Germany dominate the mixed relay at the World Championships in Tony Martin's last ever race before retiring

The Germans were the strongest across the board after the Italians faded in the last leg

Germany riding the Mixed Relay
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Germany took the World Championships mixed relay title in Tony Martin's last ever race as a professional rider, taking his fifth rainbow jersey in his career.

The Germans were the most consistent across the board taking second at the first half with the men 19 seconds behind the powerful Italian men that included Filippo Ganna.

The Dutch came storming back to take silver with a superbly fast second leg with the likes of new world champion of Ellen van Dijk and former champion Annemiek van Vleuten.

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The Germans won by 13 seconds over the Dutch team with Italy coming in 38 seconds down to take bronze.

How it happened

The day started once again in the coastal town of Knokke-Heist with the first riders off being the men’s side of the event.

In the relatively new discipline, separate units of three men and three women take turns to ride part of the 44km-long course,  the men riding the first leg to Bruges, before handing over to the women’s team of three with them riding from the finish area, riding a loop around Bruges to the finish again.

The UCI Cycling Academy were the first off with a team of riders from all over the globe, they set the first time but were immediately knocked off the top by the next squad through. 

Mixed Relay profile

(Image credit: Flanders 2021)

But, the first major teams coming through were the Americans who sent a strong line-up, but the team that included the likes of Brandon McNulty and Coryn Rivera were soon beaten.

The team immediately after the US team were Great Britain with Dan Bigham, John Archibald and Alex Dowsett working hard for the men’s team setting a time that was almost a minute faster than the American team. 

For the second half Anna Henderseon, Joss Lowden and Alice Barnes then put even more time into the American team at over a minute.

But once again, the next team stole the lead away as Switzerland’s super-powerhouses of Stefan Küng, Stefan Bissegger and Marlen Reusser were all involved. They still managed to take the lead at the end despite the women’s trio losing Elise Chabbey with 11km to go. They led by 17 seconds over the British at the finish.

The final wave went off with Belgium kicking it off and the men set the fastest times at the split and the finish by just under a second. Denmark did then took the lead from the Belgians by a second. 

After them the Germans, who had Tony Martin riding in his last race of his glittering career, put 13 seconds into the Danish men as they handed over to the women’s team.

The strongest trio on the men’s side of Italy, with world champion Filippo Ganna joined by Italian champion Matteo Sobrero and Edoardo Affini, put in a monster ride to lead the Germans by 19 second at the finish in Bruges before handing over the the women’s squad.

The defending champions of the Netherlands did not have a good men's leg as they finished 42 seconds down before handing over to the strongest looking of the women’s trios, but they had a lot to do.

At the finish line, Belgium and Denmark both failed to beat the solid time from the Swiss team. But, the Germans came flying in and smashed the time of the Swiss riders by 37.79 seconds.

Italy did manage to reclaim seconds as they came in 37.74 seconds down to the Germans, 0.05 seconds quicker than the Swiss team. 

Finally the Dutch trio came in with Annemiek van Vleuten, Riejanne Markus and the newly crowned world champion Ellen van Dijk coming to the line, but they could only manage to finish 13 seconds down on the Germans, good enough for a comfortable second place, knocking Italy into third. 

This rainbow jersey won by Germany was Tony Martin's fifth world title five years after his last.

UCI Road World Championships Mixed Relay, Knokke-Heist to Bruges/Bruges to Bruges (44.5km)

1. Germany, in 50-49
2. Netherlands, at 13s
3. Italy, at 38s
4. Switzerland, at same time
5. Great Britain, at 55s
6. Denmark, at 1-16
7. Belgium, at 1-21
8. United States of America, at 2-10
9. France, at 2-52
10. Poland, at 3-23

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.