A strong finish from Ryan Bailie saw Australia claim bronze in the Mixed Team triathlon race on Day 3 of Competition at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Two days after finishing fifth in the individual men’s triathlon, Bailie teamed with fellow Australians Emma Moffatt, Emma Jackson and Aaron Royle in an enthralling race.
“I don’t know where I pulled it from, but I just kept pushing, and managed to do it,” Bailie said afterwards, having crossed just metres in front of Canada’s Andrew Yorke in fourth.
The 24 year old managed to find another gear when it mattered most, sprinting away from Yorke with 200 metres to go, and almost taking silver from Richard Murray who anchored the relay for South Africa.
“I kept thinking I don’t want fourth, as it’s probably the worst spot to finish.
“I felt I had Yorky on the ropes on the final lap so I had to just kick again. I was fortunate it wasn’t a short sprint as he’s a big lad with pace,” Bailie reflected.
The team triathlon was the first time such an event has been held at the Games, with two men and two women from each country competing in a ‘super-sprint’ tag relay consisting of an individual 250m swim, 6km cycle and 1.6km run.
Moffat took the first leg for the Australians but couldn’t keep pace with the leading group of 6 which included England, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
Moffatt tagged Bailie’s training partner Royle, who put together a powerful swim and bike to catapult the Australians back up to fifth, just 25 seconds from the lead and within touching distance of the medals.
When Jackson tagged Bailie after an impressive swim and run, Australia were third and a blanket could have been thrown over Australia, South Africa and Canada as they dived into the water for the final time.
With Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee (England) a clear distance in front in first place, Bailie worked with Murray and Yorke to bridge the gap to New Zealander Ryan Sissons, leaving these four men to fight for the silver and bronze medals over the final run leg.
“I had a bit of a dig up the hill (on the bike) and tried to drop them but obviously they were all watching and six kilometres is not long enough to do anything.
“It was all about having a good T2 (second transition) which I managed to have – I think I was first out – and tried to settle into a bit of rhythm over that 1600m (final run leg) which is a bit hard to do.
“I felt I had (Andrew) Yorke on the ropes, the Canadian, coming into the second lap and just went for it and managed to somehow get third,” Bailie said.
As Bailie crossed to claim the last spot on the podium, he was wrapped by his elated Australian team mates.
Following his Commonwealth Games debut, Bailie will return to the ITU World Triathlon Series next month for the Grand Final in Edmonton on August 31.