Italy Wins Inaugural Team Relay Competition
Historic First-Time Event Features Mixed Gender Squads in Test Event
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. (Jan. 27, 2022) – Italy won the Team Relay, which served as both a test event and the first event for 2022 Walmart UCI World Championships for Cyclo-cross at Centennial Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.
Friday’s Team Relay was contested by seven teams from five countries in an historic first for the UCI World Championships for Cyclo-cross following the successful format established in recent Mountain Bike World Championships.
The Team Relay was contested by teams from Belgium, Canada A and B, Czech Republic, Italy andUnited States A and B teams with one-lap of the 3-kilometer course raced by two female and two male riders chosen from either Elite, Under 23 or Junior levels of their teams.
“I really like this format and glad the UCI has adopted this as a test event,” said Katrina Nash of the Czech Republic, who has competed in similar events at the Mountain Bike World Championships. “It is different because it is an all-out effort for one lap. It also lets you take lines at higher speeds as test for your competition.”
Italy came from behind and was propelled to victory by the final leg of Davide Toneatti (U23). Other members of the winning team were Lucia Bramati (women’s U23), Silvia Persico (women’s Elite) and Samuele Leone (men’s Elite).
The U.S.A. A team featuring its current national champion Eric Brunner (men’s Elite), Katie Clouse (women’s U23), Clara Honsinger (women’s Elite) and Scott Funston (men’s Under 19) finished second with Belgium rounding out the podium.
“It was a fun competition,” said Brunner. “Doing a hot lap is an all-out effort. It helps you evaluate your lines and test some things you can take into the weekend’s competition. The course was dry today and fast.”