France Takes Gold in Exciting Finish at European Mixed Relay Championship

“The women rode a great time trial. They easily made up 25 seconds,” Benjamin Thomas sums it up well.

At the start of the mixed relay, France was an outsider for gold. Especially because Switzerland had to miss Stefan Küng after his big hit yesterday.

Yet it was defending champion Italy who set the tone for the men. The trio Affini, Cattaneo and Sobrero drove everyone into a pile. At the change after 19.3 km, only France, the Netherlands and Germany were able to limit the damage to under half a minute.

“Closing a gap of 20 seconds behind is not impossible,” thought French women Cordon-Ragot, Kerbaol and Labous. So they thanked their colleagues Armirail, Cavagna and Thomas.

At that time, Switzerland was already exhausted in the battle for medals. Bissegger could not lead his team and conceded a minute. The Swiss world champions would never play more than a supporting role.

The leading role was for France. In an exciting ending, the women were left in stitches. That paid off: they turned the deficit into a 4-second lead over the Italians.

The result was great joy at the finish. There were also smiles to be seen in Germany, which won the bronze under the noses of the Dutch home riders.

A young Belgian team could only keep Ukraine behind and finished in 7th place, 3’45” behind the new European mixed relay champion.

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