Hamburg played host to the eagerly anticipated next route of the World Triathlon Series last weekend and although the Brownlees were out through injury team GB still had a very strong field going into the event with lots of athletes hitting top performances over the past couple of months.
With the Brownlees out of the running the main focus for Podiums in the Men’s event came to the relay where Polaris’ Mark Buckingham and fellow GB athlete Gordon Benson stepped up to fill some very big shoes from the 2014 running which saw the GB squad take Gold.
With the water temperature a chilly 20 degrees the relay event was always going to be slightly tougher than the day before and it would always be a test of who had recovered best from their previous days exploits.
Leg One :
Vicky Holland had a flying start for the British Women. This backed up her excellent 2nd behind World Champion Gwen Jorgenson on the Saturday where she ran the USA champion close in the women’s race for the first time this season. After a quick slip in transition Holland recovered well and with a trademark strong run handed over first to Gordon Benson for leg two.
Leg Two :
Gordon Benson was chased hard from the start on the Men’s leg with Royal from Australia having an excellent swim and the Germans also pulling themselves up into close contention in front of a baying home crowd. A strong swim and bike leg kept Team GB well up in close contention but the French are currently in flying form and made up ground on the leaders meaning Benson handed over to Non in 4th after a hard fought leg.
Leg Three :
Non Stanford has had a tough comeback from injury over the last season but she is now clearly well on her way to flying form once more. After being handed the metaphorical baton by Gordon Benson in 4th a strong swim meant she left the water in the front 2. It seems like cold hands didn’t help removing the helmets in transition but this didn’t stop Non storming home on the run to give Mark Buckingham a clear lead onto leg four.
Polaris Athlete Mark Buckingham in Training in Geneva prior to Hamburg in our Polaris Kit
Leg Four :
Polaris athlete Mark had a strong swim in his own brand Yonda wetsuit and came out in the top two on the bike leg. The Australian Bailey and German athlete joined the leading pair for lap two but the Germans had picked up to 10 second penalty on their third leg meaning that they would need a 10 second gap on the 4th place team to stand a chance of finishing on the podium. The Frenchman Luis was on fire after winning Gold in the Men’s Race the day before and he pulled out a big lead on the pack over the run. This wasn’t surprising after he laid down a strong challenge against former world champion Gomez on the Saturday. France came home in first and Australia cruised to second which now left the battle between Mark and the Germans on the run.
Germany pulled ahead but with their 10 second time penalty to serve it wasn’t enough to prevent a Bronze for Team GB after Mark dug deep to catch and out sprint the Germans down to the line leaving them thinking “what if”.
Overall a gutsy performance from the whole of Team GB shone through on the day. The Men knew the pressure would be on them in a talented male field after stepping into the Brownlees shoes but they gave it their all and both Mark and Gordon are on awesome improving form for the future. The team was keen to show that Team GB is a forced to be reckoned with on the global stage and I think they did that with room to spare.
The depth of Team GB is vast and Gordon and Buckingham went a long was to proving that this weekend. Now Mark heads for the Rio Test Event where he will be fighting it out with fellow Polaris Triathlete Adam Bowden for a spot on the squad for the 2016 Olympic Games.
We wish both our athletes the best of luck and look forward to and exciting rest of the season that continues next in Stockholm on the 22nd/23rd of August.
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Photos Courtesy of : World Triathlon Series