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Favourites take opening event of Yorkshire 2019 on a rain-soaked day in Harrogate

A strong Netherlands team have won the first-ever team time trial mixed relay to be held at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships as the week-long event got under way in Yorkshire today, with Great Britain claiming a surprise bronze medal.

The format saw three men ride the circuit in Harrogate, with the three women setting off when the second man crossed the line. The final time for the 27.6-kilometre parcours was taken when the second woman finished.

Of the first eight teams out on the course on a rainy day in North Yorkshire, Great Britain – represented by John Archibald, Dan Bigham and Harry Tanfield plus Lauren Dolan, Anna Henderson and Joscelin Lowden were the fastest by 31.77 seconds ahead of France.

It was an excellent performance from a young team on a day when several other countries opted for more experience, not least the last three starters – Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

The intermediate time checks nudged Great Britain off the podium but on a day when a number of riders suffered mechanical problems, it was a puncture to Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini that put the home outfit back into the medal positions.

Rather than slow down and wait for her, the Italian’s colleagues carried on up the road. She rode strongly and eventually bridged back in the final couple of kilometres, but it was too late to eclipse Great Britain’s time.

The fastest time of the day – and the rainbow jerseys – went to the Netherlands, however, with Bauke Mollema, Jos van Emden and Koen Bouwman handing over at the mid-point to Lucinda Brand, Amy Ieters and Riejanne Markus.

The Dutch won the team time trial mixed really the only time it had been previously contested, on home soil last month at the UEC European Road Cycling Championships.

Their time today of 38 minutes 27 seconds proved 23 seconds faster than that of a German squad that included former world time trial champions Tony Martin and Lisa Brennauer, with Great Britain a further 28 seconds behind to clinch bronze.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.