hopes

Bronze medallist in the individual race, Coninx looked in control during the swim and bike. Coming into the race fresh, Germany’s Henseleit was powering through the bike section and he bridged up to Simon Westermann, to create a chasing duo in second / third.

1:10 back on the leader, Spain, Belgium and Austria were the next chase group on the road.

We had predicted a French gold and German silver – was that playing out in front of us?

Coninx handed over to Beaugrand with a lead of 49 seconds, while Henseleit tagged in Laura Lindemann, the silver medallist on Friday in the individual race. Switzerland, with Julie Derron on the anchor leg, were only three seconds behind Team Germany.

Leg 4 – Beaugrand closes out the win

Lindemann and Derron exited the swim and set off in the perhaps slim hopes of chasing down a deficit of almost a minute to Cassandre Beaugrand. The WTCS Leeds winner wasn’t quite at her brilliant best on Friday, but surely had more than enough to bring the French home safely.

With just 1.8km to cover on the final run, Beaugrand’s T2 advantage of 38 seconds was not going to be threatened, but the real battle was going to be Derron vs. Lindemann to decide the direction of silver and gold. The locals were going to be seriously loud for their hero, Lindemann.

Beaugrand duly delivered yet another French MTR gold, but behind Lindemann was leaving no doubt where the silver medal was going, inspired by amazing crowds at what has proven to be a fantastic triathlon venue.

European Championships Munich 2022 Results

Sunday 14 August 2022 – MFMF 4x 300m / 7.2km / 1.6km (1.8km for final runner)

MIXED TEAM RELAY

  • 1. France – 1:25:30
  • 2. Germany – 1:26:03
  • 3. Switzerland – 1:26:19
  • 4. Belgium – 1:27:01
  • 5. Spain – 1:27:02
  • 6. Austria – 1:27:25
  • 7. Portugal – 1:27:31
  • 8. Norway – 1:27:41
  • 9. Denmark – 1:27:59
  • 10. Hungary – 1:28:35
  • 11. Italy – 1:28:50
  • 12. Great Britain – 1:39:14 **

(** Hamish Reilly, Iona Miller, Ben Dijkstra, Non Stanford)

John Levison
Article by
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in the sport for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages. While his passion is triathlon, you'll also find him watching Boxing, Darts or at the theatre enjoying a good musical...