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Mixed Team Time Trial Relay: A guide to the World Championships's newest event

Joe Robinson
19 Sep 2019

A complete guide to the World Championships' newest event: the Mixed Team Time Trial Relay

This weekend sees the best road cyclists on the planet descend onto Harrogate, Yorkshire for the beginning of the UCI World Championships. Across nine days, 15 individual events will crown a host of World Champions who will be able to dress resplendent in rainbow for the next 12 months.

Among those races is the introduction of a brand new event: the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay.

Replacing the outgoing and utterly boring Team Time Trial event - which was ridden as trade teams, it is a brand new format that gets elite women and men racing together, going all out to bring home team gold for their respective nation.

Below is a full guide to this new event and what we should expect.

What is the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay?

Remember the trade team time trial introduced in 2012? It was a strange add-on to the World Championships that saw the top men’s and women’s trade teams compete in a TTT to be crowned World Champions.

The winners got a gold medal but never received a rainbow jersey and for almost every team it seemed more of a chore rather than a goal.

So to combat that, the UCI has introduced a brand-new event: the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay.

It’s an event that does what it says on the tin. Nations will enter a team of six riders, three men and three women, from the elite and U23 ranks. The team that crosses the line quickest wins.

The course will be 28km with two laps of a 14km course. Each team will send off their three males riders first to complete the loop. Once the second male rider passes through the finish line, the three women riders will be allowed to start.

The time will be taken on the second female rider across the line.

Talking about the event's introduction, UCI president David Lappartient said: ‘The mixed relay team time trial reserved for national teams is the latest step towards greater gender equality in cycling.

‘Between 2012 and 2018, the team time trial was a showcase for UCI-registered teams. The new format will shine the spotlight on the National Federations and their riders while promoting equality between men and women.

‘The mixed relay will also have a positive effect on the budgets of the teams and the organisers. This is a significant step towards achieving the UCI's major objectives of increasing the attractiveness of our World Championships, developing women’s cycling and promoting National Federations.’

What course will the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay tackle?

All teams will tackle a 28km route around the host city of Harrogate. It will comprise of two 14km loops, with the men and women’s units tackling a lap each.

The 14km loop will be the same run around Harrogate that the elite men’s road race will be covering on seven occasions in the final of their event on Sunday 29th September and the women's race will contend with three times the day before.

Starting in West Park, the route will travel along the uphill drag of Otley Road on each lap towards Beckwithshaw. Once they reach the small village, each team will turn right, heading towards the Jubillee roundabout and Penny Pot Lane, arguably the hardest part of the course.

Turning onto the lane, the route snakes back towards Harrogate, dropping down a descent over a narrow bridge across the Oak Beck river before shooting straight back up an incline that could make all the difference at the line. This is also, arguably, the best spot on the roadside to capture the action.

After, the route heads back towards Harrogate before turning away again on Cornwall Road to then head back towards home on Kent Road. A final few 90-degree bends will be negotiated around 1km out before the teams cross the line back in West Park.

Why is this exciting?

The team time trial that formerly opened the World Championships was a bit rubbish, wasn’t it? Take the men’s race, for example. In the seven years since Valkenburg 2012 in which trade teams could compete for the title, 21 medals were up for offer, seven of which were gold.

Only three teams ever won the event (QuickStep, Team Sunweb and BMC Racing) and only six teams ever took home medals (Mitchelton-Scott, Team Sky and Movistar being the other three).

The event really showcased the disparity between the teams who took team time trialling seriously and those who didn’t and at points was a fairly embarrassing watch when teams like AG2R La Mondiale were crossing the line minutes behind the winners.

Things were no better with the women’s event either with only nine teams ever managing to place in the competition.

The Team Time Trial Mixed Relay will hopefully bring an end to this. Teams shall be more equal with there being less emphasis on those who spend years dialling their TTT setup and more on those willing to push themselves to the limit.

It will also help bring better parity in the sport. It’s combining men’s and women’s racing, giving them equal billing at cycling’s biggest event.

It’ll be the women crossing the line last and it will be them afforded that first moment of sheer joy if they manage to win the inaugural title.

When and where can I watch the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay?

The entire UCI World Championships will be broadcast live on multiple outlets in the UK. It will be free-to-air on the BBC while digital viewers will be able to access coverage via Eurosport.

The Team Time Trial Mixed Relay is no exception with full live coverage on BBC Two, live coverage on Eurosport 2 as well as streaming on the BBC iPlayer and Eurosport Player.

Sunday 22nd September, 1300-1600, Team Time Trial Mixed Relay live Coverage, BBC Two

Sunday 22nd September, 1530-1700, Team Time Trial Mixed Relay live Coverage, Eurosport Two

Who should we be watching?

The British team for the inaugural Team Time Trial Mixed Relay genuinely have a great chance at taking a medal at this home championships.

Already confirmed, the team comprises of Lauren Dolan, Joss Lowden and Anna Henderson partnered with ‘Derbados’ Huub-Wattbike duo Dan Bigham and John Archibald, along with Katusha-Alpecin rider Harry Tanfield.

The big favourites heading into the competition will be the Dutch, obviously, who bring a team of powerhouses to play. WorldTour trio Jos van Emden, Koen Bouwman and Bauke Mollema kick things off before Amy Pieters, Lucinda Brand and Riejanne Markus guide it home.

Other riders to keep your eye on will be the likes of Lisa Brennauer and Tony Martin who will be powering it along for the Germans and Vuelta a Espana darlings Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar who are both down for Slovenia.