Team New Zealand won the World Triathlon Series Sunday. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

New Zealand wins World Triathlon mixed relay race in Edmonton

EDMONTON — Team New Zealand, trailing the field early, stormed back in the final three legs to win the elite mixed relay at the World Triathlon Series Sunday.

Hayden Wilde, running the anchor leg, matched Gordon Benson of Great Britain in the cycling portion, then pulled away to beat the Brits comfortably by nine seconds in the 1600-metre run.

The winning time was one hour 20 minutes and 13 seconds in the race through Edmonton’s River Valley.

Team USA took bronze, 16 seconds off the pace under sunny skies and 28C temperatures at Hawrelak Park.

The Canadian team — Amelie Kretz, (Blainville, Que.) Matthew Sharpe (Victoria), Desirae Ridenour (Cowichan Bay, B.C.) and Alexis Lepage (Gatineau Que.) — finished ninth, 2:57 off the pace.

New Zealand, the Americans, and the British swapped in and out of the top three spots all race long.

New Zealand was fifth after Ainsley Thorpe’s first leg, then second after Tayler Reid’s second leg.

Nicole Van Der Kaay’s strong performance put New Zealand in front after the third section, 14 seconds up on the field.

Wilde said he didn’t want to waste the lead.

“Everyone knows I’m not the best swimmer so I was kind of on the hunt. The guys obviously caught me (after the swim) but I knew I had to have good transition and I pretty much put my head down,” said Wilde.

Reid said it was a satisfying win for a team that has been coming on in recent races.

“We have a very young team and have been so close, so close,” said Reid.

“It’s absolutely wicked to take the top (spot).”

Team Australia was sixth after the first leg, but slowly climbed the field and appeared poised to find the podium until assessed a 10-second penalty after Ashleigh Gentle and Matthew Hauser tagged off outside the exchange zone in the final transition.

Australia finished fourth, 19 seconds back.

The men’s and women’s WTS elite races were held Saturday.

Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee cruised to victory in the men’s event, capturing his first gold on the WTS circuit since 2017.

Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk, from Oak Bluff, Man., finished ninth.

In the women’s elite event, Australia’s Emma Jackson came from behind to edge American Summer Rappaport by two seconds.

It was the first WTS win for Jackson, who has been dealing with nagging injuries for the last two years to her right foot and left quad.

The next ITU events are the Olympic test trials in Tokyo on Aug. 15-16 and the WTS Grand Final in Lausanne starting Aug. 29.

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