Alistair Brownlee reaches new heights in London
Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee was already having a brilliant 2011 season, but the 23-year-old stepped up to another incredible level in London yesterday, when he used a gutsy bike breakaway to win his 10th career Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series race win in today’s 2012 Olympic Games preview.
In the only time that athletes can tackle the London Olympic course before next year, Brownlee gave the home crowd plenty of reason to stay on their feet in Hyde Park, just one day after Helen Jenkins claimed the women’s London race for Team GB. Even the pouring rain couldn’t stop those there smiling, as Brownlee won 1 hour, 50 minutes and 9 seconds, beating silver medallist Alexander Brukhankov (RUS) by 25 seconds. Jonathan Brownlee scorched the 10km run course with the day’s fastest run split to claim bronze, but finished almost a full minute behind his older brother.
“It stayed at 10 or 15 seconds for a couple of laps and then it just went 30, 45, 60, I couldn’t quite believe it to be honest,” Alastair Brownlee said. “I knew that we, Jonny and I, were in danger of being attacked on the bike and I think to be honest me being away served its purpose better than anything.”
It was the 10th Dextro Energy Triathlon Series race that Brownlee has won, even more impressive considering 20 in all have been contested. He said afterwards that it was an achievement he was proud of.
“Oh fantastic, I’m not one for figures too much, but that’s absolutely wonderful,” Brownlee said. “I just turn up at races and win what I can and to be that consistent is great.”
Despite the fact that Brownlee had the title wrapped up early on, the race behind him was still a thrilling one as the battle for the final podium place started to emerge on the run. From a pack that included reigning world champion Javier Gomez (ESP), Hamburg winner Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS), David Hauss (FRA), Laurent Vidal (FRA), Sven Riederer (SUI), Jan Frodeno (GER) and Steffen Justus (GER), Gomez and Jonathan Brownlee pulled away. It didn’t take long for Brownlee to drop Gomez and run onto his third Dextro Energy Triathlon Series podium this year.
“It was a real strange race today, it was something completely different, Alistair going off on the road like that, it hardly ever happens,” Jonathan Brownlee said. “Alistair is already there and then that gap just went out to a minute and I thought ‘ok, I want to come third,’ and obviously Alistair and Brukhankov are there, two great runners, if you are standing in the pack together I’m probably 20 seconds into Brukhankov but when it got to a minute I thought I want to come third then, there is one spot left.
“So I took off on the run and it’s me and Javier and we were attacking each other constantly and after the third lap I was knackered I could have quite happily finished then, and then the gap went on for five seconds and I thought, come on come on Javier, please, please give up just let me have this one, then it was six or five seconds and I didn’t know I had got it until a couple of minutes to go and I thought, it’s over, but it was a real hard race. I gave it everything.”
The battle for top 10 finishes was equally fierce with national team Olympic spots at stake, Justus (GER), Hauss (FRA) and Vidal (FRA) all booked their respective London tickets after meeting their national Olympic qualification.
But the qualification battle still wasn’t quite finished, as Olympic champion Frodeno and German teammate Maik Petzold fought for the second German place on offer in London. Frodeno finished in 11th, edging Petzold by five seconds and one place, to join Justus as the second automatic qualification for Germany.
London definitely didn’t go as planned for some athletes though, Chris McCormack’s return to ITU racing had another setback, he pulled out of the race early on with a torn hamstring, and the weather claimed plenty more later in the race. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) and Andreas Giglmayr (AUT) both pulled out after crashes on the rain-slicked road. Triple Olympic Hunter Kemper (USA) also withdrew during the run.
Overall, Javier Gomez retained his series No.1 ranking, with a total of 2660 points. Alistair Brownlee moved up into second place with 2490 points. Brukhankov is in third with 2403 points. Gomez said he was happy to retain his spot on the rankings leaderboard.
“It was a tough day because of the rain,” Gomez said. “I could avoid the crashes on the bike, when Alexander, and Alistair and Ivan made the breakaway I was a bit far behind it was my fault, and they did a great job, they well deserved this podium and I was fighting with Jonny for two and a half laps but he was a little bit faster than me today. So fourth place is not too bad, it’s good to race on the Olympic course and it’s good to be number one.”
Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship London – August 7, 2011 Final Results – Elite Men – 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Gold – Alistair Brownlee (GBR) – 01:50:09
Silver - Alexander Brukhankov (RUS) – 01:50:34
Bronze - Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) – 01:51:04
4th - Javier Gomez (ESP) – 01:51:16
5th - Steffen Justus (GER) – 01:51:25
6th - Laurent Vidal (FRA) – 01:51:27
7th - David Hauss (FRA) – 01:51:32
8th - Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) – 01:51:40
9th - Sven Riederer (SUI) – 01:51:41
10th - Vincent Luis (FRA) – 01:51:41