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 when he used a gutsy bike
breakaway to claim his 10th Dextro Energy Triathlon Series career race
win in the 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 in 1 hour, 50 minutes
and 9 seconds, beating silver medallist Alexander Brukhankov (RUS) by 25 seconds. Jonathan Brownlee put in the day’s fastest run split to claim bronze, but finished almost a full minute behind his older brother.
Alistair Brownlee’s win was even more incredible given that the breakaway he made with James Elvery
(NZL) in the second lap of the bike, seemingly came from nowhere yet
they managed to make it stick. While Brukankov took it upon himself to
bridge it solo in the third lap, then Ivan Rana
(ESP) in the fourth, that small group kept pushing the pace until they
had more than a full minute on the rest of the field coming out of T2.
From there, Alistair Brownlee was unbeatable, hammering out a 10km
run split of 29 minutes, 50 seconds that included high-fiving fans lined
on the home straight and then a walk over the finish line.
â€œIt was great, I couldn’t have asked for more,â€ Brownlee said. â€œI
think 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. I knew
that we were in danger of being attacked on the bike and I think to be
honest me being away served its purpose better than anything.â€
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, Hamburg winner Brad Kahlefeldt, David Hauss, Laurent Vidal, Sven Riederer , Jan Frodeno and Steffen Justus,
Gomez and Jonathan Brownlee pulled away on the third lap. It didn’t
take long for Brownlee to drop Gomez and run onto his third Dextro
Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series podium this year.
â€œIt was a real strange race today, it was something completely
different, Alistair going off on the road like that, it hardly ever
happens,â€ Jonathan Brownlee said. â€œAlistair is already there and then
that gap just went out to a minute and I thought â€˜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.
â€œSo 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.â€
The battle for top 10 finishes was equally fierce though, with
national team Olympic spots at stake, Justus (GER), Hauss (FRA) and
Vidal (FRA) all booked their respective London tickets with a finish
inside the top seven finish.
But the qualification battle still wasn’t quite finished, as Olympic
champion Frodeno and German teammate Maik Petzold battled it out for the
second German place on offer in London, after Justus snatched the first
spot with his 5th place finish. Frodeno finished in 11th, edging
Petzold by five seconds in 12th, 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 Olympian Hunter Kemper (USA) also pulled out during the run.
Overall, Javier Gomez retained the No.1 ranking of the Dextro Energy
Triathlon ITU World Championship Series 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.
â€œIt was a tough day because of the rain,â€ Gomez said. â€œI 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.â€
After the victory ceremony, ITU President Marisol Casado thanked
Sarah Springman, President of the British Triathlon Federation and
Andrew Robb, Chairman of TATA Steel, the event’s presenting sponsor, for
their support in hosting this successful event.
|35||Hendrik De Villiers||RSA||1:52:54||0:18:48||1:01:40||0:31:16|
|48||Martin Van Barneveld||NZL||1:53:37||0:18:53||1:01:33||0:32:07|