The mixed triathlon relay will be on the Olympic program for the first time this summer.
Belgium has already established a reputation for this young discipline. 3 years ago, Belgian quartet Raleigh won a bronze medal at the European Championships. In September last year there was a fifth place in the World Cup.
In Lisbon, Belgium today tried to secure an Olympic ticket. Each athlete had to swim 300 meters, cycle 7.2 km and run 1.8 km.
Claire Michel came out of the water in eighth place and settled into a leading group of 10 athletes while cycling. After the run it changed to fourth place. Jelle Geens also did an excellent job: he kept eyeing the top three contestants.
Valerie Barthelemy started 9 seconds late on the podium. She swam to the head of the trio. In the run, Barthelemy escaped with a Swiss competitor.
Slot athlete Martin Van Rijl had to compete to beat Swiss Max Stauder. Thanks to a quick changeover after swimming, he started cycling with a small reward. Van Rijl no longer gave up the lead and crossed the finish line first.
The last time for the Belgian quartet was one hour, 23 and 57. Behind Van Riel’s back, Italy beat Switzerland in the sprint race for second place, and those three countries are allowed to go to Tokyo with the top 7 countries in the world.
“Although we can improve the details, this gold medal gives us great confidence in Tokyo,” Barthelemy said after winning in Lisbon. “The ranking, with Claire starting, Geely second, third and Martin last, works really well for us.”
The four members of the Belgian Hammers have also been individually qualified for the games, but their preparation will be different: “personal choices,” continued Barthelemy. “Martin, for example, needs competitions to feel good.”
“I will only participate in the World Championships in Leeds to secure my ranking before taking a break. As for Tokyo, we won’t be able to participate in the relay races, but we can work on our own details during training. “
The Tokyo mixed relay is scheduled to take place on July 31. Each relay member must swim 300 meters, cycle 7.4 km and run 2 km.