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Bigham hails 'nail biting' Mixed TTT relay as Great Britain bag bronze

Joe Robinson
22 Sep 2019

Great Britain pull off spirited ride for third as Dutch dominate inaugural Mixed Team Time Trial Relay

Dan Bigham has praised the 'nailbiting nature' of the inaugural Mixed Team Time Trial Relay World Championships as Great Britain snatched a surprise bronze in the event.

The Ribble Pro Cycling time trial specialist was part of the six-rider team to take third behind second-place Germany and eventual winners the Netherlands, as the event made its Worlds debut in Harrogate.

Great Britain shipped 51 seconds to pre-race favourites the Netherlands, who dominated the 28km course, but benefited from an Elisa Longo Borghini puncture to finish nine seconds ahead of Italy to secure a podium spot.

Criticism had been raised before the race about the format which saw teams divided into three male and three female athletes with each completing one lap of a 14km loop.

Some, like Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere, lamented the scrapping of the trade team time trial while others were unsure about the short nature of the course.

However, Bigham believes that this fast-paced alternative to the long trade team time trials of year's past makes for more unpredictable racing that is more exciting for fans.

'Historically, team time trials were very long which meant massive time splits and but when it’s tight, technical, wet and short anything can happen, as we saw with Borghini’s puncture,' said Bigham.

'The nailbiting nature of the backend meant the excitement was up there with any top road race. Time trials are usually the boring part of cycling so making them fun like that is the way to go.'

Among the first wave of nations to ride, Great Britain's performance saw them placed into the hot seat for most of the day, only being ousted when second-from-last team Germany crossed the line.

This allowed the home riders to sit in front of a home crowd as the chances of a medal became more likely, something the 27-year-old says he will not forget.

'Being in the hot seat for so long was wicked. You can really enjoy it following it on the screen,' said Bigham.

'Your phone is going wild and the UCI are telling you off for having a phone on the podium. Enjoyed the moment, seeing people you know in the home crowd.'

Bigham also stated that the team achieved their 'outright target' of the podium admitting that the German and Dutch teams, which contained riders such as Tony Martin and Lucinda Brand respectively, would always be a 'step above' for the home team.

However the 27-year-old, alongside Huub Wattbike track teammate John Archibald and Katusha-Alpecin's Harry Tanfield, guided the Great Britain team to the race's second-fastest time split at the halfway mark, something he attributed to the adverse weather and experience of racing in city centres.

'It was a hard course to optimise and its something we spent a long time looking at since being selected, trying to dial it in,' said Bigham.

'The rain added another dynamic too and our knowledge of the course was probably one of our big strengths. We knew how much you could really push it, especially in the corners maybe being used to racing around city centres at the tour series helped too.'