Alistair & Jonathan Brownlee storm the Triathlon in Leeds

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By Glenys Furness

  • Alistair Brownlee wins first Triathlon in over a year.
  • Jonathan Brownlee takes second place.

LEEDS, UK – Alistair Brownlee and younger brother Jonathan Brownlee obliterated the field at the World Triathlon Series event held in their home town.

With the Olympics in Rio just around the corner, the current Olympic Gold and Bronze medalists sent out a strong message to their nearest rivals at the event held in Leeds. This was the first ever World Triathlon Series event to be held in the city and the Brownlee brothers had actually helped to design the course.

Diving off the pontoon into Waterloo Lake, Roundhay Park it was Richard Varga who was in control of the swim. The Slovak had spent some time training in the city and led over the entire 1500m swim, entering the first transition phase in the top spot.

Alistair picked up places in transition from the swim to the cycle, leaving the change over zone first. Being careful not to pick up a penalty for boarding the bike before the end of the transition zone, the older Brownlee had company on the ride.

Aaron Royle and Aurelien Rapheal were with the Brit and formed the first group of riders. The Australian, Frenchman and Brit had a small lead on the next group of riders. Jonathan, meanwhile had a problem at the first transition as he struggled with his shoes for the bike stage.

The younger Brownlee found himself with the main rivals for the title in Javier Gomez and Varga. In a move that would have surprised everyone but the brothers, Alistair slowed the pace down slightly. This allowed his younger brother to push ahead of the Spaniard and Slovak and join the lead group in a foursome.

Leaving Gomez and Varga by themselves, the lead group of four were now able to push on even more. The Brownlees had the motivation of their home crowd, this enabled them, with the help of Royle & Rapheal to build an extensive lead on the bikes.

Gomez and Varga found working as a pair too difficult and after a lap of the Leeds city centre streets, they were caught by the next chasing pack. The four leaders headed out onto the run with a lead of over two minutes. It didn’t take very long at all for the Brownlee brothers to break away on the 10k run.

Once their feet hit the familiar streets, they were soon extending out a lead and dropped the Frenchman quickly. This left Australian Royle as the only other potential fly in the one-two ointment for the home crowd. Alistair and Jonathan continued to run together for a couple of minutes, during which time they dropped the Australian, leaving the brothers in the prime slots.

The older Brownlee had something to prove, especially with Rio round the corner. Having not won a triathlon in over a year Alistair was determined to put down a marker. After running with his brother for a short time, he decided that was enough and increased his pace. Jonathan was unable to go with him, but was comfortably ahead in second place.

By the time Alistair hit the bell for the final lap, he was 30 seconds ahead of his younger brother. With the home crowd yelling his name the older Brownlee took the win, he was far enough ahead of his brother that he was able to walk across the finish line.

Jonathan finished in second place 32 seconds behind his older brother. Both had completed the course in under 1 hour and 50 minuets. Alistair admitted afterwards that he had not felt 100% fit and described the win as “unbelievable”. Gomez who had been over two minuets down on the leaders, put in an amazing run to haul himself back to fourth place, and executed the fastest split on the run.

The final results were Alistair Brownlee 1:49:27

Jonathan Brownlee 1:49:59

Aaron Royle  1:50:33

Javier Gomez  1:51:02.

Other Brits placed in the Mens Elite race.

Adam Bowden  7th

Thomas Bishop 20th

Gordon Benson 29th

The Ladies event was won by Gwen Jorgensen (USA) with a time of 2:00:33.

Flora Duffy (BER) was second 2:01:24.

Brit Vicky Holland came in third with a time of 2:01:57.

The other Brits racing placed as follows

Jodie Stimpson 4th

Non Stanford 9th

Jessica Learmonth 10th

Lucy Hall 13th

The next ITU World Triathlon Series event is in Stockholm Sweden 2nd & 3rd July 2016