Just last month Alistair Brownlee made his 2013 ITU debut in San Diego, and blew away the field there despite not being confident of his run form. In Yokohama it was a similar story, except Jonathan had the added complication that his layoff was because of an ankle injury. That made his performance even more impressive, as he showed no signs of weakness on the run, burning off Spain’s Javier Gomez and Portugal’s Joao Silva over 10km to record his fifth career series win in a time of 1 hour 44 minutes and 59 seconds.
Brownlee was emotional afterwards as he revealed that he thought his entire season would have to be ruled out because of that injury.
“At the start of the year I was told I wouldn’t be racing at all this season, so I got a bit emotional towards the end because this year I thought I wouldn’t be here at all,” he said. “I thought the season was over two months ago.”
If one thing is becoming clear through the opening rounds of the ITU World Triathlon Series in 2013, it is that the men’s swim has been taken to a new level. Hot on the heels of a low 16 minute swim in San Diego, the field was again strung out behind the leaders out of the water in what became the decisive leg of the race.
From the first transition Brownlee, Gomez and Silva positioned themselves safely in a small but powerful lead group of eight and then went to work on the bike, casting aside the slippery conditions to further extend their lead on the chasers.
Meanwhile amongst those to miss the break were Richard Murray (RSA), as he along with most of the field could only watch his podium chances disappear up the road. An early casualty on the bike leg was last year’s Yokohama bronze medallist Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS), the Russian not taking a corner in the tricky conditions and ending up on the pavement and out of the race.
At the front of the race, Ivan Vasiliev, Brownlee and Gomez just kept getting faster and put an average 10 seconds into the closest chase in each lap. It meant that the lead group of eight, that included Marco Van der Stel, Henri Schoeman, Andrew McCartney and Benjamin Shaw, entered T2 one minute and 30 seconds ahead of the next bunch.
Once on to the run an eight man production quickly became a two man show, the only question was who was the leading actor in this show as Brownlee and Gomez bid farewell to the rest of the competitors.
The answer most emphatically was Brownlee as the young Brit simply powered away on the second lap of four on the run. It was his fifth WTS series win, which means he is now equal second in the overall WTS winners list with Gomez. The Spainard held on for silver, followed by Silva whose third consecutive bronze medal was enough for him to hold onto the top spot in the series rankings. Murray ended-up with the second fastest run split of the day to finish fifth, just overtaking fellow South African Henri Schoeman who recorded his best WTS result.
The 2013 ITU World Triathlon Series continues in Madrid, on June 1 and 2.
A cyclist, tech geek at heart, a passion for new shiny things and a huge appetite for triathlon. I spend most of my time between managing two of the world's best triathletes and a traditional corporate life.