This relatively newish event rolled into Flanders, Belgium on Wednesday. It is an innovative, exciting form of Time Trialing introduced by UCI in 2019. For the benefit of those not in the know, it is a cross gender(male and female) race in which there are three men and three women in either team. The race is split between the genders, with the boys going in first (please gender activists don’t make a fuss about this), in this case from Knokke-Heist for 22.5km. The girls finish the race carrying the team to Brugge.
Unlike the athletics relay event whereby the first one to finish the lap hands over to the person manning the other leg, thus event requires the second rider of the trio to reach the end of the first leg in order for the girls to start theirs. This requires that that the male trio be in constant communication with each other and be balanced in their speed. Doesn’t help that the lead rider finishes over a minute ahead of the others. Most importantly the other two should AVOID A CRASH at all cost.
This point got me thinking about team Italy which have, let’s face it World class TT rider Ganna in their team and not a , let’s just say , competitive women’s trio in their ranks. My concern proved well founded as Italy posted a very quick first leg powered by Filippo to finish 19 seconds ahead of the eventual winners Germany. The women couldn’t keep up with that kind of intensity and Italy dropped down to third 37 seconds behind Germany. Germany won the event with Tony Martin signing off in style beating the heavyweight Netherlands team which included Ellen Van Dijk who finished second. The Netherlands women leg gave it all they could clawing back a 23 seconds deficit but it was a bit too much at the end. To close , this event was introduced in place of the Trade Team event which is a race run by registered UCI teams like UAE Team Emirates and QuickStep. This meant that the smaller teams with small budgets could not compete in the event and the race ended up being boringly dominated by the big boys. So in order to be more inclusive the UCI included women in the race which is very noble indeed. Besides I love the fact that there is no preferential treatment ,both males and females ride an equal distance 👍.